Looking into the ‘black box’: an exploration of the dynamics behind the success and failure of job training for unemployed youth

Niyadurupola, Verena (2019) Looking into the ‘black box’: an exploration of the dynamics behind the success and failure of job training for unemployed youth. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In order to tackle the problem of youth unemployment, many governments spend a considerable budget on active labour market policies (ALMPs} for young people. However, the evidence on the effectiveness of those interventions is mixed and paints a rather pessimistic picture. So far, the reasons and mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of ALMPs for youths are hardly understood in the evaluation literature. Despite the importance of analysing the role of non-cognitive skills, attitudes and beliefs for the development of vocational trajectories is increasingly recognised, in particular within the field of labour economics, very few studies assess the role of those psychological factors in the context of ALMP evaluation. This mixed-methods research addresses this gap. Two qualitative studies (n=44 in both cases} and one longitudinal quantitative study (n=434) were carried out - leading to two qualitative and two quantitative empirical chapters. The aim was to understand the determinants of training dropout, job search behaviour and labour market outcomes for unemployed young people in a German urban context, as well as their processes of personal change during training participation, and institutional selections mechanisms affecting ALMP effectiveness for youth.

The findings showed that young people drop out of job training if they do not experience autonomy, relatedness and competence in the training context. Further findings stress the association of individual characteristics such as fear of failure and grit with training participation, job search behaviour and job outcomes. Grit emerged as a potentially important resilience resource to persist through fear and mental health issues. The findings furthermore suggest important gender-related differences, such as a self-sabotaging effect of fear of failure (only} for males. A seven-phase theory of change for vocational activation is proposed, including a range of drivers that can trigger young people's change process from an initial state of inactivity to ultimate job success. Finally, institutional arrangements that act counterproductively to an effective ALMP implementation were identified and discussed in their implications for further research, policy and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2020 15:47
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 15:47
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77781


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