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Effects of vocational training on unemployed youths' work motivation and work engagement: Mediating roles of training adequacy and self-actualization


  • Ngai, Steven Sek-yum
  • Cheung, Chau-kiu
  • Yuan, Rui


This study investigated work motivation and work engagement, along with their associated factors, among unemployed young people participating in vocational training schemes in Tianjin, China. Derived from a sample of 209 young trainees (mean age=22.67, SD=1.93), the results supported the hypotheses that training adequacy and self-actualization showed positive effects on work motivation and work engagement. Furthermore, training variables (the number of training courses attended and duration of workplace training) did not present any significant direct effect on either work motivation or work engagement; however, they predicted the two outcome variables indirectly through the mediating effects of training adequacy and self-actualization. The study implied that power, skills, and other resources gained during the training provided fuel for motivation and performance. The study also advanced the human capital development approach by unraveling the mechanism through which hard skills and soft skills contribute to youth empowerment and employment. The implications of these present findings for theory, practice, and policy were also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Ngai, Steven Sek-yum & Cheung, Chau-kiu & Yuan, Rui, 2016. "Effects of vocational training on unemployed youths' work motivation and work engagement: Mediating roles of training adequacy and self-actualization," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 93-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:63:y:2016:i:c:p:93-100
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.02.020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric A. Hanushek & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann & Lei Zhang, 2017. "General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(1), pages 48-87.
    2. Pablo Ibarraran & Laura Ripani & Bibiana Taboada & Juan Villa & Brigida Garcia, 2014. "Life skills, employability and training for disadvantaged youth: Evidence from a randomized evaluation design," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-24, December.
    3. Wilmar Schaufeli & Marisa Salanova & Vicente González-romá & Arnold Bakker, 2002. "The Measurement of Engagement and Burnout: A Two Sample Confirmatory Factor Analytic Approach," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 71-92, March.
    4. Hugh Mosley & Kai-Uwe Müller, 2007. "Benchmarking Employment Services in Germany," Chapters,in: The Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policies, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Robert Lerman, 2013. "Are employability skills learned in U.S. youth education and training programs?," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-20, December.
    6. Bell, David N.F. & Blanchflower, David G., 2011. "Youth Unemployment in Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 5673, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Shim, Miseung, 2010. "Factors influencing child welfare employee's turnover: Focusing on organizational culture and climate," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 847-856, June.
    8. Xin Meng, 2012. "Labor Market Outcomes and Reforms in China," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 75-102, Fall.
    9. Cheung, Chau-kiu & Ngai, Ngan-pun, 2010. "Training to raise unemployed youth's work commitment in Tianjin," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 298-305, February.
    10. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    11. Steve Taylor & Melissa Tyler, 2000. "Emotional Labour and Sexual Difference in the Airline Industry," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 14(1), pages 77-95, March.
    12. repec:sip:wpaper:11-003 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Ngai, Steven Sek-yum & Cheung, Chau-kiu & Yuan, Rui & Lin, Shen, 2016. "Work motivation of unemployed youths: Moderating effects of financial dependence on parents," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 157-165.


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