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13:30-14:45 Session 2: Plenary 1

Plenary session - Stephanie Allais:TVET in African Countries- Why is sytematic reform so hard?

TVET in African Countries: why is systematic reform so hard?

ABSTRACT. This paper draws from ongoing research into the political economy of skill formation in African countries, asking why in many African countries strengthening systems of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has been so difficult. The paper considers the factors that have shaped skill formation systems in African countries and led to the marginalization of formal TVET. This includes an examination of the history of the ET system as a whole, and the historical and current development path, them now, in particular, the nature of labour markets in many African countries. The small size of formal labour markets in many African countries, and the legacy of colonialism, shapes tthe skill formation systems in perverse ways, despite dramatic differences across countries. South Africa has the largest industrial base, but the manufacturing sector is shrinking, while in Ethiopia the manufacturing sector is very small but growing. Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda have shown promising economic development with some degree of industrial development in specific, but with different levels of democratic participation, while Ethiopia has been growing rapidly with wan authoritarian developmental state. Many African countries have large informal labour markets, while South Africa has an extremely large unemployment rate and a small informal sector. Despite these differences, the overall pattern of skill formation seems to be similar: continuous demand for general education and rising demand for higher education. Most countries have seen a considerable rise in levels of educational attainment over the past thirty years, with a steep drop off from junior secondary onwards (in Ethiopia somewhat earlier). In all countries studied to date, TVET systems are small and weak, and there are small numbers of trained, certificated, and formally employed skilled artisans or other mid-level occupations. A strong factor shaping the nature of the ET systems in all three countries is the difference between those who achieve in formal general education, access public sector or well-paid private sector jobs (or who can migrate), and those who do not complete formal education and remain, in the informal labour market or unemployed. It is the nature of the difference as well as the small size of the labour market for well-paid formal sector jobs, that is key in undermining the ability of education systems to develop the technical skills required for economic and social development.

14:55-16:25 Session 3A: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 1
‘The conduct of conduct’ of vocational teachers: Governmentality and teacher professionalism in VET

ABSTRACT. In this paper, I want to address the issue of teacher professionalism in VET through the perspective of governmentality. VET teachers are currently operating in a tense and challenging professional landscape. Educational reforms characterised by measurement (e.g. Biesta 2010), accountability (e.g. Sahlberg 2010) and quality assurance (e.g. Coates 2009) have established new norms of teacher quality and professionalism (Connell 2009). On the one hand, teachers should comply with the requirements and standards specified by educational policy which jeopardizes their professional autonomy. On the other hand, they should act as ‘the manager of their own responsibilities’ (Sallis 2002: 24) in order to develop educational quality in the best possible manner. While this creates new opportunities for teacher action in VET, vocational teachers’ conduct is at the same time shaped in a certain direction through indirect means of educational reforms. The main interest of this paper is to show which mechanisms of power appear through educational reforms and how they are structuring ‘the possible field of action’ (Foucault 1982: 790) of vocational teachers. I propose governmentality as a fruitful analytical framework for investigating these power mechanisms in VET. Foucault (1991) introduced the term governmentality to conceptualise political power beyond the state and to draw attention to ‘indirect mechanisms that link the conduct of individuals and organizations to political objectives through ‘action at a distance’’ (Miller and Rose 1990: 1). To illustrate governmentality as analytical tool, the Austrian VET Quality Initiative (QIBB) is used as an empirical example. QIBB is the overarching framework for extensive reforms in vocational schools including the implementation of educational standards, competence-orientated curricula and a quality management system. To answer the research questions semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 teachers from 9 different vocational schools in Austria. The aim of the interviews was to generate narratives about the personal experiences of the VET teachers concerning the subtle mechanisms of power. The paper will demonstrate that mechanisms of power in VET include practices and procedures of inscription, performativity and self-development which are shaping vocational teachers’ conduct differently. In part, teachers integrate these practices and procedures into their professional self-conceptions and align their own actions with the ends of government through ‘the arts of self-conduct’ (Perryman et al. 2017: 746). At the same time, critique and other forms of resistance become apparent, leading to unexpected behaviour.

