Issue 1/2021, 13. Volume Page 105–127
Young refugees in prevocational preparation classes: Who is moving on to the next step?
Since 2015, an enormous number of refugees have migrated to Germany. To obtain qualified jobs, many of them attend prevocational preparation classes. The aims of these classes are mainly the acquisition of German language skills and preparation for subsequent vocational education and training. This paper examines (1) the transitions of young refugees after prevocational preparation classes and (2) what factors predict the transition to the next educational step. Using data from the first two measurement points of a longitudinal survey (t1 during the prevocational preparation class and t2 one year later), we surveyed 333 students in Southwest Germany (82% male; mean age = 18.9 years). Instruments included an online questionnaire, an online test of cognitive ability, and an online test of German language skills. Approximately 37 percent of the students repeated the prevocational preparation class, whereas 60 percent moved on to the next educational step. German language skills at t1 and contact with people helping refugees (t1) predicted the probability of the transition to a “regular” educational pathway. Other variables, such as the educational background of the young refugees and of their parents, personality, motivation, and aspirations, had no significant effects. The findings can be interpreted in terms of the primary (language skills) and secondary effects of refugees’ ethnic background (information about the education system through contact with locals).
Refugees; Vocational education and training; Transition system; Integration; German language skills