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12:30-13:30Lunch Break
13:30-14:45 Session 2: Plenary 1
Location: Tuanku Bainun Auditorium
Too demanding? VET, good jobs and the delivery dilemma

ABSTRACT. After years of policy emphasis on higher education, UK Government attention has turned to further education and apprenticeships. Three million new apprenticeships are to be created along with a revamp of technical education in the UK. This refocus is to be welcomed. However there is also the danger that the same policy mistakes that have occurred with the expansion of higher education are going to be repeated with further education and, in particular, apprenticeships. If the apprenticeship system is a pipeline from supply through to demand, the problem is the continuing emphasis on expanding supply whilst ignoring employer demand. Employers will only expand their use of apprentices if a business need exists – and that a new demand exists from employers for more technical apprentices is unclear. Moreover, for the revamp of technical education to succeed and attract more young people, these young people will need to be convinced that they will find appropriate jobs at the end of their training. This presentation explores these two issues, drawing on three England-focused research projects conducted by the Institute for Employment Research on 1) current employer demand for technical apprentices, 2) anticipated employer reactions to the Levy and 3) the labour market expectations of young people undertaking Level 3 apprenticeships. The findings suggest that a strategic rethink is needed on the part of the UK Government.

15:00-16:30 Session 3A
Location: Le May
Stakeholder perceptions of the translation of employability policy into university strategy.
SPEAKER: Roy Priest

ABSTRACT. The extent to which universities should prepare graduates for the workplace has been a particular focus of policy impacting across higher education over the last 20 years as a result of a number of factors: changes to ways in which higher education is funded in the UK and the subsequent cultural shift towards students being perceived as consumers of degree courses; ease of access to the results of metrics by which universities can be compared; the pace of technological change in the workplace and the impact that this has had on the requirements of employers when recruiting graduates.

This piece of research explores these issues in a particular setting, BSc Music Technology-oriented courses. Such highly vocational degrees offer an opportunity to investigate perceptions in the context of courses that typically highlight the development of skills and attributes carefully aligned to the requirements of employers. The perspectives of the following key stakeholder groups were considered for this study: individuals working at policy level, academic staff, students and employers.

Following a qualitative methodology, this research investigates the perspectives of stakeholders through semi-structured interviews, focus groups and a survey. Data collection involved the capture of feedback from individuals across a range of institutions; 25 hours of interviews with individuals working at policy level, academics, employers and students, supplemented with an online questionnaire completed by 63 students.

The overarching emergent finding of this study is that there are issues around communication across the stakeholder groups. Cultural differences between higher education and industry can act as barriers to communication. Whilst there exists an imperative from a policy level for universities to work more closely with employers in order to enhance graduate employability, channels of communication across the stakeholder groups are currently fractured. The findings highlight the need for improved channels of communication and in particular, the value of informal interactions.

University strategies around employability as communicated in mission statements and employability policies do not necessarily reflect the experiences of academics and students. Partnerships with employers can be superficial rather than embedded. Students lack awareness of the particular requirements that companies have of graduates in course-related sectors. Academic staff do not necessarily perceive the credibility of initiatives to reward students for attributes aligned to employability and there is evidence of a lack of awareness of such schemes amongst students and employers.

Global Strategies and Local Forms of VET in German Multinational Companies – a Comparison across Emerging Economies
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. As production processes become increasingly complex, Multinational Companies (MNC) in the manufacturing sector are in increasing need of skilled workers at their production sites (Kuula, Putkiranta and Toivanen 2012; Som and Jäger 2012). Especially in emerging economies, German direct investors face challenges in finding appropriately skilled workers at an intermediate skill level (e.g. Mehrotra 2004). Barring a few research studies (e.g. Gessler 2016; Pilz/Li 2014) there are virtually no empirical findings which relate to the ways in which German MNCs face these challenges. This pilot study of the project “Global Strategies and Local Forms of Vocational Education and Training in German Multinational Companies - a Comparison across Emerging Economies”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), aims to help to fill this gap. By focusing on the vocational education and training behaviours of German global players and “smaller” transnational companies in China, India and Mexico, this study aims to throw light on the transferability of Germany’s dual training system as an enabling mechanism to tackle the shortage of workers in the intermediate skill level in these countries. The overall aim is to explore how German MNCs arrange Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at their worldwide subsidiaries, considering the local context. In particular, the study considers the extent to which headquarters implements centralised training strategies and the scope, if any, that exists for the subsidiaries to implement local forms of training activities. The study also explores whether uniform solutions, diverse variants or hybrid solutions can be identified between the different countries in the emerging economy. In addition, the investigations under this study also include how the MNCs develop local arrangements for training activities and whether, and how, they transfer learning arrangements and learning material of the German dual system to their subsidiaries abroad. Thus, the study focuses not only on the institution orientated macro perspective, but also on the organisation and implementation of individual training activities from a micro perspective. The study relies on 28 company cases, supplemented by seven interviews with local experts in the area of vocational education and training in the three countries. A semi-structured theory driven interview guideline was used. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed and summarized into findings. The findings are expected to throw light on the internal dynamics of the companies with respect to work organisation and technology in transferring the training activities and practices from one country to another within the same company. In addition, the findings will also address the influence of the large external contextual factors such as the national education system or the social setting, in the transfer of in-company training activities across different countries.

Employers as individuals, employers as organisations: the continued influence of employer behaviours on policy success
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. With the positioning of employers as the leaders of the development of Apprenticeship Standards and their related Assessment Strategy, this paper considers the distinction between the employer-as-individual, the employer-as-role, and employer-as-organisation, and their respective relationships with the intermediary organisations, government departments and other members of the network. This is particularly meaningful in England, where the education background of the individual may be seen to have a more pronounced influence on attitudes towards VET than in other countries. The paper recognises that the impact of this must be balanced to ensure that theories are not developed purely on the basis of characteristics of individual actors rather than the properties of the network itself.

There are many well-documented reasons for the partial failure of policy reform in VET in England, such as competing drivers and outcomes and a lack of policy stability over time, not to mention social attitudes towards it. Contributions to system, policy and curriculum reform are made by individuals, not organisations, and history and culture in England continues to drive aspects of reform and implementation in ways that remain largely unacknowledged. The impact of these elements on policy narrative which suggests a vocabulary change away from ‘vocational’ and ‘apprenticeship’ to increase take up of qualifications and programmes currently under these banners, should continue to be examined.

Previous work in this area has shown that the personal attitudes towards, and experiences of, vocational qualifications and programmes often influence their implementation in an organisation, in sometimes surprising ways. Interviews with employers in the early stages of implementing the new Apprenticeships will explore their responses to the process of creating standards and assessment strategies, implementing these [and comparison with the implementation of previous frameworks], the impact of the levy, the impact on the number of apprentices being recruited in which sector.

The research is intended to support the meaningful engagement of employers throughout policy creation and implementation by openly acknowledging some of the cultural challenges involved in embedding Apprenticeships in organisations, some of which have previously had little involvement with such programmes. It will provide a different perspective on meeting government targets, for example, which are not always transparent to those trying to work with employers.

