A smooth versus rocky path from school to work: Predictors and consequences of successful and unsuccessful transitions from school to vocational education and training in Germany

Nießen, Désirée

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-621620
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2022
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Rammstedt, Beatrice
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften (GESIS)
Subject: 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Keywords (English): school-to-work transition , vocational education and training (VET) , big five , aspirations , attainment , subjective well-being
Abstract: The transition from school to work constitutes a critical phase in a young person’s life and shapes future career prospects and development. Therefore, mastering this transition plays a pivotal role in educational and social inequality. For the most part, previous research has investigated the success of school-to-work transitions simply in terms of attainment in the sense of, for example, obtaining a job with a high socioeconomic status and high income. However, school-to-work transition is a multidimensional process that requires the consideration of many different indicators of success. The reasons for individual differences in these indicators of transition success are hitherto not completely understood. The aim of the present dissertation was to close this gap in understanding by identifying the predictors and consequences of successful and unsuccessful transitions from school to work in the context of the highly structured German education system. For this purpose, three studies were carried out using representative samples of young people transitioning from school to vocational education and training in Germany. Taken together, the findings of the three studies in this dissertation strongly suggest the need for a multidimensional conceptualization of transition success that (a) represents both the objective and subjective sides of this construct with different indicators; (b) covers the entire transition process; and (c) captures the consequences of successful and unsuccessful transitions, for example for subjective well-being. In addition, the results indicate the need to consider different groups of sources of individual differences in transition success, including not only sociostructural characteristics and cognitive ability but also malleable characteristics such as personality traits, which have been relatively understudied to date.

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