- 地理科学 (ISSN:02864886)
- vol.64, no.1, pp.1-21, 2009-01-28
The purpose of this study is to investigate the work experiences of the graduates of two vocational high schools in Oita prefecture in the context of the local labor market. J industrial high school is located in Nakatsu City, where the local labor market is buoyant because of the recent establishment of an automobile plant, whereas K commercial high school is situated in Oita City, which is the prefectural capital and boasts a population of 470,000. We interviewed 10 graduates from each vocational high school. Most of them were in their early twenties and had graduated from the high schools when the labor market was quite stagnant. The graduates of J high school whom we interviewed were all male. The typical job of this school's graduates was working as fabrication workers in manufacturing plants. Some of them were compelled to quit the job owing to the monotonous and intense operations or personal problems in the workplace; on the other hand, for others, it was their first job, and they were developing their occupational skills. The main factor that differentiated the two types of work experiences was not personal employability but the status of labor management and human relationships in the workplace. Most of the J high school graduates said that the vocational curriculums in the high schools were not helpful in their jobs in the manufacturing plants. However, they considered the manufacturing jobs to be suitable for the graduates of industrial high schools, such as themselves. They often changed their jobs, but were mainly employed in manufacturing plants. The graduates of K high school whom we interviewed were all female. For all but one interviewee of this school, the current job was their first job. Their typical job entailed working as support staff in the offices of local companies. They planned to quit their jobs when they got married or had children. Although they hoped to follow this course in life, it can be assumed that their jobs and workplaces were not challenging enough, and hence, they did not feel motivated to continue working after marriage or childbirth. Although most of the K high school graduates, similar to the J high school graduates, said that the vocational curriculums were not directly helpful in their workplaces, the business classes helped them develop a positive attitude toward their work in the office. Judging from the accounts of the graduates of the two vocational high schools, the vocational high schools gave the students the ideal environment to develop a positive attitude toward work and an occupational identity, rather than serving as a place where specific knowledge and skills, which were necessary for a specific occupation, could be acquired. Hence, we can conclude that in the context of the local labor markets, the role of the vocational high schools is to prepare graduates who could be immediately absorbed in a specific sector of the local labor markets.