15:00-16:30 Session 3B
Location: Hinton
Professional biographical design competence and lifelong learning, as pedagogical challenges within global economic structural transformation
SPEAKER: Thomas Vogel

ABSTRACT. Economic, labour market, and industrial societies overall are in a profound process of transformation, which is supported by numerous, to a degree mutually conditioning and influencing factors. The fundamental transformation of the economy and work world in the 20th century, the impact of which is only now increasingly becoming evident, is described by the historian Eric Hobsbawm in his study of the 20th century, which he called the "century of extremes", as follows: "We live in a world that was seized, revolutionised, and uprooted by the gigantic economic, technical and scientific process of capitalist development, which has dominated the last two or three centuries." (Hobsbawm 1995, 720). In the 20th century the development described by Hobsbawm was accelerated by information and communication technologies, and by the increasing globalisation of economic processes in the past two decades. The interaction of this process has engendered an increasing global integration of the economy, which is connected to acceleration of production processes, with an expansion of the principle competition immanent within the capitalist system, and overall with a growing differentiation of social structures. In this development a "stockpiling of knowledge", oriented toward reliable structures with uniform requirements, as found in traditional concepts of professional training for a life vocation, corresponds increasingly rarely with the requirements of a future-oriented education and continuing education system. The demand on the individual is a constant motivation for the purpose of increasing production, as a continual self-transformation and self-instrumentalisation. This results in an economically-conditioned demand for lifelong learning, and for the capacity to design one's professional biography in accordance with requirements and changes in the economy and everyday life. Whether these expectations resulting from demographic transformation and structural changes will also lead coming generations toward individual satisfaction and happiness, appears highly dubious. There is a risk that the person will lose himself in this necessary continual adaptation to change. Especially the goal of education whereby one ultimately finds oneself, and forms an identity, may be lost. Therefore in the context of developing and promoting professional biographical design competence, it must be ensured that the individual also finds an inner orientation and a path, which is independent from the demands of the economy and the outside world. In the lecture the current social and economic developments in the working world 4.0 are sketched and critically analyzed in the context of VET. The focus is on the variously discussed concepts of lifelong learning and professional biographical design competence.

Employability, progression and discourses of student welfare: a study of a Level 1 Skills to Succeed (S2S) course in an English Further Education (FE) College

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on Skills to Succeed (S2S), a pre-vocational training programme aimed at young people previously classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training) or at risk of becoming NEET. Drawing on findings from a longitudinal qualitative study of S2S students and practitioners working with them in a further education college in the south of England, the data exposes a number of tensions and contradictions between official discourses of up-skilling and inclusion and the realities of practice ‘on the ground’. Whilst it is recognised that practitioners are usually hard-working and often well-meaning, findings from the study suggest that many of the assumptions about S2S learners – and the forms of pedagogy which accompany them - may, at least in some cases, actually serve to reinforce and perpetuate the exclusion of those young people concerned. Although various notions about students’ vulnerability and their inability to cope with traditional forms of teaching and learning were found to be commonplace, such discourses, it is argued, were usually neither accurate nor generally in the best interests of S2S learners. The central argument of the paper is that an over-emphasis on caring, nurturing and student welfare can, at least in some cases, result in the infantalisation of learners (see Ecclestone and Hayes, 2009), which, it is argued, may, in turn, present barriers to meaningful student progression. Data from the study suggests that many S2S students were in fact often quite able and motivated and that, in many cases, their learning experiences failed to provide them with ready access either to employment or higher-level learning such as an apprenticeship, general vocational education, or ‘mainstream’ academic study such as GCSEs.

Post 30s and entrepreneurship: the discovery and pursuit of imagined positive careers in real life situations.
SPEAKER: Tony Leach

ABSTRACT. This paper explores contested notions of the purpose of vocational education and careers work in the twenty-first century, through the lens of the experiences of Post 30s career building experiences after graduation. Influenced by the now familiar neoliberal perspective on the laws of the labour market, the notion that education should serve the needs of the business community and the ‘knowledge economy’ is enshrined in public policy in the UK, and across Europe. To accelerate this agenda, policy constructs social relationships between teachers, careers workers and students as calculated instrumental exchanges, designed to ensure graduates have the knowledge, skills, powers and freedom to become innovative entrepreneurs in the competitive global market place. Thereafter, the educated person is made morally responsible for managing the development of their career throughout their working life. At the same time, there has been a noticeable change in employer-employee relationship expectations, and vocational and educational paths are no longer linear, predictable or stable. In this environment, a person’s ability to be an empowered career actor is said to be dependent on their levels of reflexivity, notions of their self-identity, agency and their resilience in the face of the challenges that come their way. Anticipating the implications of this for careers work, reflexive narrative construction is predicted to become one of the most important approaches in careers guidance and counselling in the twenty-first century. It involves the counsellor and the client working together to explore and co-construct a narrative to reflect, as accurately as possible, the logic of the client’s concrete transitional life experiences, and a sense of their emerging career identity. Portrayed as a creative, therapeutic and empowering dialogic process, the counsellor seeks to help the writer to explore and ascribe meaning and a sense of logic to their previous transitional experiences, and to craft an imaginary future career identity for themselves. Using narrative data obtained from interviews with post 30s entrepreneurs, this paper seeks to share a diverse array of voices about the experienced pursuit of imagined careers based on changing perceptions of a fit between what they would like to become, and their beliefs about future opportunities, in real life situations where issues of time, uncertainty and creativity are central to the decisions they make.

15:00-16:30 Session 3C
Location: Nash Room East
Higher education in colleges: why isn’t there more of it?

ABSTRACT. Colleges in the second vocationally oriented sector of tertiary education in Canada and Anglophone countries such as Australia, England, and the United States now offer bachelor degrees and other provision normally associated with universities. The rationale for this provision is that it can: expand access to higher education for disadvantaged students; align HE with the needs of the workplace; and, be cheaper than university provision for governments and individuals. These rationales support government policy to build human capital and align HE with the needs of the economy, but the size and scope of this provision is still quite modest, despite researchers’ predictions that it would quickly grow and be a key vehicle for the third major expansion of HE since World War II (Bathmaker et al., 2008, Wheelahan et al., 2009, Skolnik, 2005, Floyd et al., 2009). While this provision is important in providing opportunities for students, college HE hasn’t grown as fast as expected by these scholars.

This paper explores the reasons for this limited growth. It explores three limitations on the growth of college HE: first, government ambivalence and intermittent and inconsistent aspirations for differentiation; second, restricted and lower government funding for colleges’ higher education provision; and third, government marketisation policies that compel colleges to offer provision normally associated with universities, but in a market where colleges are placed at the bottom of a more stratified and hierarchical system so that they face obstacles in expanding this provision.

