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School‐to‐work transitional outcomes of a group of Italian school dropouts: Challenges for promoting social inclusion

Viviana Sappa (Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy)
Laura Bonica (Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 13 September 2011




This study aims to deal with the role of vocational training in developing social inclusion by analyzing the school‐to‐work transitional outcomes of early school leavers whose successful experience in vocational training was documented in previous works.


The sample comprises 126 males who enrolled in and successfully completed biennial vocational training courses soon after dropping out of school. The transitional outcomes one year after the qualification as well as the variability of these outcomes in relation to age, degree of success in vocational training, and achievement in the previous schools were analyzed. A phone interview was used to collect data, and a binary logistic regression analysis was applied. In addition, narrative materials were collected through biographical interviews and qualitatively analyzed.


Although most subjects obtained a stable job, some critical aspects emerged: at times employment seemed to be the result of a “negative compromise”; several constraints emerged in managing further personal investment in school and learning.

Research limitations/implications

Results support the usefulness of studying social inclusion by adopting a transitional perspective. The main limitations concern the focus on just a few variables that only partially explain the different outcomes.

Practical implications

Findings suggested the need for greater flexibility among school, vocational training, and the world of work in order to promote effective social and professional inclusion through the VET system.


The paper's results indicate that developing social inclusion of early school leavers inevitably demands a transformation in the widespread beliefs about the dichotomy between learning and work.



Sappa, V. and Bonica, L. (2011), "School‐to‐work transitional outcomes of a group of Italian school dropouts: Challenges for promoting social inclusion", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 7, pp. 625-637.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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