Leveraging Education and VET to Achieve Better Outcomes for Youth


by Jennifer Craw

This month we take a look at youth labor market outcomes in relation to youth participation in vocational education and overall education quality.

How well do youth fare in the labor market around the world?

In the countries highlighted in green, less than 10% of youth are not in employment, education, or training. Now let’s look how these countries with strong youth labor market outcomes do when it comes to involvement in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and overall education performance (as measured by PISA).

Is there a link to VET?

Almost all countries in this selection have high-quality VET programs that enroll at least 1/3 of all upper-secondary students. Notice that the two outliers, Japan and Hong Kong, are among the top performers overall in education performance for students (next chart).

Or overall education quality?

Likewise, almost all countries in this selection have overall student performance at or considerably above the OECD average. And the two outliers, Iceland and Luxembourg, have high rates of upper-secondary VET participation (previous chart).

While economic factors outside of education have an impact on youth labor participation, the impact of high-quality, upper-secondary VET programs and of overall high-performance for all students is apparent. For more on what a high-quality VET system in a high-performing country looks like, see this month’s Global Perspectives.