Embedding employability skills in vocational education and training: What works best for students’ self-evaluation and aspirations?
This paper investigates how explicit integration of employability skills into vocational education and training (VET) affects students’ perceived skills. Perceived or self-evaluated skills are often inaccurate perceptions of the real skills’ possession, but nonetheless they play a profound role in graduates’ career decisions. Confidence that resulted from positive self-evaluations supports the efforts and aspirations during school-to-work transitions. Thus, they are considered to be an important educational outcome supporting employability. The purpose of the study is to enrich understanding of relationship between students’ self-evaluations of employability skills and different teaching practices.
The analysis employs self-evaluations and entrepreneurial intentions of the Russian VET students collected with Monitoring of education markets and organizations in 2020 (n = 9 178). It focuses on social, self-learning and entrepreneurial skills, which are part of the VET national curriculum. The findings show that explicit embedding and integration of employability skills in the curriculum is significantly related to more positive self-evaluations of social and self-learning skills. Moreover, students, who were explicitly taught entrepreneurial skills, are more likely to plan to establish their own enterprise after graduation. Despite being effective, the explicit integration approach is revealed to be not dominant. Further research on the reasons behind this is needed for development of properly informed policy.