02 SES 06 A, Participation in CVET and Lifelong Learning
The complexity and rapid development of today's working environment requires continuing education and training (OECD, 2007). Participation in continuing education is of essential importance in career tracks, specifically for young adults that have graduated from vocational education and training (VET). The participation of VET graduates in continuing education is of interest to politics and economy too, because of shortage of qualified employees (Swiss Federal Council, 2015). The decision to participate depends on individual as well as structural aspects (Cross, 1981; Desjardins & Rubenson, 2013). Educational attainment expectation and values assigned to education represent individual aspects that encourage participation in continuing education (Gorges & Kandler, 2012). Structural aspects that either deter or foster participation are to be found in the individual family and job situation (e.g. child care, support by employer) as well as in institutional situation (e.g. social policy, family policy).
Individuals are constantly evaluating their situation, considering values, expectations, life transitions, barriers and opportunities, which evolves into an interplay of individual and structural aspects as described in the chain of response model (Cross, 1981). In this model, decision-making is seen as "a result of a chain of responses, each based on an evaluation of the position of the individual in his or her environment" (Cross, 1981, p. 125 ). During this evaluation, there are aspects that pull them away from the decision to participate in continuing education and others that draw them closer to participation (compare Cross, 1981, p. 128 ff.). Hence the overall decision-making process is characterized by an accumulation of forces for and against participation.
Besides participation in continuing education, after graduation another question arises in young adult's life regarding their future: The question of starting a family (Nurmi, 1992). Therefore decisions to participate in further education opportunities are often postponed. A Swiss longitudinal study showed that women stay absent from continuing education because of having children, what makes them less successful in their careers compared to men (Häfeli, Hättich, Schellenberg, & Schmaeh, 2015). Apparently and as seen in other studies (Abele & Spurk, 2011; Eby, Casper, Lockwood, Bordeaux, & Brinley, 2005), transition into parenthood interrupts career track's continuity and participation in continuing education. In line with the chain of response model (Cross, 1981), it is expected that for individuals in transition into parenthood situational aspects like career opportunities provided by the employer are more important than for individuals not yet starting a family. This can be assumed because, as seen above, transition into parenthood deters them from participation. Hence, for a positive decision-making they need other forces that facilitate participation.
A recent study on career decisions highlights that family plays a role in career decisions not only after the birth of own children but also before. Already the anticipated incompatibility of work and family takes effects (Schwiter et al., 2014).
In this presentation, we aim to explain the intention to participate in continuing education against the above explained theoretical background for two groups of people: ones that are planning to have children concurrently and ones that do not plan to have children soon. As explained above, we hypothesize that individual aspects (values assigned to education and educational attainment expectation) as well as situational aspects (career opportunities provided by the employer) have a significant effect on intention to participate in continuing education in both groups. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the effect size of the situational aspect of career opportunities provided by the employer is bigger in the group planning to have children concurrently than in the group not planning to have children.
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