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The first big decision: How young people in Switzerland decide what (vocational) training to pursue

Switzerland’s workers of tomorrow express a high level of satisfaction, and money is by no means their primary concern in choosing a career. This is one of the findings of the Jacobs Foundation’s second representative study of young people in Switzerland. The study looks at young people’s decisions about their training, and focuses particularly on those who opt for vocational training.

The most important conclusions of Juvenir 2.0: As many as 91 percent of young people are able to take into account their own interests and talents in their work situations. It is therefore not surprising that most of them are very happy with their training, with 90 percent reporting that they enjoy their work, that the content they are learning is interesting, and that they have good relationships with their instructors and supervisors. Ninety-three percent believe that their training will provide a good foundation for acquiring further qualifications and will open the door to a wide variety of career opportunities. Although potential earnings, both during and after training, are not unimportant, money is not the primary motivating factor for them when choosing a career. While 56 percent of the young people in the study indicated that potential earnings are a significant consideration, 91 percent mention their personal interests and 70 percent job security as much more important concerns. Juvenir 2.0 therefore clearly disproves the misconception that Swiss youth are largely materialistic.

At the young age of 15, young people in Switzerland are faced with a major decision: apprenticeship or further schooling? And if they choose an apprenticeship, which of the many available options is the right one? Juvenir asked respondents how they deal with this decision, as well as why they have chosen a specific apprenticeship and, looking back, how happy they are with their decisions. “Our dual vocational training system provides an excellent framework for young people,” says Sandro Giuliani, CEO of the Jacobs Foundation. “Relative to other European countries, moreover, Switzerland offers a wide range of excellent apprenticeship options.”

Other findings from Juvenir 2.0
A difficult decision? Sixty percent of young people have an easy time choosing an apprenticeship, since they base their choice primarily on their interests and the career they hope to pursue. Another 19 percent tend to make their decisions for pragmatic reasons, such as job security or proximity to their homes. The remaining 21 percent, however, experience stress and uncertainty. Anxious about making the wrong choice, they find it difficult to make up their minds.

• Girls are different – and so are boys. There are gender differences in how young people make these decisions and how they look at the future: Young women are more likely than their male peers to be uncertain about their choice of vocational training (28 vs. 15 percent). They are also less confident about their career prospects. Only 68 percent of female respondents believe that their prospects are good, relative to 84 percent of their male counterparts.

About the Juvenir studies
Juvenir is a series of representative studies conducted by the Jacobs Foundation, focusing on current issues that affect young people in Switzerland. What sets these studies apart: The Juvenir studies are the only Swiss surveys that talk with, and not just about, young people. To that end, Juvenir uses the social media that are such an important part of the daily lives of today’s youth. As with the first Juvenir study, young people can discuss the findings of Juvenir 2.0 on Facebook (www.facebook.com/juvenir.ch). Anyone who is interested can comment on the study’s results and, if they choose, disagree with the opinions of the majority.
The second Juvenir study, entitled “The first big decision: How young people in Switzerland decide what (vocational) training to pursue,” is available from the Jacobs Foundation in its entirety as well as in summary form. It can also be downloaded from the website www.juvenir.ch.