Background

Weak grades and low completion of secondary education is a societal challenge that causes complex health and economic problems of the residents of the municipalities of Hitra, Frøya and Smøla. Hitra and Frøya are among the four municipalities in the county of Sør-Trøndelag that have the highest vocational education dropout rate.

This leads to deteriorating mental and physical health, increased insurance costs, reduced social participation and unnecessary burden of healthcare, and can be prevented with early intervention and prevention. A research of vocational training in enterprises conducted by Office of the Auditor General of Norway (OAG) 19.02.2013 notes that:

  • lack of apprenticeship places increases the risk of young people not completing their vocational training, with subsequent increased risk of unemployment.
  • authorities lack both data and knowledge of the companies' monitoring of the academic content of vocational training in enterprises due to non-existing systems of good communication, effective information flow and interaction between the participants.

In the municipalities of Frøya, Hitra and Smøla, early intervention in higher grades of elementary school is important in terms of influencing and changing young people's attitudes and expectations towards living and working in a knowledge society. This includes: acquiring good knowledge/skills in basic subjects, and establishing positive attitudes and desire to learn, and learn more. In the municipalities of Frøya, Hitra and Smøla, improved early intervention and interaction aimed at vocational training in the public sector will therefore have a direct long-term impact on the future use of health and welfare services in the community

In the county (regionally), the early intervention in higher grades of elementary school on the local level must be continued in order to improve academic skills (grades) in basic subjects and thereby increase access to apprenticeships in enterprises. The attitude creating work related to increasing learning motivation must be also continued during apprenticeship period. In order to reduce the low completion over five years, it is especially important put into action additional measures in the transition period from the secondary school to the first six months as an apprentice in enterprise. Our definition of dropout includes quitting before the entire course of study is completed. A key point in this work is to work on increasing the motivation of students so that more people complete their education.

According to OAG's research of vocational training in enterprises (19.2.2013), 2 of 3 pupils got apprenticeships in 2011. The pupils who do not get an apprenticeship, as they are considered academically weak of enterprises or the pupils who drop out of entered apprenticeships are exposed to unemployment. Early intervention aimed at getting these groups of pupils into employment by making them complete their education will therefore have a direct impact on the future use of health and welfare services in the society. This requires coordination, cooperation and collaboration between the municipalities, county, schools with their teachers, educational institutions and enterprises.

On a national level, dropout in vocational education has been identified as a major challenge (Statistics Norway 2013), which has stabilized at 27% since 2001. Internationally, the European Commission expects that 50% of the population of Europe by the year 2020 will have to complete a vocational education. This type of education will show a significant element of specialization in ICT (Europe 2020).

 

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