Vocations and Learning vol:4 issue:3 pages:211-229
In our continuously changing society, a need for updating one’s skills and knowledge puts pressure on safeguarding the labour market position of low-qualified employees. However, prior research and official statistics show that employees with a lower level of education tend to participate less in training than highly-educated individuals. This limited participation is associated with employers offering fewer opportunities to low-qualified employees, but also with the fact that low-qualified employees themselves might be less willing to participate. In other words, their learning intentions are assumed to be weaker and more restricted than the learning intentions of highly-educated employees. The article reports on a quantitative survey research on the learning intentions of 406 low-qualified employees. The results showed that employees that participated in formal job-related learning activities during the last five years had a stronger learning intention than those who did not. Next, the results of the stepwise regression showed that self-directedness, financial benefits, self-efficacy, and autonomy were significant positive predictors of the learning intentions of low-qualified employees. Also, the limited number of possibilities or opportunities to learn was not significant. The results indicated that a learning intention can lead towards the participation in learning activities, but participation is not merely initiated by offering opportunities for learning. Organisational aspects such as job autonomy and financial benefits can stimulate the learning intention of an employee. Finally, regarding the socio-demographic variables, only limited differences were found. In short, employees with no educational qualifications and a full-time contract had the lowest intention to learn.