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This report documents a study of a flexible dual model in vocational training, in particular as it is tested in an experiment initiated by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. The report is specifically addressing the organization and quality assurance of the experiment as regards the county municipality level, as well as school and workplace level. In addition the report expands and highlights the possible contribution of the model to the recruitment in the health and social care professions. BACKGROUND Dropping out of upper secondary school has been a common reoccurring theme in Norwegian school debate. The ministry of Education and the social partners signed a "Social Contract" in spring 2012. The objective was a significant increase of the number of apprenticeships in the period 2011-2015. In 2013 the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training prepared a trial of a flexible dual model in the Programme for Health and Social Care. Important guidelines for the experiment were included in a report from a working group appointed by the Ministry of Education. For the period 2013-2017 a total of six county municipalities, with a wide geographical distribution, was included in the experiment, and currently comprises students from one school in each county municipality. The main model for initial vocational training in Norway comprises a 2-year education at upper secondary school and a 2-year apprenticeship programme at a workplace. In the flexible dual model the pupils sign a contract earlier in the course of training. The purpose is to alternate between training in schools and training at a workplace during the remaining course. They are students whilst at school and apprentices when at the workplace. Some school subjects and exams are postponed until the two latter years of the course of training OBJECTIVE This report is intended to describe and analyse various aspects of the organization and quality assurance of the flexible dual model at the initial stages of the experiment in the county municipalities taking part in the experiment. Is the flexible dual model an effective action to prevent drop outs, and can the model contribute to a necessary recruitment of students to the Programme for Health and Social Care? FRAMEWORK FOR THEORETICAL REFERENCE Based on relevant literature, the report examines the history of vocational training. The research questions in the report's survey are based on public policy papers and research reports, as well as educational theorists within a socio-cultural tradition. METHOD The report has a survey based on a synthesis of qualitative and quantitative methods; literature by methodology theorists has been presupposed. In addition, a method of document analysis is used to extract relevant findings from other chosen information. Our own pre-understanding of the problem area is also added to the method. FINDINGS The experiment with flexible dual models has some major variations from one county municipality to another. Local sovereignty is an asset, but offers many challenges. Some of which should possibly be solved centrally. The workplaces where the students are apprentices must to a greater extent be included in the initial planning. It is particularly important that the persons who will be responsible for the daily monitoring of the students in the experiment are involved in the planning. It seems as though there are generally allocated too little time for cooperation between schools and the workplace. This will affect the quality of the documentation and assessment scheme used in vocational training. The flexible dual model may seem unprepared for the fact that students in the experiment might choose to transfer to the regular 2 + 2 model, for example, to join a supplementary programme for general university and college admissions certification. In this context, an expansion of the entitlement to make a different choice of study programme, could be considered. The flexible dual model as it stands today is no more suited to strengthen the recruitment of students to the Programme for Health and Social Care than the regular model. It is difficult to see that the model alone can contribute to this. An increased possibility to obtain permanent employment and a full post is the key here. SUMMARY The empirical data in this report are based on a survey of a limited number of participants. The flexible dual model can be developed into an effective action to prevent drop outs, but needs adjustments, and in some areas stronger, central guidelines. An increased recruitment of students to the Programme for Health and Social Care can not be done through an educational model alone, but requires political will to invest in sufficient economical funding.
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