Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Editorial | Open Access

Challenges in School‐To‐Work Transition in Germany and Austria: Perspectives on Individual, Institutional, and Structural Inequalities

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Abstract:  Transitions between schools, vocational education and training (VET), and work pose important challenges for young people that influence their well‐being and social positioning now and in the future. The young people themselves experience the transition phase as the formation stage of their aspirations and goals. In this process, young people are confronted with the expectations and assessments of relevant others—such as parents, teachers, employers, and career counsellors—and by the requirements that are defined in sociopolitical and institutional contexts. In these contexts, criteria of successful transitions and risky transitions worthy of special support are made relevant. German and Austrian employment-centred transition regimes are characterised by relatively high standardisation and segregation as well as a strong VET system linked to the labour market. This thematic issue brings together contributions that examine challenges in these transitions from different perspectives and related facets of social inequality. The articles address different transitions (mostly school‐to‐VET, but also school‐to‐school or unemployment to work) and their different phases: aspiration formation, changing aspirations, challenges in transitions, and concrete problems in transition processes like disconnectedness or unemployment. The articles on social inequalities are related to class, ethnicity, gender, and (dis)ability. We also place importance on balancing different methods to bring together findings from quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, and participatory research.

Keywords:  employment‐centred transition regime; school‐to‐work transition; social inequality; vocational education and training; youth



© Brigitte Schels, Veronika Wöhrer. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.