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The two main aims of the CATEWE project were to develop a more comprehensive conceptual framework of school to work transitions in different national contexts, and apply this framework to the empirical analysis of transition processes across European countries. The project drew on two complementary data sources for these analyses: the European Community Labour Force Survey, and integrated databases based on national school leavers' surveys in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Sweden.
Transition processes and outcomes were found to vary significantly across European countries. Three broad types of national system were identified: countries with extensive vocational training systems at upper secondary level, linked to occupational labour markets (such as Germany and the Netherlands); countries with more general educational systems with weaker institutionalised linkages to the labour market (such as Ireland); and Southern European countries with less vocational specialisation and lower overall attainment than the other groups. Each of these groups had distinctive patterns of labour market integration among young people. In 'vocational' systems, young people tend to make a smoother transition into the labour market while those in Southern European countries find it more difficult to achieve a stable employment position.

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