Motivating styles in dual, initial vocational education and training
In Switzerland, individuals who follow the typical dual form of an initial vocational education and training (VET) programme to learn a trade do so at two main learning sites: a training company and a vocational school. In this context, apprentices’ motivations differ noticeably between the school and the training company. Based on the self-determination theory constructs of motivating styles, basic psychological needs, and autonomous versus controlled motivations, this study aims to understand how apprentices perceive their teachers’ and trainers’ motivating styles, control and autonomy support at the two learning sites. Three hundred and twenty apprentices provided written answers to open-ended questions. We coded the data using thematic analysis. While the exercise of control appeared to be rather similar at the two learning sites, autonomy support varied greatly. At the vocational school, autonomy support was expressed through teachers’ listening skills and availability; at the training company, it was related to independence and equal recognition of apprentices and employees. The apprentices perceived teachers as having a more controlled motivating style and in-company trainers as having a more autonomy-supportive style. At the school, control was described primarily as organisational pressure and teachers’ demands, whereas, at the training company, it was reflected in a lack of recognition and thankless tasks. We discuss the relationship between motivating styles and the satisfaction of basic psychological needs in the context of dual VET.