How can we make it possible for more young people to complete vocational training courses?

In 2017, almost one third of 25-year-olds in Denmark had not completed an upper secondary level education. Many had started vocational training courses, but dropped out of them. In fact, only around half of the students who begin vocational training courses actually complete them and obtain the associated qualification.

About the initiative

The aim of the present initiative is to develop, and to carry out an impact evaluation of, a new programme designed to enable more students to complete vocational training courses. Our aim is to extend our knowledge of the factors which increase the probability of students completing such course programmes.

How can we ensure that all students feel from the start of their foundation courses that they belong at the school and are welcome to play an active part in the classroom learning community? How can we give students authentic experiences of their chosen profession that closely match what they will encounter in the real world of work? Can such experiences make students more aware of the opportunities that exist within their chosen field? Would that encourage more students to complete their courses? How can new initiatives be implemented on courses where there are already so many learning goals to be met? The ROCKWOOL Foundation Interventions Unit is working to find answers to these questions in close collaboration with a number of vocational training schools, students and businesses. We are basing our work on information from research, on analyses of the vocational training schools’ own administrative data, and on views expressed by students, teachers, vocational school heads, and company employees and management staff.

Working with external partners

The research element in the initiative is being carried out by Associate Professor Fane Naja Groes PhD and Senior Advisor Edith Madsen PhD, both of Copenhagen Business School. Vocational training schools in Denmark can participate in the initiative by providing researchers with access to their administrative data.

We are currently working with the vocational schools NEXT, Aarhus TECH, EUC Zealand, SDE College, TECHCOLLEGE and CELF.

It was great to have some contact with clients. I’ve never had that experience before, and it was fun and exciting. Best of all was that it was our customer. We had the responsibility for getting things right. And we were responsible for all the small details – for example, when we should meet.”

/ Student, carpentry course

It’s much easier to concentrate when you have someone to discuss the task with. This partition wall, I would have got nowhere with it if I’d been working alone.”

/ Student, mason

The RFI model

At the ROCKWOOL Foundation Interventions Unit we aim to generate new knowledge about how we can solve the challenges faced by society. We do this by combining research, social innovation and knowledge of practice, and by working with external partners who are keen to join in with our efforts to find new solutions. The RFI model covers four phases in which research, social innovation and knowledge of practice all interact, creating together the foundation for our initiatives. Our initiative designed to increase student completion rates at vocational schools is currently in phase two of the model, Design and Prototype. It is in this phase that we try out prototypes. By constantly alternating between development and trialling we gain insight into where and how we can create positive change.

Contact the ROCKWOOL Foundation Interventions Unit

For more information, please contact the Programme Leader, Pernille Brems, by email at pbr@rfintervention.dk or by telephone on +45 20 53 70 85.


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