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close this bookThe Transition of Youth from School to Work: Issues and Policies (IIEP, 2000, 188 p.)
close this folderChapter I. From initial education to working life: making transition work by Marianne Durand-Drouhin and Richard Sweet
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. The purposes and outcomes of the OECD Thematic Review
View the document2. Changes in young people's transition to work during the 1990s
View the document3. The transitions are taking longer
View the document4. Changing patterns of participation in education and training
View the document5. The key features of effective transition systems
View the document6. Well-organized pathways that connect initial education with work, further study or both
View the document7. Workplace experience combined with education
View the document8. Tightly-knit safety nets for those at risk
View the document9. Good information and guidance
View the document10. Effective institutions and processes
View the document11. No single model - what counts is giving priority to youth

8. Tightly-knit safety nets for those at risk

Countries with effective transition outcomes actively seek to achieve high rates of participation, completion and achievement in upper-secondary education. High rates of upper-secondary achievement and completion help to reduce the numbers who are most at risk in the transition because of low levels of skill and qualifications. High rates of upper-secondary completion are important in helping to reduce disparities in outcomes between social groups: achieving good outcomes for all is one way to ensure that they are more equitable across social groups. High rates of upper-secondary achievement and completion are also important in making safety nets for those who do drop out of school early more affordable. Such safety nets are another way in which societies can develop inclusive transition systems.

During the 1990s some of the Nordic countries have developed impressive safety net mechanisms designed to rapidly re-insert early leavers into the mainstream of education so that they can gain an upper-secondary qualification for work or further study. Their success in part is because they have achieved a degree of policy coherence: through resolving a tension between immediate employment or education and training qualifications as the goal of intervention to assist those at risk; and through coherence between education, employment and income-support policies. The second key ingredient in their success has been the development of local delivery mechanisms that can co-ordinate practical assistance across several policy domains and several levels of government, and tailor this assistance to the needs of individual young people. Safety nets have been accompanied by explicit or implicit guarantees that give all young people an entitlement to an upper-secondary education. These rights have been balanced by obligations on the part of the young person to actively participate in order to receive income support. The implementation of these safety nets has been accompanied by evidence in support of their effectiveness in reducing the labour market difficulties of teenagers, although their success in achieving the same results for young adults has not been as evident, partly because young adults have less commonly or only more recently been targeted by them. Recent policy initiatives in a number of other countries have some of the features of the Nordic safety nets.