Cover Image
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

1. The purposes and outcomes of the OECD Thematic Review

The review had been stimulated by a wide range of concerns: about youth unemployment and those at risk in the transition; concern for what appears to be the growing length of the transition; a concern to understand how the transition phase can lay a better foundation for learning throughout life, as well as for initial labour market entry.

The Thematic Review has focused upon two broad questions:

· How has young people's transition to working life been changing during the 1990s?

· What sorts of policies and programmes are effective in delivering successful transition outcomes for young people?

The Thematic Review has taken a broad approach to these questions. It has focused upon a wide range of young people, including school drop-outs as well as those entering the labour market with secondary and tertiary-level qualifications and those who combine work and study. The review looked at labour and social policies as well as education policies. And the countries reviewed differ widely in their transition frameworks, as well as in their economic context, population, geographical size, and forms of government.

The transition to working life is just one of the transitions that young people must make on the way to adulthood. For many, other transitions - to economic independence, establishing a household, personal development, family formation - will be more important to them at particular points in their lives. In a lifelong learning context the transition from initial education - whether upper-secondary education or tertiary education - is seen as simply the first of many transitions between work and learning that young people will experience throughout their lives. The substantive task of the Thematic Review has been to combine qualitative and quantitative insights in order to understand the ways in which national transition contexts and transition processes relate to transition outcomes1.

1 The full report will be published under the title "From initial education to working life: making transitions work", OECD, 2000.

Within this framework some basic goals are suggested that all transition policies should aim for. These include:

· high proportions of young people completing a full upper-secondary education with a recognized qualification for either work, tertiary study or both;

· high levels of knowledge and skill among young people at the end of the transition phase;

· a low proportion of teenagers being at the one time not in education and unemployed;

· a high proportion of those young adults who have left education having a job;

· few young people remaining unemployed for lengthy periods after leaving education;

· stable and positive employment and educational histories in the years after leaving upper-secondary education; and

· an equitable distribution of outcomes by gender, social background and region.

In judging the extent to which these goals are met, multiple transition indicators have been used. The set of 14 key indicators of transition outcomes that has been adopted spans both education and labour market outcomes, both for teenagers and for young adults. Table 1 shows for each of these indicators those OECD countries which have the best results and those with the least satisfactory outcomes.2 Use of multiple rather than single indicators reveals the complexity of transition outcomes. Within any one country, for example, outcomes can be high for teenagers but not for young adults, and vice versa; or education outcomes can be high but not labour market outcomes, and vice versa.

2 Countries falling into the upper and lower quartiles respectively.

Table 1. Indicators of transition outcomes by dominant pathway types in OECD countries

Indicator

Dominant pathway type



App.

Mixed pathways

School-based vocational

General education



CHE

DEU

AUT

DNK

NLD

NOR

BEL

CZE

FIN

FRA

HUN

ITA

POL

SWE

UKM

AUS

CAN

GRC

IRL

JPN

KOR

NZL

PRT

ESP

USA

i

Unemployment to population ratio, 15-19 year-olds

Ö

Ö





Ö


X

Ö





X

X

X



Ö

Ö

X


X


ii

Non-student unemployed as a percentage of all 15-19 year-olds

Ö

Ö





Ö



Ö


X



X

X








X


iii

Long-term unemployment, 15-19 year-olds

Ö




X

Ö



Ö

X


X


Ö




X

X


Ö




Ö

iv

Unemployment to population ratio, 20-24 year-olds



Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö



X

X


X

X





X


Ö




X


v

Long-term unemployment, 20-24 year-olds



Ö


X

Ö

X


Ö



X






X

X


Ö




Ö

vi

Employment to population ratio, 20-24 year-olds



Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

X



X


X

X



Ö


X






X

Ö

vii

Percentage of non-students aged 20-24 employed

Ö


Ö





Ö

X



X




Ö


X






X


viii

Youth to adult unemployment ratio

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö


X






X






X

Ö






X

ix

Percentage not in education one year after the end of compulsory schooling


Ö





Ö

Ö



X



Ö

x

Ö

X

X


Ö


X


X


x

Apparent upper-secondary graduation rates







Ö


Ö



X

Ö




X

X

X

Ö


Ö


X

X

xi

16-25 year-olds at document literacy level 4/5

Ö












X

Ö



Ö


X






X

xii

Percentage of 20-24 year olds with low qualifications




X

X

Ö


Ö




X


Ö

Ö






Ö

X

X

X

Ö

xiii

Relative disadvantage of low-qualified 20-24 year-olds



X


Ö



X



X

Ö



X


X

Ö

X


Ö


Ö

Ö

X

xiv

Percentage tertiary qualified at age 25-29


X

X




Ö

X



X

X





Ö


Ö


Ö


X

Ö

Ö

Key: Ö In the top (most favourable) quartile of OECD countries; X In bottom (least favourable) quartile of OECD countries.

Source: OECD.

CHE

Switzerland

DEU

Germany

AUT

Austria

DNK

Denmark

NLD

Netherlands

NOR

Norway

BEL

Belgium

CZE

Czech Republic

FIN

Finland

FRA

France

HUN

Hungary

ITA

Italy

POL

Poland

SWE

Sweden

UKM

United Kingdom (mainland)

AUS

Australia

CAN

Canada

GRC

Greece

IRL

Ireland

JPN

Japan

KOR

Korea

NZL

New Zealand

PRT

Portugal

ESP

Spain

USA

United States of America