This project examined the midterm effects of additional career assistance and alternative transition paths after German lower track secondary school.
We used a control group approach for the impact evaluation of the additional information and counseling services provided to lower track secondary school students in Freiburg, Southwest Germany, on the transition in vocational training and labor market entry. The results imply that additional career assistance does not positively affect employment, wages, and unemployment in the first six years after leaving school.
In the second part of the project the effects of different transition paths after lower track secondary school on the type of vocational training were examined. A delayed transition into vocational training does not have a negative effect on starting wages during vocational training, socioeconomic status, average wages, and prestige of the training occupation compared to the direct transition. On the contrary, continuation of general school or attending vocational school are beneficial. The type of vocational training does not differ after participation in pre-vocational training compared to the direct transition into vocational training. However, apprentices, who directly transitioned into vocational training, are more satisfied with their vocational training than those after a delay.
Pre-vocational training and vocational school seem to be perceived particularly well in Baden-Württemberg and comparable states, where a large share of adolescents take those transition paths. Thus, adolescents in those states can enter superior vocational training positions after pre-vocational training or vocational school. However, we find as well that a delayed start in vocational training implies a generally delayed labor market entry and hence lower cumulative wages within the first six years.

Selected Publications

Discussion and Working Papers

Hillerich-Sigg, Annette (2020), Transitions from Lower Track Secondary Schools into Vocational Training: Does a Detour Pay Off?, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 20-049, Mannheim. Download


Baden-Württemberg Stiftung gGmbH , Stuttgart , DE

Project duration

01.09.2016 - 31.08.2019


Annette Hillerich-Sigg

Project members

Prof. Bernd Fitzenberger, PhD
Annette Hillerich-Sigg
PD Dr. Friedhelm Pfeiffer