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Evaluation of the “EBAplus” Project

Background and aims

Adolescents with personal or academic deficits and a less than supportive environment often experience difficulties finding an apprenticeship position and completing their vocational training successfully. Various provisions and projects have been developed on a regional and national level to tackle this problem. “EBAplus” has been developed within this context.

“EBAplus” helps adolescents search for a vocational training business during their vocational education and accompanies these adolescents in their first year of training by offering coaching and support courses. This project was developed as the result of a commission by the canton of Zurich's Office for Economy and Labour in collaboration with Impulsis and the 'Schule für Förderkurse', Zurich.

The University of Special Needs Education Zurich has been commissioned to evaluate the “EBAplus” project. The commission includes determining  (a) whether enough adolescents exhibiting the necessary conditions in the area of social and key competencies can be identified, and whether they can be integrated into their first apprenticeship using EBA, (b) whether enough vocational training businesses for this provision can be found and motivated to participate in the pilot project, and (c) whether the additional coaching and support course provision is a good premise for a positive period of apprenticeship and can lead to its successful completion.

The results shall be used as a basis to decide on the continuance of the “EBAplus” pilot project.


Data is collected using a variety of methods. Various groups of people, e.g. the adolescents, the coaches, the teaching staff and the selection committee from the vocational training businesses, are questioned using guided interviews. This allows the various perspectives of the people and businesses/institutions concerned with “EBAplus” to be included in the evaluation. A case-file analysis will is also employed to chronicle the adolescent group and describe them according to their socio-demographic characteristics.


On the whole, all of those groups involved with EBAplus are satisfied with EBAplus. Particularly pleased are the vocational trainer and adolescent groups – effectively the two EBAplus clients.

Application for EBAplus was made through reference persons such as those found in (obligatory) schools and vocational training centres and through vocational trainers, rather than directly by the adolescents themselves. It came to the attention of several of those questioned that the institutions concerned and other institutions are relatively unfamiliar with EBAplus.

The data ascertained in this evaluation cannot be used to answer conclusively whether the number of completed apprenticeships increased with EBAplus. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that EBAplus helps adolescents enter the world of training, when taking into account the difficult conditions frequently faced by EBAplus users. The young adults are generally only accompanied by EBAplus during their first year of training. Several of those questioned expressed a possible need for help in the second year when new challenges arise, such as the final examination and the search for employment.

The EBAplus provision is based on two key pillars: apprenticeship matching followed by training support at the Schule für Förderkurse (SFK) and EBAplus coaching. As an educational project and a pilot project generating apprenticeship positions and supporting trainees in these apprenticeship positions, the Office for Economy and Labour has given the go-ahead to further develop the EBAplus provision. The involvement of the cantonal education offices (including the MBA) is not yet clear. Critical arguments have been raised with regard to whether school support can also be carried out by VET schools, and concerns such topics as the loss of neutrality of school support and whether the individual specialist support resources at the VET schools are not more restricted than those at the SFK, which offers weekly small-group support.

Many of those questioned feel a need for the improved coordination of provisions available at VET schools: In this respect, work with the youths can also be better coordinated, particularly with regard to the support provisions available at VET schools and the SFK. This improvement will lead to the various resources being used to optimum effect.

EBAplus enters unchartered territory with its project and the involvement of vocational trainers in coaching. This form of support encourages vocational trainers to take on trainees that would normally be less likely to secure a traineeship position, such as those with poor school grades, language deficits or behavioural problems.



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