Many young people at risk of early leaving, and those who have left, do not have a clear picture of their futures. They do not reflect on their aspirations and choice of education and training pathway.

This issue is particularly relevant in vocational education and training (VET). In many countries VET is seen as a second option for those who did not succeed in general education. Thinking of VET as a failure rather than an opportunity reduces learners’ motivation and interest in education and training.  

The choice of programme is often not deliberate. Some learners choose a VET programme by default because they could not find a programme that interests them, or because they cannot access their preferred programme due to a lack of placements or not fulfilling the access requirements.

Measures to tackle early leaving need to promote reflection on one’s aspirations and future pathway. VET providers need to help the young person to build up a positive image of the training programme and associated profession.