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Vocational Education in Canada, Do Policy Directions and Youth Trajectories Always Meet

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Vocational Education in Canada, Do Policy Directions and Youth Trajectories Always Meet

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This article provides an overview of vocational education and training (VET) at the secondary level in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, describes the basic guiding principles of VET policies in these provinces and then examines how young people’s trajectories may or may not be in harmony with these policy directions. We argue that although the socio-economic context and policy intents should favour increased participation in VET at the secondary level, a number of factors such as the perceptions of VET programmes, parental influence, levels of support for students and the attraction to employment, contribute to the relatively weak success of these programmes. The analysis is based on government documentation, statistical evidence and the results of a qualitative study conducted with high school dropouts in the province Quebec. In particular, the analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted with young people who had abandoned VET (n = 22) indicates that when these programmes attract socially and educationally vulnerable young people, they may have important problems in ensuring program completion. Furthermore, the analysis draws attention to the pitfalls that may await young people who leave a VET program without obtaining formal qualifications.

Molgat, M., Deschenaux, F., & LeBlanc, P. (2011). Vocational education in Canada: do policy directions and youth trajectories always meet?. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 63(4), 505-524.

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