Forskere på Fafo: Anna Hagen Tønder This is the second report from a research project named The In-depth study project – between school and working life. The project is carried out by Fafo Institute of Labour and Social Research as part of a comprehensive and ongoing evaluation of the Knowledge Promotion reform. The evaluation was initiated by the Ministry of Education and Research and is administered and is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training.
The In-depth study project (ISP) was introduced in vocational programs in upper secondary
education in Norway in 2006. Subjects in vocational programs are now divided into Common Core Subjects, Common Programme Subjects and the In-depth Study Project. Within ISP, the students participate in projects that allow a closer investigation of a chosen subject or vocation. An important aim is to provide vocational students with personal experience with work methods and tasks within relevant trades and vocations at an early stage in their training. An underlying policy assumption is that this will increase student motivation, facilitate learning and ease the transition from school to apprenticeship.
In the standard model for upper secondary vocational education and training (VET) in
Norway, the students receive two years of school based education and then move on to a twoyear period as apprentices in a company (private or public). In the first year of upper secondary school the students chose between nine different vocational programmes. In the second year, the students choose a further specialisation within the programme. The actual choice of a profession is made when the students apply for apprenticeship places for the third and fourth years. The two-year apprenticeship program is an integrated part of upper secondary VET and follows a national curriculum. The transition from school to apprenticeship is a critical phase for vocational students in upper secondary education. The availability of apprenticeships is strongly influenced by economic cycles. Among students who cannot find an apprenticeship, the dropout rate is high.
Based on qualitative interviews with apprentices and their workplace supervisors and
trainers, this main question in this report is the extent to which ISP facilitates the transition
from school to apprenticeship. Findings show that the apprentices viewed ISP as important,
both in order to choose a profession and in order to find an apprenticeship. The workplace
trainers and supervisors confirm that the enterprises prefer to hire apprentices with prior work experience in the firm. These findings are supported by survey data, indicating that ISP might have a positive impact on the transition from school to apprenticeship. Whether this result only holds for certain groups of students is a question requiring further investigation.
The third and final report from the project will be published in 2012, integrating findings
from qualitative interviews with quantitative survey data as well as register data. The main
question to be answered in the final report is: To what extent, in what ways and under what
conditions does the implementation of IPS have a positive impact on vocational learning and skill development in vocational programmes?
Published: 2010 Id-nr.: 10119