The paper draws on several complementary theoretical frameworks to explore this issue. Trow’s (2010) framework of elite, mass and universal HE is used to examine the growth of HE and provides the broad context for analysing the emergence of universal HE systems in Anglophone nations. Bourdieu’s notion of field is used to explore the relative positioning of colleges and universities within the tertiary education field (Bathmaker, 2016). In applying the concept of field, the paper finds that colleges’ agency in offering bachelor degrees is in part shaped (and limited) by the response of universities. Burton Clark’s (1983) triangle of coordination is used to examine the relative influence of the state, market and ‘academic oligarchy’ and how this has contributed to shaping relations of power within tertiary education, and the nature of the markets in which universities and colleges compete.

Seeking distinction and addressing inequalities: new times for college-based higher education in England

ABSTRACT. New and distinctive forms of higher vocational education are growing rapidly across a range of countries, as demonstrated in the 2014 OECD review Skills Beyond School. While bachelor degrees from universities continue to be the most common tertiary award, higher level qualifications in various forms are being developed across different countries to meet this pressing demand for skills, and thereby potentially expand education and employment opportunities for new types of learners. At a moment when HE is seen as a key driver to increase national productivity and raise the economic participation of disadvantaged equity groups (OECD 2012, 2014; Picketty 2014), this paper examines the claims to a distinctive meaning for higher vocational qualifications for students and employers, and the opportunities they are intended to provide to create more equitable tertiary opportunities and outcomes. In England, established college-based higher vocational education faces further drivers to change in the light of major policy developments – a new Teaching Excellence Framework for higher education, area reviews of further education, and the Sainsbury review of vocational education which has been referred to as a ‘technical and professional education revolution’. This paper examines these developments in relation to two central themes: seeking distinction and addressing inequalities. The paper presents a policy analysis of the evolving nature of college-based HE, and considers this in relation to models of higher vocational education beyond England (German-speaking DACH countries, Australia, USA) to offer a consideration of the possibilities and constraints of achieving distinction and addressing inequalities through a newly conceived higher level technical and professional education. A number of key recent policy texts are analysed, focusing on what claims are made to distinction in higher vocational education and what this involves, and how questions of equity, inequality and expanding opportunities are defined and addressed. Gale’s (2001) framework of policy archeology is used as a basis for the analysis. It is argued that current policy developments involve new policy actors and new alliances that raise important questions for the evolving configuration of higher education, including challenges to notions of distinction and equity within the higher education field. Gale, T. (2001) Critical policy sociology: historiography, archaeology and genealogy as methods of policy analysis, Journal of Education Policy, 16:5, 379-393. OECD (2012) Post-Secondary Vocational Education and Training: Pathways and Partnerships. Paris: OECD. OECD (2014) Skills Beyond School: Synthesis Report. Paris: OECD. Piketty, T (2014) Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

The paradox of higher vocational education: The teaching assistant game, the pursuit of capital and the self

ABSTRACT. This paper discusses the reasons that one group of paraprofessionals offered to explain their decision to study for a work-related higher education programme. It reports on an ethnographically inspired piece research that aimed to capture the motives of a group of teaching assistants who were studying for a Foundation degree at a post-1992 university in the North of England. This group of learners were largely female mature students, who were also overwhelmingly mothers with dependent children. The research was conducted between 2008 and 2015.

This article outlines the worth of drawing upon Bourdieu’s key concepts of capital, field, habitus and illusio to explain why some low status paraprofessional groups decide to follow work-related Foundation degrees. Many of those whose views were captured, had initially been hopeful about changes to their workplace roles that the expansion of their paraprofessional roles had generated. This positivity had however been replaced by a realisation that such optimism had been misplaced. As part of this change, their habitus had been modified and their commitment to (illusio) the teaching assistant game had been undermined. Gaining further qualifications (cultural capital) provided new hope that they could escape from their current workplace positions. This result was far from the one that Foundation degree policy makers had originally intended.

Few students were motivated by the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills related to their current teaching assistant role. There was a paradox where higher education provision that had principally been developed to upskill the teaching assistant workforce, was often conceived by the learners who engaged with it as a way of moving on from this occupational grouping. The lack, or even the future prospect, of adequate reward for extended workplace duties was often identified as having been the “turning point” (Raggl and Troman 2008) that had encouraged them to enter higher education. Many of the students anticipated that being a student would ultimately improve their working situations and allow them to repair aspects of the self that they believed had been damaged by previous interactions with educational institutions. Their options for further study had however been frequently constrained by their positions in the fields of employment and family life which had made Foundation degree study attractive.

The key findings of this study have implications for continuing international expansion of teaching assistant numbers and Higher Vocational Education provision that aims to meet the needs of similar groups of paraprofessional workers.

15:00-16:30 Session 3D
Location: Nash Room West
Connections between school and work in dual model Vocational Education and Training programmes - the Danish case
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. This article is based on a qualitative study of development projects at Danish Vocational Education and Training (VET) schools, which are aimed at improving the connections between the periods students spend in school and at their internships for VET students. A central point in the article is that establishing better connections requires effort on the institutional level as well as on the part of the students. Regarding the institutional level, a central argument in the article is that improving the connection between school and internship periods fundamentally depends upon strengthening cooperation between VET teachers and internship supervisors. With regards to the student level, the article argues that improving students’ reflective thinking skills helps the students to establish connections between the school and internship periods. This means improving the students’ ability to reflect upon their professional actions in practice as well as encouraging students’ to think ahead and backwards between school and internship periods. Furthermore, the article argues that strengthening the students’ reflective thinking skills support creativity and innovation which are reliant on the ability to do at a high level as well as the ability to adapt and transfer this high level doing to other situations. The analyses in the article are based on qualitative group interviews with key persons in the school development projects; i.e., VET teachers, internship supervisors, educational managers and project managers. The analyses draw upon didactic and pedagogical theory (Hiim & Hippe 1997; Bernstein 2000) and theories of transfer (Aarkrog 2011; Nielsen 2009).

Asking different questions of national VET data: identifying a new factor contributing to apprenticeship non-completions
SPEAKER: Don Zoellner

ABSTRACT. In many advanced market democracies apprenticeship non-completion rates have remained unacceptably high for several decades. In spite of broad agreement over the factors that contribute to the problem, interventions based on these obstacles have made little sustained difference. This paper first describes the manner in which the issues of non-completion are represented in six different nations. While there are some national differences, each of the solutions to low completion rates is derived from a myopic analysis of the training system. Virtually all of the responses designed to decrease non-completion are derived from studies that examine relatively easily measured characteristics of the learners, features of the employment workplace or the activities of training providers. Having established the inwardly focused nature of the representation of non-completion and the associated solutions, a novel cross-disciplinary approach to the issue is described. Informed by human geography, heat physiology and vocational education and training policy perspectives, new questions were asked of the very large Australian National Apprentice and Trainee Collection. These queries were designed to test for patterns of seasonality for every commencement, cancellation and withdrawal in all occupations where a contract of training came into force for the past two decades. A quite significant difference in the timing of cancellations and withdrawals in the trade occupations in northern Australia was detected when compared to the south of the continent. The identification of a potential new contributor to apprenticeship non-completion from outside of the training system suggests the possibility of other external, yet to be identified factors that contribute to high attrition rates that are immune to existing policy responses. For example, the answers to problems of the well-enumerated heavy gender segregation and outcomes for ethnic minorities undertaking apprenticeships may be better derived from more complex cross-disciplinary studies. All of this invites yet another question: have the limits of policy adjustments, universally known as reforms, to the vocational education and training sector reached the limits of their capacity to make an impact on reducing apprenticeship non-completion?

