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Ethnic and gender-specific disparities at the transition from school to work

Research Scientist

Susanne Bergann

Student Assistant

Paula Altland


Jacobs Foundation

Funding Period

March 2008 -

Project Description

Previous research has shown that transitions present important crossroads in the educational careers of children and adolescents (Ditton & Krüsken, 2006). The findings indicate that ethnic disparities exist at all major transitions, resulting in lower levels of educational success and occupational opportunities for immigrant students as compared to non-immigrant youth (Bos u.a., 2004; Stanat, 2008). Ethnic disparities are especially pronounced at the transition from school to work (Berufsbildungsbericht, 2008). Immigrant girls in particular, and especially girls with a Turkish background, seem to have difficulties getting access to apprenticeship training positions (Granato, 2006; Konsortium Bildungsberichterstattung, 2006; Westphal, 2004). To date, little is known about the causes of these disparities at the school-to-work-transition in Germany. Previous studies, which have mainly analyzed the transition from primary to secondary school, suggest that several factors may play a role. In addition to ethnic differences in educational achievement, immigrant-specific cost-benefit estimations related to the transition might help to account for the observed patterns (Reißig & Gaupp, 2007; Stanat, 2008; Stubbe & Bos, 2008). Furthermore, the perceived importance and value of education and gainful employment as well as gender role orientations and discrimination processes may be important factors (Berufsbildungsbericht, 2008; Ulrich, 2005). The longitudinal study “Ethnic and gender-specific disparities at the transition from school to work” aims at identifying determinants of the observed ethnic and gender-related disparities at the school-to-work transition. The study encompasses three measurement points. The first two measurements take place at the beginning and at the end of second half of the academic year 2008/2009. In addition participants of the study will be contacted again six months after they have completed secondary school. The results of the study will provide some indications on how young people could be better supported at this important crossroad in their educational careers.