Project

Career decisions of students upon completion of their VET programme in health care

Find new solution
Conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) and OdASanté, the study "Career decisions of students upon completion of their VET programme in health care" examines the career plans of learners in the third year of their VET programmes in health care all over Switzerland as well as their subsequent career choices one year after graduation. This study provides useful information to cantonal and national professional organisations, policymakers, government officials and VET trainers on the transition from upper-secondary level training in health care to the labour market or to tertiary-level training in nursing.

This information serves both planning purposes and sheds light on future supply of trained health care workers. The study is part of the Master Plan for Education in Nursing Professions established by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Method

This study entailed a longitudinal analysis of the career/training plans and subsequent choices of all learners in the third year of VET programmes in health care (graduation date: 2011) in all parts of Switzerland. A total of 2,089 learners from 24 cantons (excl. JU and NE) were contacted. The first phase of the study was conducted during their third year of training (2010/2011) either at VET schools or at industry training centres. The second phase of the study took place in the summer of 2012. It was mostly conducted online with a response rate of around 50%. Both datasets were linked using personal identifiers and then subjected to cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis.

Findings
One year after completion of their training, four-fifths of all graduates in health care remained faithful to their branch: of this proportion, half took up employment in health care and half went on to pursue tertiary-level training in nursing, either at a PET college or a university of applied sciences (UAS). Only one-tenth of all graduates took up employment outside the health care branch. The share of graduates working in health care falls perfectly in line with national recruitment planning objectives. However, the proportion of graduates seeking more advanced training in nursing at a PET college or UAS is still too low. The career plans of respondents for 2014 indicate that this may change in the future: the proportion of graduates employed in health care could fall to 30% and the corresponding proportion of graduates who pursue tertiary-level training in nursing could increase to 50%. Even the proportion of graduates taking up employment outside the health care branch seems likely to increase.

What factors influence career choices?
Respondents were more likely to pursue tertiary-level training in nursing after graduation if they had already had that intention before starting their VET programme in health care or if they did their work-based training at a hospital. Their experiences during training, particularly an above-average level of satisfaction with training combined with an above-average level of extrinsic motivation during their VET programme have a significant impact on the likelihood that they will pursue tertiary-level training in nursing either at a PET college or at a UAS. Obstacles in the transition from upper-secondary level to tertiary-level include: requirement that average scores on the final apprenticeship examination be equal to or above 5.0 out of 6.0, loss of potential income during tertiary-level training; and reluctance to lose the opportunity to secure an appealing job in health care. An above-average level of job satisfaction and professional pride, in turn, are important influencing factors in the decision to remain in the health care branch. Education background, age and gender also have a significant impact on this decision: learners who had completed lower-secondary school in the high-performance track were significantly more likely to pursue tertiary-level training in nursing after graduation. The same was true for graduates who had completed their VET programme in health care below the age of 21. An above-average proportion of males go on to attend preparatory classes for the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate Examination after completing their VET programme in health care. There are also differences between linguistic regions of Switzerland: in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, tertiary-level training in nursing is almost exclusively offered by universities of applied sciences (ISCED 5A), which require the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate for admission; in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, this training is provided primarily by PET colleges (ISCED 5B), which require only the Federal VET Diploma in Health Care for admission. As a result, the proportion of graduates holding both a Federal VET Diploma in Health Care and a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate one year after graduation is significantly higher in the French-speaking region of Switzerland (35%) than in the German-speaking region (20%). This explains why the proportion of graduates enrolled in tertiary-level training in nursing is significantly higher in the German-speaking region (38%) than in the French-speaking region (12%).

Conclusion
Both phases of the study enabled identification of the factors influencing career plans and choices as well as areas where action could be taken at both an individual and institutional level. The objective should be to draw as many young people as possible to both levels of training in health care (i.e. upper-secondary and tertiary). Provided that there are enough qualified applicants, targeted recruitment could have an impact on decisions to remain in the health care branch and facilitate transitions from upper-secondary to tertiary level training after completion of the VET programme. Efforts to ‘market’ occupations, however, should not only seek to draw as many people as possible to the health care occupation but should also focus on encouraging graduates to remain in the health care branch. Host institutions play an important role by providing learners with good-quality training, encouraging them to remain in the branch and showing them their career prospects. In the period immediately following completion of their VET programme in health care, graduates should receive guidance on training and employment options. This can be achieved, for instance, through close cooperation between VET schools and host institutions. Generally speaking, systematic monitoring of career paths in health care after graduation is recommended to compare the supply of newly trained health care workers to the future demand as planned.

  • Fazit 2013
  • Bericht 2013
  • Datenanhang 2013
  • Management summary 2012
  • Bericht 2012
Publications
Publication-Type: 
Journals with peer review
Project-State: 
Completed
Date: 
1.7.2010 to 31.3.2013
Project manager: 
Partner: 
  • OdASanté
  • Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation (SBFI)