02 SES 07 A, Transitions from VET to Higher Education
The pathways between VET and higher education is an issue of increasing relevance when it comes to preserving the attractiveness of VET for youths and meeting competence needs in the labour market. In this paper we will analyse the patterns of transition from VET to higher education in Norway. The paper has a descriptive aim: how many VET graduates continue to higher education during the first 5-10 year after completing initial VET? How does it vary between sectors and trades, and how does it change over time? But the paper also aims at discussing the causes of these patterns by analysing the structure of the different labour markets and the institutional arrangements for transition from VET to higher education (Nikolai & Ebner 2012). We will draw on the literature on various types of labour markets (Marsden 1990) and on previous empirical studies of VET and its relationship to the labour market in Norway (see for instance Høst 2008, Bore et al 2012).
Initial VET in Norway is to a fairly large degree integrated into the upper secondary education system, but with apprenticeship as a central element. Almost all initial VET is based on the 2+2 model, with two years at vocational school followed by two years of apprenticeship. Completion of upper secondary VET does not allow general access to higher education. Admission to higher education generally requires a one year extra general course at upper secondary school for skilled workers possessing a trade certificate from upper secondary VET. There are a few exceptions, including the so called “y-road”, which allows access to specific types of higher education, mainly within engineering, on the basis of a trade certificate. The Norwegian system still represents a case where the barriers for transition from VET to higher education are substantial. However, there are a significant number of VET graduates who at some stage during the first 5-10 years after graduation continue towards higher education, especially within services, but also in other sectors, such as health. It shows that there are incentives in the Norwegian labour market for skilled workers to continue to higher education. It also suggests that VET plays a different role in different parts of the Norwegian labour market. These differences will be described and discussed in the paper.
Bore, L., Nyen, T., Reegård, K. & Tønder, A.H. (2012): Internopplæring i varehandelen. Fafo-rapport 2012:23. Oslo: Fafo. Høst, H., Gitlesen J.P & Michelsen, S. (2008): Læreplasser mellom politikk og konjunkturer. I Fag- og yrkesopplæringen i Norge – noen sentrale utviklingstrekk. NIFU rapport 20/2008. Oslo: NIFU. Marsden, D. (1990): Institutions and labour mobility: occupational and internal labour markets in Britain, France, Italy and West Germany, in Brunetta R. & Dell’Aringa C. (eds.) Labour Relations and Economic Performance, Macmillan, London, 414-38. Nikolai, R. og Ebner, C. (2012): The Link between Vocational Training and Higher Education in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. I Busemeyer, M.R. & Trampusch, C. (red.) The Political Economy of Collectie Skill Formation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, s. 234-258.
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