6f - Dropout and retention

  
 Consequences of drop-out
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Young people who drop out of high school are unlikely to have the minimum skills and credentials necessary to function in today's increasingly complex society and technological workplace.

Early school leavers are between three and four times more likely to be unemployed than those who hold higher educational qualifications.
A research study, undertaken before the current economic crisis, reveals that those who leave school early tend to hold less skilled jobs and, as a consequence, earn lower wages (ESRI Economic and Social Research Institute on behalf of Barnardos).

In addition, early leavers are much more likely to become lone parents and have poorer health than those with higher qualifications.

Leaving school early reinforces existing social and economic inequality, because those who decide to give up formal education tend to come from working class backgrounds.

The research study warns that targeting resources on disadvantaged schools is not enough to counter education inequality. There is a need for “joined-up” policy between education, health and welfare services to address children’s overall needs. Source: ‘Written Out, Written Off’, Irish Time, May 13th 2009: http://pavee.ie/mediamonitor/?p=1286)
  
 Dropout rates and retention
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The rate of early school leavers is slowly decreasing in almost in all European countries and was at an average of 15% of young people between 18 and 24 years in the year 2007.
  
 Dropout rates among ethnic minorities
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Young people from ethnic minorities can have problems in school due to lack of language skills.

This can be a reason for their “failure” in school, but this doesn't mean at all that they wouldn’t be successful at their work!
  • Are there figures in your country about dropout rates among ethnic minorities?
  • Has your government published materials for preventing dropout of immigrants?
  • Where can your company seek information, when you want to make adjustments to your training and meet the special needs of bilingual apprentices?
  
 Preventing dropout
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The school is responsible for prevention of dropout. Employers can be a big help in this area. The school should develop plans to increase graduation rates. Strategies that are most likely to be effective are comprehensive and address the following major aspects:
  • Prediction: Processes for identifying students early on who are in danger of dropping out.
  • Intervention: Programs and initiatives to help high-risk students get back on track.
  • Prevention: Ways to organize school programs that will minimize the chances for students being at risk of dropping out.
  • Recovery: Options for retaining older students when intervention and prevention are not enough.
You can get additional information about preventing dropout at The Center for public Education.
  
 Counseling about career choices
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The trainer can play a big role in presenting career choices to the apprentices. He/she is the one who can present the "real job". The trainer can introduce the further possibities that are opened by choosing this occupation.

If you have questions or suggestions, turn to your VET school. VET schools usually have a department or person who is responsible for this area. In Slovenia, this would be the school psychologist.

  
 Share your best practice!
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Try to find the mechanisms that help to keep young people in school in your country, and what you as employer can do to make the trade more popular.

Is there any research done in this field in your country? If so, please let us know, and we will help spread the information. Contact: trainer@trainerguide.eu

  
 Consultations with the apprentices
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If you see that the apprentice has difficulties at work, try to talk to him/her.

Maybe the apprentice just needs:
  • additional information about the job,
  • information about future possibilities that this occupation can offer
  • help, so he/she won’t have any trouble finishing school
  • help to become successful at his/her job afterwards.
Some young people just need some additional attention, explanation and care.
  
 Understanding school and company culture
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Your company may have established values that are written down and that everyone is familiar with.

They are in brochures, on your website, and, most likely, in the staff handbook as well.

Even if your company's values aren't written down, everyone who works there knows them. Often we automatically expect that everyone will live up to our values.

This can make it harder for the new apprentice to understand them from the beginning!

  
 Identification of special needs
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In some European countries, there are projects that have dealt with this important topic. Check the Finnish experience in identification of special needs:

When accepting apprentices in your company, you are accepting different people with different needs, different ages and genders. You can find results from the European project T for D – Tools for Diversity, in the field of assessing and strengthening the diversity of skills and competence in the workplace and in educational institutions.

Additional information and tools can be found at the project website.
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6 - The apprentice's background

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