Recognition of foreign qualifications and skills in the Canadian labour market – results from PIAAC
SPEAKER: Silvia Annen

ABSTRACT. The Canadian society is characterised by a plurality of immigrants. Since the implementation of the points system in 1967 the Canadian migration policies stronger focused on economic criteria as well as qualifications and skills (cf. Walker 2007; Guo/Shan 2013). The aim of the presented project is to gain insights if immigrants can use their foreign qualifications and skills in the Canadian labour market and how they affect their labour market outcomes. Several studies document that immigrants suffer from comparatively low wages and unemployment (cf. e.g. Thompson/Worswick 2004). Therefore, pay inequity and skill under-utilization respectively over-education are huge challenges in Canada. In contrast to pay inequity few studies have addressed the incidence of skill under-utilization (cf. Leuven/Oosterbeek 2011). Income differences and over-education of immigrants have been mainly explained by the imperfect transferability of human capital across country borders (cf. e.g. Li 2008), which depends on how closely the country of origin compares to the host country in terms of economic conditions, educational systems, industrial structure, institutional settings, language, etc. By using a mixed method approach (quantitative analyses, case studies and expert interviews) the project identifies approaches and methods that employers and other stakeholders use to make decisions regarding foreign qualification recognition. This presentation focuses on the quantitative analyses of the PIAAC data using regression models to investigate if the assumptions of the human capital theory (Becker 1964) or the theories of signalling (Spence 1973) and screening (Stiglitz 1975) apply to the Canadian labour market. The analysis compares wages and the labour market status of immigrants with those of the domestic population. In concrete, the results of a logistic regression with the labour market status as dependent variable and the results of an OLS regression with the wage as dependent variable are presented. The OLS regression refers to the model of the Mincer earnings regression (1974). The logit regression uses the opportunities of the PIAAC data set to control for specific variables like foreign or domestic acquirement of the qualification as well as work experience gained in Canada or abroad. The findings confirm the discrimination of immigrants in the Canadian labour market regarding their income and their labour market status. Finally, the results provide indications regarding the explanatory power of the above theories towards the entrance to the labour market and the meaning of educational credentials and work experience for immigrants.

15:00-16:30 Session 3E
Location: Memorial Room
Teacher knowledge and subject-specific pedagogy in technical and vocational education
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. This paper provides a critical analysis of conceptualisations of subject-specific pedagogy and their application to technical and vocational education, with particular reference to the English FE and Skills sector. Drawing on international literature on teachers’ pedagogical knowledge in different phases of education, the paper argues that there is currently no satisfactory account of subject-specific pedagogy or of the knowledge that technical and vocational teachers use in making pedagogical decisions. However, it proposes that a re-interpretation of Lee Shulman’s pedagogical content knowledge within sociocultural learning theory can provide a basis for a better understanding.

The paper begins by reviewing briefly the context of subject-specific pedagogy in the English FE sector, where it has been a contested issue for over a decade. Although this debate has intrinsic academic interest, it has also been driven by external pressures from policymakers and inspection regimes based on regressive understandings of teacher knowledge. In recent years, the debate has been modified to some extent by emerging notions of vocational pedagogy and a tendency to privilege the immediate needs of employers over wider educational considerations. The paper continues by reviewing more fundamental issues related to subject-specific pedagogy, including critiques of disciplinary knowledge in general, which argue that such knowledge has decreasing relevance and authority; evidence that the formal acquisition of codified pedagogical knowledge plays a relatively limited role in the professional development of FE teachers; and a lack of more extensive empirical research on FE teachers and their subject-specific pedagogy. It then discusses the strengths and limitations of two key ideas: pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and the multi-layered notion of recontextualisation. Although PCK has been extensively critiqued, the paper argues that it offers access to an extensive research tradition and valuable insights into the meaning of subject-specific pedagogy. However, interpretations of PCK which delocate it from a social and cultural context would be inadequate, particularly in the context of technical and vocational education. Two elaborations of PCK are required: firstly, to take into account the need for teachers and learners to recontextualise knowledge – both from the college to the workplace and vice versa – and secondly, to recognise that teachers’ professional learning is itself socially located, taking place in specific cultural and historical contexts and affected by hierarchies of power and status at local and societal levels. The paper concludes by proposing a model of subject-specific pedagogy as situated reasoning about teaching decisions.

Improving pedagogy in vocational teaching
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. This paper reports on an on-going project to research, develop and evaluate an intervention designed to enhance the subject-specialist pedagogy of trainee vocational science, engineering and technology (SET) teachers in English Further Education (FE) Colleges. For our project, pedagogy describes how teachers explain the decisions they make in relation to particular knowledge (in this case occupational knowledge) and in relation to a particular group of students (in this case students on vocational SET courses). The intervention is designed to inform these teachers’ pedagogical decision-making specific to their own occupational subject specialism. Following desk-based research on subject specialist pedagogy, our study has sought to apply and adapt concepts and approaches to make them relevant and influential for vocational SET teachers in the form of materials and activities.

The main conceptualisations that have been adapted and applied are Shulman’s pedagogical content knowledge and signature pedagogies as well as Loughran, Berry and Mulhall’s content representation. The intervention has also conceptualised how the workplace can be connected with the college workshop or classroom. Evaluation of the intervention's impact is based on questionnaires and interviews before and after the implementation. Based on analysis of the language used by the participants to discern any difference will enable inference of influence on their decision-making. We also report on other relevant factors including support in the workplace, previous experience and level of education. The impact of the intervention is to be judged in relation to these other variables.

Persuading vocational teachers that pedagogy is relevant to them and then persuading them to make time for professional development when their workload is so heavy have been extremely problematic during the project. So, we have had to develop new means to access these trainee teachers using entirely on-line resources and through training of their generic teacher educators based in the FE colleges.

The major issue remains that there are not enough teachers in vocational SET subjects in FE colleges, whether or not they are pedagogically proficient. Nevertheless, this project has shown that subject-specialist pedagogy can be made relevant to trainee vocational teachers and the eventual evaluation will indicate if their decision-making benefits from the associated concepts and approaches. Until the working environment, pay and workload of FE teachers are improved, however, such interventions may, unfortunately, only have minimal impact.

Using a tablet computer as a primary learning tool in VET? Lessons learned from the Swiss banking apprenticeship

ABSTRACT. The potential of digital tools such as tablet computers and the like to support vocational learning and, thereby, of its contribution to meet future qualification requirements due to changes in work is currently being widely discussed. Additionally, there exists a widespread assumption that the generation of ‘digital natives’ responds positively to implementing new technology in initial education and training and that young people today need new kinds of instruction and approaches to learning. Thus, it is simply assumed that both apprentices and the vocational teaching staff come to appreciate the use of up-do-date digital mobile devices as a tool for learning in school and at the workplace. This, however, disregards the question whether and under which circumstances these devices are being perceived as useful tools for learning from the persons concerned themselves.

