Following the tenets of experiential learning theory (ELT) and social cognitive theory (SCT), this study aims to investigate the influence of higher technology education students' placement experiences (work-related learning by teaching practice [WLTP] and by industry attachment [WLIA]) on learning self-efficacy (LSE) and perceived employability skills (PES) (namely, perceived future network [PFN], perceived expected experiences [PEE]), perceived future personal characteristics (PFPC), perceived future labour market knowledge (PFLMK) and perceived future skills (PFS).
Using two-wave surveys (T1 & T2), data were collected from technical education students (N = 257) in Nigerian universities. At T1, LSE and PES were measured, while WLTP, WLIA, LSE and PES were measured at T2. The repeated measure t-test, and structural equation modelling were applied for statistical analyses.
The authors found a significant increase in the students' LSE and PES from T1 to T2. Direct associations between WLTP, WLIA, LSE and PES were partly supported. Similarly, WLTP and WLIA have indirect relationships with PES via LSE. However, the result of the indirect effect is partly supported for WLTP and PES relations; but fully supported for WLIA and PES relations.
Although this study is not an experimental design to absolutely justify causality, it has provided valuable empirical evidence that added to the extant literature on higher education students' work-related learning, learning ability and employability skills.
To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to explore the simultaneous influence of two aspects of students' work placement (WLTP and WLAI) on LSE and employability as well as the changes that occur after the placement.
Chukwuedo, S.O., Nnajiofor, F.N., Auta, M.A. and Odogwu, I.C. (2023), "Training prospective technical education graduates for school-to-work transition: insights from university–industry links", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-06-2022-0125
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