How can more young people be encouraged to complete a vocational training programme?

Education can have a strongly beneficial effect on both the individual concerned and society in general. Nevertheless, one young person in five has not completed a course of education by the time he/she reaches the age of 25. The drop-out rate at vocational colleges is particularly high, and almost half the people who start a vocational training programme fail to finish it. Even though many initiatives have been launched, only limited knowledge is available regarding what can be done to encourage more young people to complete a vocational training programme. It is our ambition that the initiative will prove a game changer in this regard, via a partnership with the vocational colleges, NEXT, CELF, ZBC and the National Center for Vocational Teaching (Nationalt Center for Erhvervspædagogik – NCE).



The purpose of the OS I BRANCHEN (US IN THE SECTOR) initiative is to examine – and uncover knowledge about – how more young people can be encouraged to complete a vocational training course. Through the programme, the students have the opportunity to build up a professional network and to experience professional successes from their first day at college.

Provide young people with experience and networks


We do not expect young people to have their minds made up when they commence a vocational training programme – rather, we want the initiative to give them authentic experiences together with their professional peers, and to help them build networks so they can feel, see and believe that they have a future in the sector. We will then conduct an evaluation to establish whether the programme makes it possible for more young people to complete their vocational training.

The initiative is built on two principles

We link students, companies and the vocational colleges more closely together. The objective here is for students on basic course 2 (GF2) to experience that they are already a member of the sector as from their first day of college. This entails a larger part of the teaching being conducted in partnership with companies, in strong professional communities with the other students – including students on the principal course. The initiative is built on two principles, and we have designed a range of activities that are to underpin these two principles in the everyday teaching at the vocational college.


Principle 1: The first day at college is the first day in the sector


When students experience the opportunities that a vocational training course generates in practice, they not only have the chance to try out their chosen profession, but they also start building up a network.


Principle 2: We succeed as a team


When we “old sweats” invite new students into professional communities and create a visible future.

Education paths and drop-out patterns

What paths do vocational college students follow? How many complete GF2, and how many continue on to the principal course? And how about the ones that drop out? These are questions that Senior Lecturer Fane Groes and Senior Consultant Edith Madsen from Copenhagen Business School have analysed using data for selected vocational training programmes. The new knowledge acquired can contribute to a better understanding of the drop-out rate at vocational colleges. In this way, we use quantitative data to establish an overview of the scope and patterns of the problems. When we then link these insights to qualitative knowledge, we are in a position to obtain a more finely differentiated understanding of the challenge we are working with, and can identify new opportunities.

Impact assessment

The impact of the initiative will be assessed via a randomised trial, where we have drawn lots to determine the order in which the training programmes will be allowed to become a part of the initiative.


Even before receiving the first data from the randomised trial, we have published an analysis plan for the impact assessment of the initiative. The purpose of this analysis plan is to ensure transparency and credibility with regard to the assessment of the initiative. The analysis plan contains a detailed description of how we will assess the initiative once we have received the final data from the randomised trial.


For example, it presents the timetable for the randomised trial and the project, describes where the data come from, how, precisely, we will measure the completion of GF2, and which analyses we have planned to conduct. In this way, we can ensure that all results – positive and negative alike – will be presented on the basis of a strict method. We can thus ensure that the assessment complies with the most stringent scientific standards.

Would you like to know more?

If you want to know more about the initiative, please contact



What’s next?


The project is still under way, and we report learnings on an ongoing basis. See what has already been published from the project in the list below.