Facing digitalisation, the training programme of the inter-company branch courses within the Swiss dual-track banking apprenticeship has been reformed in 2012 to meet future requirements in the qualifications of bank employees. Depending on their training firm, the majority of the apprentices in this sector (yearly about 1100) have since then being equipped with a tablet as their personal primary learning instrument and as a possible future work tool. The questions that result from these changes are, however, whether learning is actually being affected through the use of the tablets, whether the move to digitalise the training environment was an ‘upgrade’ for the training purposes and whether these new digital tools have created new learning opportunities. In order to investigate these questions, the case has been subject to a three-year longitudinal evaluation study, which has been conducted from 2013 to 2016. The main study consisted of a three-wave online survey among all apprentices in 2014, 2015, and 2016 about the training-related use of the tablets and the benefits of using these devices in training and at the workplace. Two additional studies were conducted to also capture the perspectives of the inter-company training instructors.

The results of this evaluation study show that the majority of the learners struggle to make meaningful use of these devices for their learning and for work, even so in a full three years period of use. As a consequence, acceptance problems occur, which, paired with other factors, can lead to a persistent negative attitude towards these devices. These other factors include the technical scope of the devices, partial workplace incompatibility issues as well as individual approaches to learning and learning preferences (e.g. paper and pencil). Eventually, this holds big challenges for organising VET as a whole including specific topics on the coordination and communication between the different learning sites.

15:00-16:30 Session 3F
Location: Lecture Room B
16:30-16:45Coffee Break
16:45-18:15 Session 4A
Location: Le May
Changing patterns of vocational knowledge in the health care sector: Findings from five European countries
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. (Registered) nurses and caregivers are the most numerous professional health workers and play a critical role in providing access to care. Concerns about future shortages of these two professional groups have been stated by many stakeholders (e.g. Cedefop 2009; Reymann et al. 2015; OECD 2016) and countries have recently started attracting professional caregivers from overseas, increasing the training of new caregivers and intensifying efforts to increase retention rates in the professions.

Focusing on findings from a three-year project funded by the European Commission, this paper addresses (future) challenges of the healthcare sector in Europe with a focus on vocational knowledge and skills development of (registered) nurses and caregivers. Based on data from five European countries (national statistics, expert interviews, document analysis and job analysis in Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland), the contribution aims at:

(i) addressing those challenges to be faced by the sector that have quantitative implications in terms of the number of (registered) nurses and caregivers and related labour market migration flows. In this respect, the authors provide an overview of the anticipated and needed workforce in this sector including sources for attracting potential additional workforce.

(ii) Second, the contribution aims at identifying qualitatively new skill-mixes of vocational knowledge and skills, and the changing roles of medium and lower qualified professionals. In this respect, the authors explore future skills needs and tasks that will be relevant for professionals working in this field. (iii) Then, the session systematizes mechanisms of recognising and validating (foreign) qualifications and prior learning to facilitate both horizontal and cross-border mobility to meet such skill shortages.

The contribution concludes with reconsidering in which ways recognition and validation provides an answer to skills shortages in the health care sector as well as it changes existing patterns of vocational knowledge of professionals.


Cededop (2009): Future skills needs in the healthcare sector. SkillsNet SectorFlash Healthcare. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/healthcare_flash.pdf

OECD (2016): Health workforce policies in OECD countries: right jobs, right skills, right places. Paris.

Reymann, D. et al. (2015): Labour market shortages in the European Union. Study for the EMPL Committee. Luxembourg.

From accreditation of prior learning for empowerment to a proxy for training: the impact of the competence-based approach on apprenticeships for adults
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. This paper explores the continued profound impact of a competence-based approach to vocational education and training (VET) in England on adults seeking to improve their career prospects and life chances. The approach emerged in the 1970s as part of a reform agenda led by group of civil servants. These ‘administrative progressives’ (Tyack 1974) were given considerable resources and freedom by government to develop and open up the market for government-funded VET provision and radically ‘reform’ vocational qualifications. This involved the separation of assessment (and hence certification) from participation in programmes of learning. At the time, many adult educators and trades unionists saw this as an important means to enable adults (in and out of work) with no or few qualifications to gain formal accreditation for skills they already possessed.

Whilst a substantial critical literature on competence emerged from the mid-1980s through to Raggatt and Williams’ (1999) policy critique, we argue that it is time to revisit those earlier debates. The paper draws on our recent study of adult apprentices and their employers in England to ask how far the empowerment potential of the competence approach has been realized and at what cost to individuals, to workplaces and to the economy.

The study (funded by the Nuffield Foundation) developed case studies of apprentices aged 25 and over and their employers in five sectors (energy, transport, healthcare, social care, and hospitality). Our findings showed a latent demand from adults for both training and qualifications (including in English, maths and ICT) to support their career aspirations, to enable them to better support their children’s education, and to make a more productive contribution to their places of work and society more generally. Instead, many apprentices found they were being accredited for their existing knowledge and skills without the training they needed for further progression. In contrast, some apprentices whose programmes were anchored within strongly articulated and/or regulated occupational fields were receiving the levels of training and education associated with high quality workforce development. In both cases, the concept of ‘competence’ was valued, but treated in very different ways. The paper argues that the continued hegemony of the ‘administrative progressives’ over VET policy has dangerously diminished access to and provision of training.

Comparative research on apprenticeships and global drivers in the production of academic knowledge: Challenges for non-Anglophone local fields of research
SPEAKER: Anna Mazenod

ABSTRACT. Local research settings are increasingly affected by the global metrics of academic knowledge, e.g. journal rankings and article citation indexes. The language practices associated with global scientific fields and the metrics measuring the worth of academic knowledge currently prioritise English-medium publications and Anglophone-centric contexts of research (Lillis and Curry, 2010). This paper is based on a comparative study of apprenticeship education as a form of initial vocational education in three local settings with different national languages (English, Finnish and French). The paper examines published research on apprenticeships and the language of publication in these three settings over a fifteen-year period to develop our understanding of the relationship between global and local fields in this area of research. The discussion draws on Bourdieu’s (2004) concept of the field to distinguish between global and local dimensions of research, and to explore the cross-field effects (Rawolle and Lingard, 2013) that are critical to understanding the role of the English language as a lingua franca. A technique of multilingual systematic reviews was developed in the study to access all relevant research findings and to analyse publications in the respective languages before construction of a comparative framework and translation into English, a process that inevitably results in some concepts or terminology from the original language being lost or needing to be re-contextualised. The study found differences in the contours and sizes of the local research fields, but also in the indicative disciplinary boundaries and the conceptualisation of apprenticeships. The findings also indicate recent publication patterns on apprenticeships to be dominated by the national languages, but that academic knowledge is also produced in English in the two non-Anglophone settings. The paper argues that research findings on apprenticeship from different local contexts can provide valuable insights to policy-makers and practitioners globally. Language practices in the production of global academic knowledge can however make it challenging to successfully disseminate findings from these local contexts without knowledge being lost in translation or re-contextualisation. Concerns are thus raised about the global visibility of apprenticeship research from a variety of non-Anglophone contexts and the sustainability of linguistically diverse research cultures. In order to enhance the breadth, depth and reach of comparative apprenticeship research, the prioritisation of the scientific lingua franca and the unintended implication that Anglophone-centric contexts of research are of greater importance need to be challenged.

