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Improvements needed in career guidance for pre-vocational students with a migration background

07 February 2024
Photo: Andreyeremenko

The career guidance for pre-vocational students with a migration background does not sufficiently meet the needs of these students to make a well-informed career choice. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers from the University of Groningen based on recent research conducted in collaboration with the Kohnstamm Institute.

Because pre-vocational students in secondary education have to choose a direction for their career at an early stage, which they often find challenging, it is important for schools to provide them with proper guidance. This is even more crucial for young people with a migration background. They often have a limited and less realistic understanding of professions in the Netherlands, leading them to choose more frequently for courses with unfavorable labor market prospects.

Insufficient alignment 

Career orientation and guidance, a crucial part of the educational program in secondary education, can assist these young people. However, recent research conducted by the GION Education/Research at the University of Groningen and the Kohnstamm Institute indicates that the offered career orientation guidance does not adequately align with what these students need. The researchers held discussions with eleven schools on how they can more effectively utilize career orientation and guidance by strengthening parental involvement and by better preparing students for activities, such as company visits, and encouraging them to reflect on their experiences afterward.

Importance of internships 

Based on a literature review, interviews with students and teachers, and intervention research, the researchers emphasize the importance of giving students the opportunity to gain practical experience, for example, through short internships. This way, they gain a better understanding of the various sectors and professions.

International transition classes 

The research not only involved pre-vocational students but also students in international transition classes. For these students, their parents are often unfamiliar with the Dutch education system and encounter language barriers. This is problematic because parents are important conversation partners for these young people. Therefore, students rely even more on information provided by the school. According to the researchers, it is important for these students to learn to deal with the expectations of others and to strengthen their confidence in making career choices.

The research was funded by a grant from the The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO).

Last modified:07 February 2024 10.53 a.m.
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