Participation in Further Education over the Life Course: A Longitudinal Study of Three Birth Cohorts in the Federal Republic of Germany

Schömann, Klaus; Becker, Rolf
September 1995
European Sociological Review;Sep1995, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p187
Academic Journal
In this paper we address the issue of who is most likely to participate in further training, for what reasons and at what stage of the life course. Special emphasis is given to the impact of labour-market policies to encourage further education and a person's individual or cohort possibilities to participate in further education. We apply a Cox proportional hazard model to data from the West German Life History Study, separately for women and men, within and outside the firm. Younger cohorts show not only higher proportions of participation in further education and training at early stages of the life course, they also continue to participate in higher numbers during later stages of the life course. General labour-force participation reduces and tenure with the same firm increases the propensity to participate in further education and training. Contrary to expectations, in Germany labour-market segmentation has been enhanced rather than reduced by further education and training policies, since in the firm-specific labour-market segment, i.e. skilled jobs in large firms, and in the public sector both women and men had a higher probability of participation. Particularly favourable conditions for participate in further education outside the firm prevailed during the first years of the labour promotion act (Arbeftsförderungsgesetz) between 1969 and 1974, but women did not benefit to the same extent as men. Training policies are, therefore, in need of continuous assessment based on a goal-achievement evaluation to avoid any unintended effects of such policies.


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