16:45-18:15 Session 4B
Location: Hinton
Defining the pre-vocational curriculum: a case study in the design of BTEC Level 1 Introductory qualification
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. Recent policy on technical education in England calls for ‘…up to a year of tailored and flexible support’ for those learners who are not ready to access a technical or academic route aged 16. There are a number of drivers which may determine what is included in this transition year with all indications that the needs of employers will remain paramount in defining this curriculum. Despite a period of high levels of DfE intervention in VET in recent times, policy seems to have overlooked this group of young people to the extent that no specific curriculum has been defined for them.

This paper draws on the research and development process used to create the BTEC Level 1 Introductory qualifications available for first teaching from September 2016. Using case study data, it asserts that for this cohort, curriculum provision should have the needs of learners at its heart, rather than those of employers.

A qualitative study of vocational students’ experience of blended learning and student voice
SPEAKER: Jan Normann

ABSTRACT. Introduction: The emphasis on the use of blended learning and student voice are increasingly seen as central to present day reform efforts within vocational education. Blended learning and student voice are controversial within the educational reform debate but have not yet been analyzed in combination. In this paper we analyze how the implementation of blended learning at a vocational school has been informed by incorporating student voice in both planning and implementation phases. Student voice implies having power over the presentation of reality and meaning, and the ability to construct, articulate, and therefore shape one's experience as it is presented to others (Quiroz, 2001:328). The paper also address how student silencing is affected by the changing relationship between students and teachers that results from blended learning. Student silencing refers to the formal and informal ways in which the school controls "who can speak, what can and cannot be spoken, and whose discourse must be controlled" (Fine, 1991:33)

Methods/design: Data collection consisted of participant observation, interviews, documents, and Facebook communication. Participant observations were conducted in and around the different classes, around campus and in the nearby school surroundings in company with students.

Findings & implications: The study of vocational students’ experience of the implementation of blended learning indicated that student voice and student silencing are dual aspects that needs to be taken into consideration when analyzing the implementation of blended learning in a vocational educational setting. Paying attention to student voice in connection with the development and implementation of blended learning has the potential to enhance student engagement and thereby student retention and student performance. This, however, requires that student voice becomes part of everyday practices in the different educational environments where students are part of the conversation about pedagogical and didactical choices and not just a formalized aspect of the change process. The diversity of the vocational students is both a strength and weakness of student voice as some students were heard while others were silenced either on purpose or due to ignorance. The vocational students experienced that voice and silencing differed across different contexts such as work places, schools and virtual environment. Students also expressed frustration about how the public discourse in media and other communication channels by other colleagues, professions and patients and their relatives affected their access to voice.

Rekindling student engagement - a story of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning in Victoria, Australia

ABSTRACT. Rekindling student engagement – a story of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning in Victoria, Australia

This paper examines a major curriculum innovation that was introduced into upper secondary curriculum in the Australian state of Victoria in 2002 - the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, or the VCAL as it is often known. Victoria is the only state in Australia which has developed a separate senior secondary certificate, a vocational certificate to sit alongside the general Victorian Certificate of Education, or the VCE. The VCAL has diversified the existing upper secondary curriculum in Victoria through the provision of a coherent and integrated program of school-based vocational education and training designed to engage and encourage young people to remain in education and training and provide them with these necessary work and life skills.

The VCAL claims to be a comprehensive attempt to anchor vocational learning within the secondary school environment in Australia.

The paper draws on 12 years of working ‘at the coal face of the VCAL’ and focuses on recent PhD research on the effectiveness of the VCAL in engaging young, often reluctant, learners in education and facilitating appropriate pathways into higher level vocational training, apprenticeships and employment. The focus is on learners who have been identified as facing significant academic challenges and who are often reluctant to engage with their education.

This paper examines the effectiveness of the VCAL program in engaging these students against a number of factors. These include the ability to be involved in a good quality learning program where they can not only experience success and be motivated to learn, but also where they can make clear connections between what they learn and how they can apply it in real-life contexts. Other factors, against which the effectiveness of this program in engaging these students is measured, include the opportunity to be better prepared for work and to develop strong relationships with teachers and students.

Evidence of student engagement is presented through an analysis of the growth in student enrolments and a series of interviews with a number of VCAL teachers and student focus groups.

The study concludes that VCAL has successfully engaged and kept these students at school and has helped them further develop their maturity and personal skills. Evidence in terms of facilitating pathways in higher level training, employment and apprenticeships is somewhat mixed. Despite the challenges concerning the effectiveness of student transitions from school, there are significant economic and social benefits in students remaining engaged in their education. This has strong positive implications particularly in terms of providing these students with the opportunity to further develop their maturity and their personal skills.

16:45-18:15 Session 4C
Location: Nash Room East
The study model at the dual university in Germany and its adaptation in China

ABSTRACT. In China, an increasing number of students want to gain work experience as much as possible during their study. Although some students have done an internship or a part-time job in the company, it is not enough for them to find a dream job. A dual study in a Chinese university, which interlinks study with practice and could get two certificates in a shorter time, would be an attractive alternative for the Chinese students. Therefore, the construction of a dual university and the design of a dual study model in china would be particularly indispensable.

It is well known that Germany is distinguished for the vocational education system of its unique "Dual-System". It is considered as a successful vocational education system and a model for other countries. Germany has a “Dual-System” of initial vocational education and training, which dates back to 1900. In 1969, the Vocational Education Law (BBiG) was issued in Germany. Since then the dual system of vocational education was wide discussed and well developed in Germany. Based on the comprehensive educational reform, the Vocational Training Promotion Act (BAföG) was adopted in 1981. After that, the dual vocational education system was further enhanced and perfected.

The dual system has contributed to the social and economic development in Germany for years. Especially in the postwar period many qualified workers were trained. The dual system plays an important role in the reconstruction of Germany. Nowadays, the dual education system still has a good reputation and there are all sorts of vocational schools in Germany. However, the graduates of vocational schools lack sufficient theoretical knowledge. Under this background, many universities offer dual study courses, in which the students can learn more theoretical knowledge and acquire professional competence.

The German dual study means study at a technical college, a university or a dual university, with integrated vocational training and practical periods in a company. During the theoretical period, the students need to focus on the knowledge, which is needed in the practical periods in companies. Therefore, there are always two study places, university and company. Work experience and theoretical knowledge are organizational and curricular interlinked.

