Case studies Steve, the practitioner
Steve, the practitioner
Steve, the practitioner

Steve, the practitioner (6)

Motto: I am always optimistic.

Demographic and biographical Characteristics

Steve (17, male) comes from a working class family. He is single, living with his parents and his older brother. Internet and friends are dominant factors in his leasure time.


Educational and transitional pathways:

Steve´s schooldays have been marked by several school changes and he associates this time strongly with experiences of failures. He finished school after the 8th grade without a school leaving certificate. He tried to catch up with the “qualifizierter Hauptschulabschluss” (certificate from lowest school form) in a vocational preparatory year, which was followed by another vocational preparation activity where he finally managed to do his certificate. Practical periods in a certain field of work are conceptional part of this measure in order to help participants to find out about job preferences. Steve was recommended the practice field landscape gardener. He however experienced that this did not suit him and therefore changed to the field “kitchen” for the last weeks, which matched his interests.  

His vocational orientation process was strongly influenced by the help of “educational consultancy experts” who provided guidance and linked to support measures.

The organization who provided the vocational preparatory year offered him a state aided external vocational training to be a cook which he is going to start in 8 week´s time. Steve is very much looking forward to this. Meanwhile, he is looking for an interim job to earn a little money until his vocational training starts. For the distant future (after finishing the vocational training), Steve fancies to go abroad.

Motivations and Strategies:

Steve´s job choice is coherent with his hobby. „Being a cook has been my dream job for ages”. Moreover, his mother is a trained cook and possibly has been a role model with regards to his vocational considerations. 

Another job field Steve has considered to enter is the Armed Forces since they offer job security and good income. Money also plays a role regarding Steve´s future plans: after finishing his vocational training, he intends to go abroad (Austria or Switzerland) where cooks get better wages.

Ad hoc learning scenarios

Struggling with school

Steve found it hard to learn in school and blames his being lazy and easily distracted for his school failures. If he had the chance again, he would to do things differently and complete at least the “Realschule”. The additional qualification schemes he performed in order to catch up with his “Hauptschulabschluss” are perceived by him as indirections.

Trying out different fields

Steve characterizes himself as a “practical type”, who needs to have something in his hands.

Steve gained first vocational experiences doing mini jobs. Later on, during his vocational orientation period which started in the age of 14-15, he made strong use of traineeships in different fields (in a restaurant, a shop, greenery office), in order to try out which fields suit his interests and abilities and which do not. Apart from the obligatory traineeships he volunteered to do an extra one. He discovered that cooking is his favourite field while others (e.g. landscape gardener) did not meet his interests. Regarding his “first choice” of becoming a cook, he is aware of the demanding and stressful aspects of this job such as standing upright during the whole day, extended working times, working on bank holidays and Sundays. He likes to work in smaller kitchens rather than in canteen kitchens as it is less hectical.

Support Services used

The last school Steve attended was specified on pupils with extended support needs. The school ran a vocational orientation project in cooperation with an external training company. Within 4 days, pupils were introduced to different vocational options. Moreover, pupils were given support in form of “educational constultance experts” that were employers of external training companies. Steve values their help as they were highly engaged in identifying further learning opportunities. They supported young people in their vocational efforts and linked to vocational preparatory courses/trainings (e.g. to the options their own companies provide).

In order to gain insight into job opportunities, Steve visited the Vocational Orientation Centre of the Employment Agency. Although it has not proved to be helpful for him as he already knew what he wanted, he recommends this page to others who need orientation. Steve also made use of a competency assessment online tool on the website of the Employment Agency. In his opinion, the test was “rubbish”: it was too time-consuming, the questions asked in this tool were too simple and too concentrated on school topics and less on vocationally relevant topics. The results did not match his interests.

The internet is an important source of information for Steve (websites visited: the website of the Employment Agency, google for looking at the internet, official websites of the city, technical sites e.g. of restaurants).

Important parts of his personal support system are

-       the social workers in the Youth club he visits since 10 years. They helped him with vocational questions e.g. looked for jobs together with him.

-       His parents (playing an activating role)

-       His trainer (for professional questions)

Within his peer group, the topic is rather dealt with at random. Most of his friends are still in school and, thus, it is less relevant to them.

Learning type

Steve is a practical-oriented learner and was proactive in finding training options to explore his interests. Regarding his intended profession, he prefers self-directed, explorative learning (e.g. cooking from receipts and adapting them).

However, in order to find a training place, Steve relied on social learning and the consultancy of more experienced adults.

Information and Communication Technologies

Steve is fit in the use of the internet and is often online, for private (social peer networks, games, forums) as well as professional purpuses (researching job options, finding answers to cooking-related questions, finding information for his homework).

With regards to G8WAY, Steve recommends on the one hand to make more advertisement for websites that provide vocational information and support, e.g. on network websites such as facebook but also in public spaces. On the other hand, he doubts that young people make active use of those pages as many of them are convinced they do not need help. In his opinion, too adapted information just leads to lazyness and pupils should rather go to the companies themselves to find out about concrete tasks and requirements in a working field. Another proposal is to provide short texts and movies on jobs. It was new to him that the job descriptions at the Employment Agency Website are partly linked with movies and he proposes to make them easier accessible.

Steve also promotes comprehensive and individual carreer guidance.