Employers and the governance of inclusion: Disadvantaged youths’ access to dual apprenticeships in collective skill formation systems


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Employers and the governance of inclusion: Disadvantaged youths’ access to dual apprenticeships in collective skill formation systems
Wilson Anna
Bonoli Giuliano
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de droit, des sciences criminelles et d'administration publique
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In Anna Wilson’s doctoral dissertation, the aim is to understand the extent to which vocational training systems seek to be inclusive towards disadvantaged youth and the factors and conditions that contribute to a willingness of employers to provide apprenticeships to this group.
The main can be summarized in two main themes.
The state as an inclusion-driver and an inclusive employer. Efforts to include disadvantaged young people in in-firm vocational training are largely contingent upon the public sector and the state. One of the dissertation’s three papers shows the engagement and involvement of firms in such endeavors are less extensive than the state-driven, ‘external’, measures.
In an experimental employer survey, Wilson finds that employers active in the public sector are more lenient towards disadvantaged youth as apprentice candidates than those in the private sector. In this study, against the expectations, neither training network nor employer association affiliation – factors that have been shown to have a positive effect on willingness to fulfil a social policy role before – correlates with a more lenient hiring attitudes towards disadvantaged apprentice candidates.
Wilson shows in a study of short vocational programs in Switzerland it was possible for the state to broker an agreement with the employers’ camp which aimed to create training opportunities for disadvantaged, practically oriented youths. This despite the tradition of a little involved state, which is widely believed to be a cornerstone in the strength and robustness of the VET system in general.
The importance of personal beliefs and goodwill. Although state efforts seem to be a significant force behind the provision of and access to training for low achievers and other disadvantaged groups, there are also private employers that do indeed show a higher willingness to select disadvantaged youth for apprenticeships (short or regular). Her findings show, in different ways, that the attitude of the recruiter, regardless of sector, has a determining impact on the willingness to offer training for disadvantaged and on preferences for specific candidates.
In the employer survey, when zooming in on the more egalitarian individuals who are active in the private sector in the commercial business sphere in the canton of Vaud, there is a tendency to attribute less importance to aptitude test scores as well as the educational track. This shows that the sector type, indeed, does not explain all the variation in egalitarian stated behavior, but that individual recruiters who are willing to lower the bars for low achievers exist in the private sector as well.
To summarize, employers’ inclusive hiring behavior is more likely to play out in ‘favorable employer’ settings: where profit-making is less of a concern, where in-firm resources are available for vocational training, in the instances where the training is not too theoretically demanding, and where there is a personal belief in ‘giving a chance’ also to low achieving amongst employers.
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16/12/2020 17:37
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25/03/2022 7:37
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