04 SES 08 A, Transition to Work and Independent Living
Transition from school to employment is important for all young people, in particular for people with disabilities and special educational needs: It implies status and role change and is central to integration into society (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2006). People with disabilities are usually faced with more difficulties during transition (Doose, 2012; Euler & Severing, 2014; Fasching, 2013; Felkendorf & Lischer, 2005; Ginnold 20006; Häfeli & Schellenberg, 2009; Hupka, Sacchi, & Stalder, 2006). Education and training programs are not always suited to their interests and needs. This places them in a disadvantageous position on the labour market (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2006). Moreover, social changes and a high (youth) unemployment rate pose a threat to the lesser qualified young people (Deneke, 2012). Attaining a vocational qualification is therefore decisive for their access to the labour market.
Swiss educational policy aims to ensure that 95% of all youths have a post-obligatory education qualification at upper secondary level. For young people with disabilities, the Swiss disability insurance finances the additional costs of their vocational education and training, which usually takes place in a specialized educational institution in the second labour market. This makes it possible to adapt the learning conditions individually to the special needs of the apprentices. However, a close co-operation between educational institutions and the first labour market is considered important, in order for young people to experience real working conditions (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2006). Thus, apprentices with disabilities are more and more often placed in the first labour market with additional support from “job coaches”, in hopes of a smoother transition afterwards. In Switzerland (and other countries) this model of vocational education is called “supported education”. In the US, similar programs were evaluated (for an overview see Parrish, 2009; Rogers, Kash-MacDonald, Bruker, & Maru, 2010), but most of these studies were only conducted on people with mental illnesses and/or in the context of other vocational educational systems. In Germany (with a similar dual VET-system as in Switzerland), a study found positive effects for “supported education” on later employment in the first labour market (Seyd, Schulz, & Vollmers, 2007). Otherwise, the number of research studies in this field is limited.
In a study carried out by the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education Zurich (Hofmann & Schaub, 2015), we interviewed 115 former apprentices with different disabilities and special educational needs who had gone through different types of vocational education programs (“supported education” and in specialized institutions). The following questions were the focus of our study:
- How did the young professionals evaluate their apprenticeship time and the transition into the labour market afterwards in retrospect?
- What is their current position in the labour market (first or second labour market, unemployed, employed in a permanent position or temporarily)?
- How satisfied are the young employees with their present workplace and what do they expect from their professional future?
- How do vocational trainers and employers assess the situation of the apprentices and the model of “supported education” in general?
In addition to the description of the apprentice’s situation, we are interested in knowing more about the interaction between the different factors (as e.g. disability, qualification level, course of the training) relating to the vocational outcomes after finishing the apprenticeship. Our results are meant to contribute to a better understanding of the situations of people with disabilities entering the labour market and to optimize support during this period.
Deneke, S. (2012). Zukunftsvorstellungen und Berufsorientierungen von benachteiligten Jugendlichen. VHN, 81, 35-46. doi: 10.2378/vhn2012.art03d Doose, S. (2012). Unterstützte Beschäftigung: Berufliche Integration auf lange Sicht (3d ed.). Marburg: Lebenshilfe-Verlag. Euler, D., & Severing, E. (2014). Inklusion in der Berufsbildung. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 110(1), 114-132. European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. (2006). Individual Transition Plans. Supporting the Move from School to Employment. Middelfart: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. Fasching, H. (2013). Interaktion von Behinderung und Geschlecht im Übergang von der Schule in Ausbildung und Beschäftigung: Erweiterte Analysen aus einem aktuellen Forschungsprojekt VHN, 82, 46-59. doi: 10.2378/vhn2012.art13d Felkendorf, K., & Lischer, E. (Eds.). (2005). Barrierefreie Übergänge? Jugendliche mit Behinderungen und Lernschwierigkeiten zwischen Schule und Berufsleben. Zürich: Verlag Pestalozzianum. Ginnold, A. (2006). Entwicklungsverläufe von Jugendlichen mit Lernschwierigkeiten an der ersten Schwelle des Übergangs Schule-Beruf. Ergebnisse einer empirischen Studie. Berufliche Rehabilitation, 20, 179-200. Häfeli, K., & Schellenberg, C. (2009). Erfolgsfaktoren in der Berufsbildung bei gefährdeten Jugendlichen. Bern: EDK Schweizerische Erziehungsdirektoren Konferenz. Hofmann, C., & Schaub, S. (2015). Berufliche Integration durch Ausbildung auf dem ersten Arbeitsmarkt und Gelingensbedingungen. Schlussbericht. Zürich: Hochschule für Heilpädagogik. Hupka, S., Sacchi, S., & Stalder, B. E. (2006). Does the Swiss VET System encourage inequity? Paper presented at the European Research Network on Transitions in Youth TIY, Marseilles. Parrish, C. (2009). MH supported education literature review. Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services Research and Information Management. Rogers, E. S., Kash-MacDonald, M., Bruker, D., & Maru, M. (2010). Systematic Review of Supported Education Literature, 1989 –2009. Boston: Boston University, Sargent College, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Seyd, W., Schulz, K., & Vollmers, B. (2007). VAmB - Verzahnte Ausbildung mit Berufsbildungswerken. Abschlussbericht der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung. Hamburg: Bundesministerium für Soziales und Gesundheit.
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