In this paper, the dual study at the dual university in Germany would be evaluated through an empirical study. This empirical study consists of quantitative and qualitative methods. 118 students at the dual university in Germany were enquired through questionnaires. 20 professors at the dual university and 20 contact people from companies in Germany were interviewed. To discuss the adaptation of the German dual study model in china, extra 10 university professors and 10 contact people from companies in China were interviewed. Finally, some educational suggestions for china are proposed and a dual study model which is appropriate for China is constructed.

The "Foundation Period" of the German and Swiss apprenticeship systems: a comparative view of historical factors shaping the dual system
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. For an explanation of why apprenticeships in Germany and Switzerland, though under pressure in these days, still represent a major route into skilled employment it is necessary to look back to the late 19th century and to the beginning of the 20th century. It was the time when both Germany and Switzerland experienced their industrial "coming-of-age" (LANDES, 1969). However, in both countries it was rather the political and cultural context which spurred the formation of the initial training system which later became a “dual system”.

The paper is going to depict these developments in a systematic comparative way by looking at the relevant drives or stimuli in the history of the two countries, i.e. the specific role of the state, the pro-active commitment of the private sector, and the influence of pedagogy in these processes.

Policy transfer of German TVET evaluation concepts to China: the example of peer review in TVET
SPEAKER: Junmin Li

ABSTRACT. Comparative research into TVET and policy transfer focuses primarily on the system level (Phillips/Ochs 2003). This study was designed to extend the focus of research work to policy transfer at institutional level. The study surveyed the factors both supporting and inhibiting policy transfer at institutional level and was designed to provide a ‘lessons learned’ approach (Rose 1991). One function of policy transfer is to use external policy to overcome challenges in the host country. This paper presents a project that investigated the German concept of peer review in TVET as a potential solution for Chinese TVET schools. Teachers in Chinese TVET schools often refuse to implement quality evaluation activities. One reason for this resistance is that the Chinese evaluation does not take account of the interests and needs of teachers (Yao 2008). Peer review is characterised by features that could be considered the opposite of the Chinese approach. It works participatively within a flat hierarchy (Gutknecht-Gmeiner 2007). The survey investigated the extent to which a concept such as the German evaluation concept of peer review in TVET might be capable of transfer to Chinese TVET schools. The implementation of policy transfer requires an open approach, using a flexible pilot. The study used the iterative micro-cycle of the design-based research which enables policies to be adapted while the pilot study is still under way (Reinking/Bradley 2008). Peer review as a pilot for policy transfer to China was initiated by German researchers and was implemented by a Chinese research team at four TVET schools in Shanghai. The pilot was supported and evaluated by a German researcher fluent in Chinese. The methodology at the testing stage involved participatory observation to document the process of peer review and the qualitative interview method to survey the perceptions of the participants. The study used the environmental system model as a framework for interpretation (O’Connor 1988). At the macro level, interpretation was based on the Chinese cultural model. At the exo level, China’s national TVET system was used as the reference. At the meso level, the existing quality evaluation structure within Chinese TVET schools was used. The findings showed that not every element of the peer review model could be transferred to the Chinese context. For example, the strong hierarchical power structure of Chinese culture made transferring the participatory features of the peer review difficult. The indirect communication style of the Chinese culture was both a benefit and a challenge. Chinese culture’s flexible reaction towards change facilitated activities despite time pressures. The paper argues that the peer review concept needs to be adapted to the Chinese context and requires a support system. The supporting and inhibiting factors derived from this study enable us to draw lessons about how to support policy transfer at institutional level.

16:45-18:15 Session 4D
Location: Nash Room West
Learning situations of entrepreneurial decision-making in vocational teacher education
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. There are high potentials within a university, but fear and other barriers about the process of start-ing a business prevents students from thinking about it. For this reason, entrepreneurship educa-tion in our vocational education department supports students on the one hand to build up knowledge about entrepreneurship and on the other, we give them a chance to develop specific entrepreneurial behavior, focusing on different specific competences. Especially decision making prepares students to be able to handle uncertain situations in the process of starting a business or be able to teach others to start a business (Alvarez, Barney 2005; Petridou, Sarri 2011). This compe-tence is what we are focusing in our research. The research about decision-making logics focus on mathematical formula in situations of risk. However, new decision-making logic is necessary in uncertain situations, like in a situation to start a business. There are two ways of dealing with decisions in uncertain situations: a decision can follow a causation or effectuation logic (Sarasvathy 2008). Further research has developed combinations of these logics during decision-making processes (Murmann, Sardana 2012; Reymen et al. 2015). Our research focuses on: Assumption: Entrepreneurs are able to be aware of their different abilities to act, if they can have the chance to identify their behavior in decision-making and their preferred decision-making logic. A growing margin for manoeuvre can lead to decreasing fear and reduction of barriers. Question: What kind of methods are useful to identify the kind of decision-making a person is us-ing? Research about our students behaving in situations of uncertainty happened in summer 2016 and winter 2016/17 and will continue in summer 2017. A summary of observation results and analysis of final reports from the students will be presented at the conference.

Alvarez, S.A.; Barney, J.B. (2005): How do entrepreneurs organize firms under conditions of uncer-tainty? In: Journal of Management, 31/5, S. 776-793. Murmann, J.P.; Sardana, D. (2012): Successful entrepreneurs minimize risk. In: Australian Journal of Management. Vol. 38/1, S. 191-215. Petridou, E.; Sarri, K. (2011): Developing „potential Entrepreneurs“ in Higher Education Institutions. In: Journal of Enterprising Culture. Mar2011, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p79-99. 21p. Reymen, I.M.M.J.; Andries, P.; Berends, H.; Mauer, R.; Stephan, U.; Burg, E. (2015): Understanding Dynamics of Strategic Decision Making in Venture Creation: A Process Study of Effectuation and Causation. In: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 9 (4), S. 351-379. Sarasvathy, S. D. (2008): Effectuation: elements of entrepreneurial expertise. Cheltenham: Elgar.

Embedding Knowledge Creation into Teaching in Vocational and Higher Education
SPEAKER: unknown

ABSTRACT. Learning organizations need employees who can add value not only with the knowledge that they bring with them but who can also learn and exchange knowledge. To prepare students for work, instructors should provide opportunities for students to build and create knowledge individually and in groups. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the organizational knowledge creation process and suggest ways to embed this process in vocational and higher education instruction. While research has started to explore the application of the knowledge creation theory in business and education, the current literature lacks direction for instructors to help build the skills of future knowledge workers. The paper explores preparing students to create knowledge through a literature review of the knowledge creation theory in the education context and a comparison of the theory with other theories on learning and cognition. The paper then argues for its application in the classroom through a blended learning mode. Nonaka and Takeuchi’s SECI model shows four different ways in which existing knowledge can be converted into new knowledge. The paper found that although this knowledge creation process has some overlap with other theories on learning and cognition, it is different in that it is an upward cyclical process starting at the individual level moving up to the collective (group) level, and then to the organizational level, sometimes reaching out to the inter-organizational level. The paper encourages instructors to think of student learning as a knowledge creation spiral, with each cycle reinforcing and building on knowledge gained in the previous cycle. The model provides a useful reference for instructors to structure their teaching and learning activities progressively according to the ability of their students. The knowledge creation stages can also be mapped into the curriculum and course modules. Traditional and online learning activities are suggested for each knowledge creation mode. Three case study examples are also provided to show how to facilitate this knowledge creation among students through blended learning.

