Educational programme, HRD strategy or Employment practice - Findings from case studies on dual training

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Puebla (2017)


Outline of the research question (Purpose)
This contribution presents findings from the project “Dual training as a strategy to safeguard skilled labor supply”. The aim of the project is to map the variation of individual firms’ engagement in training young labor market entrants in seven different European and non-European countries (Spain, Slovakia, Portugal, Italy, England, Korean and Germany) in automotive industry and the automotive service sector. The project takes into account that workbased learning arrangements in co-operative structures with formal education can comprise a range of degrees of firms involvement from internships to fully-fledged apprenticeship arrangements integrated into dual vocational education and training systems (European Commission u.a. 2012, European Commission und IKEI 2012, Grollmann 2012). Different types of training involvement and the reasons and motives behind it will be in focus.
A major question behind the project is in how far the engagement of firms is structured by the educational context and how firm based initiatives initiatives to establish dual training practices are in line with ongoing political attempts in the selected countries to establish workbased education and training patterns as means of combatting youth unemployment and a achieving better match between the education and the labour market (e.g. European Commission 2015, Steedman 2012).
Methodology (Design)
The analysis is based on 56 case studies combining semi-structured interviews with quantitative questionnaires in seven different countries. Automotive industry (14 cases) and the car service sector (42 cases) have been selected because empirical evidence from German speaking countries with dual education systems shows that the economic motivation of firms to engage in training labour market entrants can span from a short-term production to a long-term investment orientation not least according to the size of companies (Jansen u.a. 2015). Only recently the models from cost-benefit analysis have also been applied to less intensive forms of workbased learning and education, such as internships (Jansen u.a. 2016).
In each case study organization of workbased learning, recruitment practices, motivation and economic aspects of the respective firms’ training activities are investigated.
The analysis of the different cases is based on an inductive case-by-case analysis. In a second step matching cases in terms of general characteristics of firms are compared and analysed in detail with regard to training practices and underlying motivations. The national contexts are used as one explanatory factor for the variation observed. Others are the business models and expectations and local and regional labour market specifities.
First results show that the analysed firms use a variety of different arrangements to recruit and train freshly employed young labor market entrants. This variety can be reduced to a number of similar patterns. In many cases firms do not necessarily act in accordance to the formal framework of the respective educational system or its ongoing reforms, but often create own training practices that involve more work experience than what would be stipulated by the system of vocational education and training.
However, there occur differences in the prevailing motivations, such as the necessity to reproduce or further develop the companies’ skills and knowledge base, establishing or transferring specific employment practices from one country to another or employer branding.
The results of the project can be used as an input into ongoing discussions how to increase employers` engagement in training of young adults. For the academic discussion on the development of employment in the automotive industry (e.g. Jürgens u.a. 2016) specific emphasis can be laid on the (changing) role of labour market entrants’ training in accordance with different production models and the role that manufacturers play in determining car service workshops’ training engagement in different countries.
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