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 Characteristics of dual qualifications
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Dual orientation towards employment and higher education
Comparison


 
(0) Introduction
(1) The orientation of dual qualifications towards employment; 
(2)The orientation of dual qualifications towards higher education;
(3) The balance of dual orientation towards employment and higher education; 
(4) The performance of students graduating from dual qualifications;
(5) The position of graduates with double qualifications on the labour market;
(6) Patterns of dual progression.
Info unit O 0 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

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(0) Introduction

How does the dual orientation towards higher education and employment function in real terms? To start with, evidence on the targets of the qualifications and the options open for the graduates is analysed. This is followed by presenting an indication of the balance between the two choices. In conclusion, the performance of graduates both in higher education and on the labour market is assessed. The indicators applied in this comparison serve to reveal the effect of dual qualifications for the students involved.

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning
Info unit O 1 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

Info structure

Chart/ Map/ Index
(1) The orientation of dual qualifications towards employment > Figure O1

As the analysis of the curricula of dual qualifications has shown, the degree of work orientation varies significantly between the schemes (see info unit E1). This diversity affects the level and type of occupation envisaged for the graduates, ranging from unspecified employment via skilled work to middle-level management. At the same time, depending on the national context, the congruence between qualifications and occupations and the modalities of the transfer from education to work vary greatly. While in some countries, the relationship between the qualification obtained in the scheme and the type of occupation it prepares for is clearly defined (AT, CZ, DE, FR, NL), in other countries the occupational orientation of the schemes is less specific (EL, En, FI, NO, SE). 
    The pattern of occupations related to dual qualifications includes a category of special significance: so-called "highly skilled work" which is situated between ordinary skill level and technician level. The schemes forming this group (CZ:SVS, DE, FR) have two features in common: they have a clearly defined occupational profile and they address high achievers among the trainees (see info unit Q5). 

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning
Info unit O 2 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

Info structure

Chart/ Map/ Index
(2) The orientation of dual qualifications towards higher education> Figure O2

The orientation towards higher education implies a precondition and/ or an entitlement to have access to studies which may extend from higher vocational to academic courses. In those countries where there is a clear distinction between tracks of vocational and academic institutions at upper secondary and tertiary levels (AT, DE, EL, NL), the schemes specifically qualify for access to the technical sector of higher education, partly granting additional entitlement for access to academic studies (AT). In the other countries which have developed a more integrated structure of secondary and higher education (En, FI, NO, SE) and in France, the schemes serve as a general entitlement for access to higher education. However, as the case studies show, the special requirements insisted upon by the individual faculties reduce the options in actual terms. In most cases, therefore, access is in practice confined to the technical courses or to studies in the domain-related areas. 

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning
Info unit O 3 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

Info structure

Chart/ Map/ Index
(3) The balance of dual orientationtowards employment and higher education > Figure O3

While all schemes allow for a dual orientation, they differ in the relative weight attributed to either employment or higher education. Several of them put the emphasis on employment as the prior aim and also function like this in practice (AT, FR, NL, PT). This emphasis is likely to apply to the vocational streams or programmes (NO, SE) as well, despite their original claim of a balanced orientation. Another group of schemes (EL, En, CZ, FI) offers and also achieves a fairly equal weight of the two progression routes. Only one scheme (DE) is geared primarily towards higher education, but in terms of a vocational career (see info unit O2).
     The flow of graduates into higher education, if followed over a longer period, shows various trends (downward, stable, upward). These are related to more general changes, for instance in the demand for upper secondary and higher education, in the provision of study places and in alternative chances on the labour market. The evidence of trends does not imply any significant shift in the balance of dual orientation. If the latest percentage figures are considered it is evident that the dual orientation functions in practical terms.

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning
Info unit O 4 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

Info structure

Chart/ Map/ Index
(4) The performance of students graduating from dual qualifications> Figure O4

In preparation for access to higher education, students in schemes of dual qualification compete with those in tracks of general education. Their comparative performance at the point of graduation is therefore significant. On the one hand, the Bac Pro students achieve a rate of success by the end of their course which characterises French baccalauréat holders in general, and the graduates from German pilot projects reach a particularly high performance rate; on the other hand, the poor completion rate in GNVQ courses is a cause of concern in England, and the performance of students in the Finnish experimental reform is also below that of students in general education. 
    At the point of entry to higher education, the success of graduates with dual qualification may be equal to those with general education (CZ, EL) or less ((PT). As to progression within higher education, the two cases for which evidence is available (FR, NL) require a closer look: while the success rate of Bac Pro holders hardly exceeds half of them, but matches the general rate in advanced technical studies, the success rate of MBO holders after two years of study reaches three quarters which is slightly below the average in higher vocational institutes.
    A tentative conclusion supported by the case studies is that students in various schemes face difficulties in progression to higher education. Steps considered to raise the chances of success (e.g. in En, NL) include partnerships or compact arrangements between the institutions offering a dual qualification and those providing higher education. Also, the possibility for individuals to enter enriched or enhanced programmes within the schemes can greatly affect their subsequent prospects of success in higher education.

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning
Info unit O 5 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

Info structure

Chart/ Map/ Index
(5) The position of graduates with double qualifications on the labour market > Figure O5

The chances for graduates with dual qualification to enter the labour market is indicated, in general terms, by the employment rate. This appears to be high compared to the employment rate of other young  job seekers, even if the evidence available does not allow to make detailed comparisons (FR, EL, NL, FI, DE). No opposite cases of a low employment rate are known from this study. It may be assumed, therefore, that dual qualifications provide good chances for their graduates compared to other job seekers on the labour market. 
    Another question is whether the jobs obtained by dually qualified graduates match the occupational levels envisaged in the schemes concerned. While three cases indicate a close relation between the occupational target of the scheme and the actual job obtained (AT, EL, NL, PT), one case implies a lower entry level (FR) which however may be followed by occupational progression. Altogether, the evidence available suggests a positive relation between the envisaged and the achieved occupational levels. 
    It may be concluded from the evidence available that dual qualifications enhance the prospects vis-à-vis ordinary qualifications at upper secondary level for gaining skilled employment.

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning
Info unit O 6 of 6
Dual orientation towards employment and higher education

Info structure

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(6) Patterns of dual progression > Figure O6

If the typical career prospects of dual qualifications set out above are compiled for each scheme (with evidence available for nine of them), two major patterns of dual progression emerge:
# most of the schemes offer a choice between access to studies in the technical sector or entry into highly skilled employment/ middle-level management (AT, CZ, DE, FR, NL, PT);
# a smaller group of schemes provide opportunities of either progression to studies in related subjects (with no established technical sector available) or unspecified employment (EN, NO: 3 years, SE). 
    The first of the two patterns is likely to open up more structured professional careers, also in terms of close relations and potential combinations between technical studies and highly skilled/ managerial work. The second pattern functions under conditions of a more flexible relationship between higher education and labour market in the countries concerned. 
    The patterns above suggest that there is a significant relationship between the two options of progression. Particularly in pattern I, by preparing both for (highly) skilled work and work-related studies, dual qualifications provide a basis for professional careers in a lifelong learning process.

Sources
INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL
Contact

Sabine Manning

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  First set up 23/08/1998
Latest update: 11/12/1999
 Contact: Sabine Manning
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