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Understanding the return to vocational training

What motivates workers to return to school to complete vocational training? To understand this phenomenon, Jonas Masdonati, a researcher in Université Laval’s Department of Educational Fundamentals and Practices, conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 vocational training students between the ages of 25 and 40 who had spent at least two years in the workforce.

The researcher divided their reasons into two categories: reactive and proactive. Reactive motivations arise mainly from dissatisfaction with the current situation. This dissatisfaction may result from physical or psychological health problems, a lack of interest in the job or a lack of job satisfaction.

Returning to vocational training is not the same for all adults.

Proactive motivations result from an interest in pursuing a more rewarding career path. In this case, students were seeking better working conditions, personal growth, new learning, or an occupation more in line with their values and interests.

Returning to vocational training is not the same for all adults. Some question their career choice and keep one foot in their former profession or are disappointed with their new training. Conversely, others see this change as a rebirth, both personal and professional. Finally, there is a third group halfway between these two extremes: for these adults, vocational training is more of an opportunity to add another string to their bow or to gain recognition for a skill they were already practicing in their work.

These findings will help counsellors to better understand the motivations and needs of adults undergoing vocational retraining, enabling them to provide more effective support and guidance.