B. Burgaz, B. Turhan

University of Hacettepe (TURKEY)
Purpose of the study: The primary purpose of this research is to identify the views of unemployed vocational/technical school graduates, employed vocational/technical school graduates (employees), vocational/technical school principals, vocational/technical school teachers and employers who employed vocational/technical school graduates for manufacturing sector.

Methods: This study is designed as a qualitative one. Participants were selected through maximum variety sampling from purposive sampling methods. The participants in the study were 26 vocational/technical school new graduates who have not yet been employed, 24 current employees who graduated from vocational/technical schools, 20 vocational/technical school principals, 26 vocational/technical school teachers and 20 employers who employ vocational/technical school graduates in their workplaces. In the study, data was collected through an open-ended written questionnaire administered to all groups, and the participants were asked to answer two open-ended questions in writing. The data gathered was evaluated using descriptive analysis and was presented both in written form and in tables as frequencies.

Findings: Based on the views of the participants, this research maintains that vocational/technical school graduates should possess some of the skills and personal attributes in the twenty-two competences clusters in order to be employed or to sustain and develop their position in existing jobs; yet the number of competence groups on which all participants agreed was only eight. The highest number of competence expressions belongs to the themes of “communication” and “interpersonal relationships”. The lowest number of competence expressions, however, belongs to the themes of “numeracy”, “personal presentation”, “being energetic” and “being patient”. The views of principals and teachers, employees and employers are similar in terms of production of the same competence themes. “Communication”, “interpersonal relationships”, “honesty and reliability”, and “foreign language” have been identified as the most important employability competences.

Conclusions and Recommendations: The participants state that besides vocational competences, vocational/technical school graduates should acquire certain employability competences to gain employment and to keep on in their jobs. Nevertheless the variety of competences (themes) expressed by the groups remained limited. Some of the competences dealt with in the relevant literature were not mentioned. Relevant groups need to raise their awareness of employability competences so as to develop a common “employability competences framework”.