02 SES 13 C, Transitions: Developments in VET
An early cancelation of the apprenticeship contract is a critical life event in young adulthood (Schmid, 2009), which may affect young peoples’ lives in different ways. From a clinical-psychological research perspective, critical life events are perceived as pathogenic, as they might severely affect peoples’ self-perception and well-being. From a developmental-psychological perspective, they are seen as catalyst or as an opportunity for personal development (Filipp, 1995). Depending on the social readjustment the individual is ready to undertake, critical life events can thus either pose a risk and threat, or a challenge and opportunity for personal growth (Holmes & Rahe, 1967; Filipp, 1995, Stalder, 2003, Schmid & Stalder, 2012).
The present contribution addresses young adults’ experiences in the situation of the early contract cancellation, their subsequent educational career and their effect on their core self-evaluation. Core self-evaluations (CSE) are bottom-line conclusions individuals have about their capabilities, competence, and worth as a person (Judge et al. 1998). People with high core self-evaluations (CSE) think positive about themselves and are confident concerning their skills (Keller & Semmer, 2013). CSE is a composite measure including self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, locus of control, and nonneuroticism. Previous research has shown that CSE is closely related to work satisfaction and career success. People with high CSE tend to be more satisfied with their job and career (e.g. Judge, 2009). A growth in CSE over time resulted in higher job satisfaction while a lack of change in CSE went along with a drop in job satisfaction (Keller & Semmer, 2013).
From a risk perspective, an early cancelation of the apprenticeship contract is assumed to have a negative effect on young adults’ CSE. Apprentices might feel that they cannot control the situation and that they are not capable and skilled enough to successfully pursue an apprenticeship. From a developmental perspective, it is expected that young adults might feel challenged and stimulated to cope with the situation. In this case, the early contract cancellation might not severely affect people’s CSE. In addition, it can be assumed that CSE is affected more strongly before and during the time of the contract cancellation, and that individuals with low CSE strive to re-establish a certain level of CSE afterwards (Hobfoll, 2001). In line with previous research, we expect that longer-term development of CSE might be strongly linked to young peoples’ educational situation after the contract cancellation and their subsequent career.
To assess CSE, Judge established a questionnaire-based instrument, which is widely used in quantitative research. We chose a qualitative approach to get a complementary insight into the changes in CSE and to analyse how people evaluate their CSE before, during and after the early contract cancellation. Subject of our survey are nine young adults, whose apprenticeship contract was cancelled early, and who had experienced different educational careers afterwards.
The main research questions are:
- How does an early cancellation of the apprenticeship contract affect young adults’ CSE in the short run and some months or years later?
- In what way are CSE and development of CSE linked to young adults’ educational careers after the contract cancelation?
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