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Presentation of the project research findings at the 5th International VET conference “Crossing Boundaries”, 25 – 26 May 2023, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania. Title of the presentation:  Vocational Aspects of Empowering At-risk VET Students in the Baltic Countries and Norway for Employment and Lifelong Learning 

Vidmantas Tūtlys, Liona Kaminskienė, Meril Ümarik, Biruta Sloka and Ilze Buligina presented the findings of the qualitative study in the second work package on the comparison of the factors which supporting and hindering empowerment of vulnerable VET students in the Baltic countries and Norway.  

This study investigates the ways in which vocational education and training (VET) can enhance social inclusion of young people at-risk, both in terms of combating school dropout and promoting transitions between various (social) learning contexts, such as school-work transition in the Baltic countries and Norway. The study draws on a socio-ecological approach (Evans, Waite & Kersh, 2011), emphasizing that individuals are learning, developing, and acting in a complex system of various social environments and structures, actors, and interrelationships (Jacobsen & Wilensky, 2006; Evans et al., 2011). A mixed-method study by applying a complementary qualitative and a quantitative methodology had been applied. A qualitative, narrative interview study approach is applied to study at-risk youth in VET schools. The study has been targeted to young people, aged 16-24 years, in VET, identified (by their teachers/school leaders) as student at risk in the VET establishments of the Baltic countries and Norway. Research confirmed that at-risk VET students in the most cases notice and value the empowerment provided by the vocational education and work experience. These empowering effects include socialization and finding one’s place in society and labor market, acquired trust in themselves, received support from the VET teaching staff and acquired positive and meaningful learning experiences. 

The conference paper can be found here: https://zenodo.org/record/7822779

Presentation slides: Download EmpowerVET presentation CB2023