The tracking of graduates from vocational education and training has recently become a policy priority in European Union. New skills agenda for Europe (2016) emphasized the need for EU member states to have a better understanding of performance of graduates. Similarly, the Council Recommendation on tracking graduates (2017) underlined the necessity to improve the availability of qualitative and quantitative information about graduates from vocational education and training in Europe. The recommendation proposes a new initiative on graduate tracking to improve information on how graduates progress in the labor market.
According to a recent study of European Commission (2017), only a few EU member states have established graduate tracking systems at national or original level, and only few measures for tracking graduates at the level of VET institute were identified, often ad hoc and non-systematic measures .
The project On Track proposed a systematic methodology for introducing VET graduates tracking system at the level of VET institute. The main features of the tracking VET graduates methodology, developed in On Track project are :
- Tracking is based on an online survey addressed to the whole population of graduates. The methodology consist of a short questionnaire, measuring basic indicators, plus a complementary set of questions, measuring additional information. The respondents can reply to the survey questionnaire anonymously, but they can also fill the contact details and participate in second round of qualitative research through interviews or focus groups.
- There are two different time points for running the survey, one within one year of graduation and the second after two years of graduation. With the first survey we can record the short term impact of VET studies on employment and further progression to studies as well as immediate feedback of the graduate for the quality of the studies. With the second survey we can record the impact of the studies in the medium term and the progression of the graduate in career or further studies as well as the consolidated perception of the quality of the studies.
- There are three different questionnaires for different levels of vocational education and training. One questionnaire for VET level 2-3, one questionnaire for levels 4-5 and one for levels 6-7, corresponding to higher education studies
- On track project has developed standardized tools covering the three different levels of vocational education training seven different languages using two different online surveys software, Google form and limesurvey .
Check out the project website http://www.ontrack-project.eu/en/ for more information.