The determinants of VET teachers’ career choice

Find new solution
This national project analyzes the motivations, socio-demographic characteristics and professional curriculum of those persons electing to become teachers in VET subjects. The aim is to contribute to the development of strategies to improve the attractiveness of the teaching profession. Indeed, in Switzerland today, about 4 VET teachers out of 10 are aged 50 or over.

Moreover, the teaching profession as a whole is currently suffering from a certain lack of attractiveness, as stressed in a recent OECD report. A shortage of VET teachers could therefore affect Switzerland in the coming years. A better understanding of the motivations and perceptions which lead teachers into VET would serve to increase their numbers and to improve the management and quality of the Swiss VET system. Finally, this project also aims to provide useful indications for the training of VET teachers.

The Expectancy-Value theoretical framework, adjusted specifically to the motivation to become a teacher by Watt and Richardson [Watt, H.M.G., & Richardson, P.W. (2007). Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: Development and validation of the FIT-Choice scale. The Journal of Experimental Education, 75, 167-202], served as a basis to analyse motivations and beliefs regarding the occupation. Many motivational dimensions are integrated in this theory, including the perception of effective teaching, the social and personal usefulness values of the teaching profession as well as social influences.


605 teachers of professional subjects undergoing VET training in French-speaking (n = 193) or German-speaking (n = 412) Switzerland participated in the survey. Part of these teach in vocational school full-time (n = 230) or part-time (n = 253), while others teach in workshops or industry courses (n = 122). Many vocational fields are represented. The scales of Factors influencing teaching choice developed by the same researchers were translated from English into German and French, then adjusted to the VET context in Switzerland. The scales were integrated into a questionnaire aimed at collecting socio-demographic data, information on a number of motivations and attitudes, as well as perceptions relating to the respondent’s previous occupation before becoming a teacher. This questionnaire was completed during a course period.

The quality of translations was checked through factor and consistency analyses. Three types of analyses were then performed. First, an investigation was made of the impact of teachers’ socio-demographic characteristics on their degree of motivation in opting for a teaching career. Secondly, a person-focused analysis was developed so as to draw up a number of teacher profiles with different motivations and perceptions of the occupation. The composition of these profiles was then reviewed in terms of experience prior to teaching, gender, teaching field, beliefs about the teaching profession and job satisfaction. Thirdly, the links between motivations to become a teacher and perceptions about the previous occupation were explored. The findings provide an unprecedented picture of VET teachers, their motivations and beliefs. Several publications on this project’s findings and implications are currently being prepared.

1.9.2009 to 30.6.2012

Universität Bern, Leading House « Bildungsökonomie: Betriebliche Entscheidungen und Bildungspolitik »