The second stage of learning after completing lower secondary education — named upper secondary education — is essential for both pursuing further levels of education, or continue in education and / or training, and successful labour market integration (OECD, 2020). The development and strengthening of this educational level — particularly in vocational — becomes a priority line of action to address equity in education and work towards more inclusive education and societies, with lower unemployment rates (especially youth unemployment) and a lower rate of population that neither continue studying nor working. We cannot underestimate the potential of VET and the essential role that it can play in the current social, economic, and productive context as an instrument and a way to successful labour market integration and social inclusion. According to OECD (2018), vocational programs are considered more effective in developing skills that allow earlier access to the labour market and, as data show, countries with more developed and consolidated vocational training programmes, they have been more effective in containing youth unemployment. In this regard, VET is introduced as one of the most attractive options to gain access to the job market (especially for the young population between 15 and 19 years old), as well as for returning to training itineraries (especially in adulthood) that allow academic accreditation of competencies in favour of better employability and to go forward higher degree training programs; that is, to enter tertiary education. Nevertheless, despite having improved its social perception, VET continues to be the non-priority option, sometimes even marginal, in upper secondary education (OECD, 2020). In general, in all countries vocational pathway has a lower completion rate than in the general path. Mentioned reasons in regards with this fact are linked, mainly, to students’ profile — overall, the perception is that VET programmes continue to be the chosen option or alternative pathway for guiding those young people who, normally, present or have presented greater difficulties in the previous educational stages and who are at greater risk of early leaving from upper secondary level — and the lack of an adequate guidance process (or orientation), as well as adequate orientation mechanisms and tutorial actions, processes, or strategies — overall, most educational agents agree with the idea that educational and vocational guidance (or orientation) is very necessary in VET (Echeverría & Martínez, 2020; Olmos Rueda & Díaz-Vicario, 2019, 2020). The current lived pandemic situation highlights the need of developing proper educational and vocational guidance in VET, as well as the importance of focusing on orientation and tutorial action strategies in this educational field as the way to tackle early leaving and support young people on their transition towards VET and staying in VET. This framework gives VET an undervalued and unrealistic social image. The vocational pathway, particularly in upper secondary level, needs evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness. Therefore, working on making access to vocational programmes in upper secondary education more attractive, as well as strengthening and guaranteeing their permanence and completion, is presented as one of the educational challenges of today's society. Orienta4VET project will seek to work on and towards VET access, as well as contributing in and for staying and completing these programs. Its work lines linked to three of the specific priorities of the KA220-VET program: (a) increasing visibility and attractiveness of VET; (b) increasing the flexibility of opportunities in VET; (c) contributing to innovation in VET.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/22 → 31/12/24|
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