Using the example of an amalgamated secondary school qualification (International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme – IBCP), in which both vocational education and training (VET) and academic subjects are taught, the paper aims to discuss the use of skills and knowledge gained during the IBCP for post-secondary school activities.
The paper uses mixed method data based on a survey of 57 IBCP graduates and qualitative interviews with 20 IBCP graduates. Findings relate to the role of the IBCP in the careers decision-making process, the skills and competences students gained during their IBCP and its transferability to their current activity.
After their IBCP, more than half of all observed students had entered higher education. Whilst a few students did not engage actively in the career decision-making process, some were pro-active and used different sources to gain information. However, a large group of students used their time during the IBCP to test various occupational ideas and, thus, used their VET to further the careers decision-making process. Most students reported that they could transfer the skills and competencies they had gained during their secondary school to their current activity.
The paper calls for a renunciation of the ambivalent signals an amalgamated secondary school degree can provide. IBCP students signal both an increased productivity because of an increased level of vocational skills and a lower level of academic achievement. These signals, however, allow students to enter a highly diverse higher education system, especially in vocational courses.
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