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Paper for The 6th International Conference Researching Work and Learning Roskilde University, Denmark June 28 to Juli 1, 2009 Symposium 6 Vocational Education and Training - New models of apprenticeship The patterns of transition from education to work have generally become prolonged and more complex, and with growing problems of dropout and low retention rates. Secondary vocational education and training based on a Dual System and occupational labour markets are generally noted for having low levels of youth unemployment and a smooth transition to work. This is assumed to be an effect of the central institution of this regime, the vocation (‘Beruf') that provides a close link between education and work and a specific form of socialisation to working life. The Danish system of VET is based on this type of transition regime. Still the drop out rate of secondary vocational education has remained over 20% for many years. Retention in VET thus has become a major political issue, and a number of reforms have intended to make the system more flexible and inclusive. These reforms have called in question the future of the vocation (Beruf) and the cultural underpinnings of the system. This paper discusses some of the properties of this regime and reports the results of two studies on school to work transition that have followed the former vocational student 6 years after they completed their educations. A special interest was given to the role of vocations both considered as social institutions and as vocational identities and cultures.