Participation of Vocational Trainees in a Supervised Work Experience and the Acquisition of Employability Skills
Syed Sofian, Sharifah Kamaliah (2008) Participation of Vocational Trainees in a Supervised Work Experience and the Acquisition of Employability Skills. PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The purpose of the study was to compare vocational trainees participating and not participating in a supervised work experience on the acquisition of employability skills. The population of the study was vocational trainees who had completed vocational programmes in various fields. They were compared on the basis of whether they had participated in a supervised work experience on the acquisition of employability skills. An equal-sized groups stratified sampling was administered as it was considered useful if one wants to compare the performance of different subgroups, besides, Cohen (1988) prescribed the desirability of equal-sized samples as it can be demonstrated that equal division yields greater power than unequal division does. The process of power analysis determined the sample size. The number of sample was 138. Items comprising the translated version of SCANS foundation skills and work competencies measured acquisition of employability. The consent to use the translated version in the Malay language was officially given by the Planning and Research Unit of the Technical Department, Ministry of Education of Malaysia. The researcher developed items comprising the background characteristics of respondents based on appropriate literature. The dimensions of self-concept and achievement motivation were adopted from a study by Ab. Rahim (2001). The result showed that participating students achieved a moderately higher level of employability skills compared to students not participating in the supervised work experience. A significant difference in the acquisition of employability skills between participants and non-participants of the supervised work experience was observed at (t = 2.3, p < .05), although the magnitude of the differences in the means was moderately small (eta squared = .04). This result could be regarded as material with the said magnitude as it has the potential of changing the way others think about the phenomenon of having a supervised work experience as a feasible mode in nurturing such skills. Study indicated there were also other factors attributing to the acquisition of employability skills, and these include gender, age, previous work experience, self concept and achievement motivation. However, achievement motivation was found to be significantly related to the acquisition of employability skills. This psychological variable is also a well-known contributor in the development of entrepreneurial skills leading towards the development of successful entrepreneur. In addition, type of school to work transition was found to be significantly related to previous work experience and gender. Therefore, participation of vocational trainees in a supervised work experience influences the acquisition of employability skills, an important psychosocial construct. Evidently, employability skills also identified as career success skills could facilitate youth in negotiating from school to work transition as employers seek potential employees nurtured with such skills.
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