Transitions from VET to University. Institutional challenges and changes from a neo-institutional perspective

ABSTRACT. The request for Lifelong Learning and the reality of demographic change are major challenges for VET Systems (Münk, Walter, Schmidt 2013). In Germany these challenges motivate a debate about the promotion of transitions from VET to university education, two educational pathways which until now are institutionally separated. It is supposed that a facilitation of these transitions could foster the attractiveness of VET and is necessary in a time, when the younger cohorts get smaller and labour marked experts predict a shortage of qualified workforce. At the same time statistics show an increase of students at university with VET and work experiences. The issue of my paper is to assess actual programs in VET and University affected by this development in order to understand if they stand for an institutional change concerning the transition from VET to University and sustainably promote the transition from VET to university. These are on the one hand programs which intend to foster and systemize advanced vocational training on behalf of promoting lifelong learning and, among other goals, transitions into university education. On the other hand some Universities begin to adapt to a growing diversity of first-year students concerning qualifications and previous educational careers by implementing special propaedeutic courses and study programs. Based on a neo-institutional perspective I review official documents, governmental programs and funding as well as research concerning these institutional changes in order to assess if they are suitable for promoting transitions from VET into University and bridge the gap between the relative learning cultures. The review is methodologically based on Mayrings approach of “Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse” (Mayring 2003). In the broader sense I discuss the reaction and attendance of German VET-System and Universities to lifelong learning and demographic change. I focus on the question if the VET-system and Universities as institutions really converge or merely react on political and societal demands in a way that enables them to maintain their traditional ways of work.

LITERATUR Mayring, P. (2003). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim: Beltz Münk, D.; Walter, M.; Schmidt, C. (2013): Berufliche Bildung und demografischer Wandel: Herausforderungen und Gestaltungsaufgaben für die moderne Arbeitsgesellschaft im Umbruch. In: Niedermair, G. (Hrsg.): Facetten berufs- und betriebspädagogischer Forschung. Grundlagen, Herausforderungen und Perspektiven. Band 8 der Schriftenreihe für Berufs- und Betriebspädagogik. Linz, S. 407-430. Rauner, F. (2012): Akademisierung beruflicher und Verberuflichung akademischer Bildung – widersprüchliche Trends im Wandel nationaler Bildungssysteme. bwp@ Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik – online, 23, 1-19. Online: http://www.bwpat.de/ausgabe23/rauner_bwpat23.pdf (03.12.2015).

16:45-18:15 Session 4E
Location: Memorial Room
Beyond ‘learning for earning’
SPEAKER: Milosh Raykov

ABSTRACT. Academics and policy-makers have engaged in discussions about the differences between formal and informal learning, the extent to which this distinction is useful, and the rates of participation in both forms as people engage with the idea of lifelong learning in a knowledge economy. Hager and Hyland (2003) suggest the following characteristics of informal learning as compared to formal learning: learners have more control over their learning; the learning is more unintentional and outcomes are less predictable; learners may be less aware of their learning (it’s often tacit); the learning is more collaborative and social; learning is highly contextualized and includes emotive, cognitive and social dimensions; and finally, there is less distinction between knowledge and skills. Writers who critique the distinction between informal and formal learning (Learning and Skills Research Centre, 2004) argue that it makes more sense to see attributes of formality and informality in all learning situations. Canadian surveys about learning suggest that both formal and informal learning have increased in the educational “arms race” that has developed in Canada and internationally (Livingstone and Raykov, 2016). A key problem facing many young post-secondary education graduates is the underutilization of their knowledge and skills in the labour market rather than lack of formal education (ibid).

This study looks at a form of learning that arguably blurs the lines between formal and informal learning: service learning as part of university programs. Drawing on interviews with students who participated in immersion service learning (often co-curricular experiences internationally) and curricular service learning in local communities, this study examines this pedagogical practice in educational settings in relation to attributes of in/formality (LSRC, 2004). We posit that this kind of learning can be powerful because of the features described by Hager and Hyland (2003), and further, that it appears to have positive implications for students’ subsequent approaches to learning and work as well as their civic engagement, for example, their openness to ambiguity, willingness to take risks, willingness to pursue opportunities, and critical civic literacy (Pollack, 2013).

References Hager, P. & Hyland, T. (2003). Vocational education and training. Education: Book Chapters. Paper 5. Retrieved December 2014: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/170/

Learning and Skills Research Centre (2004) Informality and Formality in Learning. UK: Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Leeds.

Pollack, S. (2013). Critical civic literacy: Knowledge at the intersection of career cand community. The Journal of General Education, 62(4): 223-237.

VET cultures in a European comparison – social practices as the constitutive element and tertium comparationis
SPEAKER: Erika Gericke

ABSTRACT. The term ‘VET culture’ has been developed due to two reasons. First, the current and diverse understandings of the obvious term ‘learning culture’ are too narrow for the complex field of VET. Single facets get emphasized, but the term ‘VET culture’ enables to cover a variety of facets which are located on the micro, meso and macro level. Second, it was desired to develop a term, which stresses the multimodality and multidimensionality of vocational educational and learning processes as these processes are determined by their historical, societal and cultural conditions, subject didactic traditions, pedagogical self-conception of the VET institutions and actors as well as regulations and teaching materials – to name but a few. The developed concept ‘VET culture’ is based on three interrelated elements, which can be pictured as an onion layer model: culture as the outer layer, learning environment as the middle layer and social practices as the core. According to the cultural turn, culture is understood as a basic phenomenon of social order which penetrates all areas of society, including the VET system. Culture is reproduced in social practices and in the design of learning environments. A learning environment is understood as a spatial-material and symbolic framing of learning and teaching activities and there is an interrelation between teaching-and-learning habitat and habitus. As space gets produced by a specific social arrangement of human bodies and objects, once established room arrangements have an inhibiting and enabling character for the social practices at the same time. Social practices are understood as behavioural routines, which are based on the actor’s incorporated knowledge and which are linked to objects used by the actor. Thus social practices consist of sayings and doings, body movements and objects. This concept of ‘VET culture’ enables to look at VET activities on a grass-root level. Empirical studies, which apply this concept can uncover the mechanisms behind the national VET system and retrace lived national educational traditions, which are a crucial force in the VET system. Social practices as the research object and tertium comparationis when undertaking international-comparative VET studies will contribute answers to questions such as ‘How do the different national VET cultures enable, promote and impede vocational learning?’ and provide explanatory approaches for e.g. (un)successfully implemented VET policies.

16:45-18:15 Session 4F
Location: Lecture Room B