Secondary vocational education
Professional Education of Blue-Collar Workers
The goal of this project was to examine the structure of the area of secondary vocational education (SVE) in St. Petersburg, to evaluate methods for assessing the environment in educational institutions, and to study the educational trajectories of young workers.
Over the duration of this project, we have collected detailed information concerning a range of parameters that characterize various types of SVE institutions: financial and human resources, socio-professional status, and the education levels of students’ parents. In addition, we have used a specially designed socio-psychological tool for assessing a range of parameters of the organizational environments in institutions, such as attitude towards the obtained profession, level of involvement in the educational process, a feeling of belonging to the college / technical school, etc.
The empirical base for this project included: 1) 38 formal interviews with the administration of SVE educational institutions that offer education in a range of technical professions; 2) 40 semi-structured interviews with 40 students of technical vocational schools and colleges; 3) questionnaire surveys of the students of 1st and graduate years of SVE technical educational institutions (176 groups; 3,083 students), which allowed us to compare the educational motivations, professional plans and other parameters of two groups of students, between the ages of 16-17 years and 18-19 years.
As the result of our analysis of this data, we have identified various types of SVE educational institutions in St. Petersburg, in terms of their success in adapting to the needs of the students and to labour market demands, and put forward assumptions on possible ways to improve motivation for learning and vocation amongst the SVE students. Also, we have developed and tested tools for the independent evaluation of the quality of SVE educational institutions. This has allowed us to reach conclusions regarding the motives that move young people in the process of choosing between different types of educational institutions and different vocations, their professional aspirations and their ideas about their professional future and life trajectory. The collected data not only demonstrated that the process of segregation in vocational education is a kind of objective social selection, but also allowed us to draw conclusions regarding how students from families of different socio-professional statuses accept the SVE system and develop their own action strategies within its boundaries.
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