*NOTE: Full references are included in uploaded PDF version of the abstract.

Understanding English FE professionalism as a strategic action field

ABSTRACT. The concept of professionalism in the Further Education (FE) sector is subject to varied interpretations, influenced by disciplinary assumptions, such as those fundamental to historical, cultural or sociological views. Alternatively, organisational or more concrete approaches make be taken by different stakeholders. Commissioned reports are often the culmination of already considered views but influenced by the vested interests of particular actors and therefore hold less weight in regard to strategic action. This variety of approaches to professionalism in the FE sector has progressed debate but has lacked a strategic focus, which means the insights offered have remained only fragments of a solution.

In this paper we present a conceptual framework which can encompass a variety of approaches and move the debate towards one that is more strategically focused. The framework emerges from a consideration of how strategic action field theory (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012) applies to the FE sector and affects the conceptualisation of ‘professionalism’ in this context.

According to field theory the FE sector is not stable because the field was set up divisively (during Incorporation) which means it is more likely to continue to generate competing interests and turbulent contestation. This contrasts with a field that develops from a more collaborative set of arrangements and gains some kind of settlement. The nature of the field has a major bearing on how the incumbents understand their position.

We consider how the Further Education sector has yet to find the stability that a strategic action field needs to maintain itself as a coherent policy field. This affects areas such as workforce professionalism. A failure to make adequate occupational distinctions has led to a constant blurring of roles within the workforce and attempts to establish areas of professionalism (2007-2011) have been followed by their disestablishment and deregulation, in which it is left to the employer to determine the designation of roles as teaching or otherwise. The theoretical approach taken by Fligstein and McAdam (2012) has the potential for the development of a better and more sustainable concept of professionalism in the FE sector for it interrogates the issue of how a non-co-ordinated economy can align vocational education and training with the labour market.

‘Anti-intellectualism’ in the VET sector in Australia: Manifestations and explanations

ABSTRACT. In a recent keynote speech in Australia, Mycroft (2018) referred to anti-intellectualism as a feature of the Further Education sector in England. This paper explores the nature of anti-intellectualism in the VET sector in Australia, discussing its manifestations in research and practice arenas, and offers some explanations for why anti-intellectualism is present and appears to be growing. Anti-intellectualism in VET typically manifests itself as an antipathy towards the Higher Education (HE) sector, and resistance more generally to cross-sectoral co-operation and to broader, collegial concepts of debate and critique. However it is not ubiquitous. Anti-intellectualism belies the considerable shared history of VET and HE. Institutes of vocational training established in the 19th century often had a broader, more educative, purpose and an intellectual tradition. Many Institutes developed into universities, yet the divide between VET and HE has recently widened. The paper is built on an analysis of reactions, via a structured validation process and in public forums, to the findings of a major national research project (2015-17) on VET teachers and their qualifications, led by one of the authors. The average qualification level of the VET teaching workforce has fallen since the 1990s (unlike other occupations). The project found that more highly-qualified teachers, particularly those with degrees, were generally better teachers and also more useful to their organisations. While many agreed with these findings, most were hesitant about the reception of the findings, and indeed some responses displayed open hostility to universities and to higher levels of education for VET teachers. These manifestations of anti-intellectualism are analysed for common themes and informed by additional evidence from the second author’s experience as a senior manager in the VET sector. Some possible causes are proposed arising from a number of recent developments in VET in Australia, which are discussed as background in the paper. These include problems with competency-based training; failed marketisation experiments; actual and/or perceived competition from HE; and a feeling of helplessness in the face of perceived degradation of the VET sector. Why does this trend matter? Anti-intellectualism restricts the development of the VET sector including the ability to train for more complex occupations in the economy, and also its capability to participate as an equal partner in national education policy. It impedes the individual and career development of VET teachers, and, arguably, that of students; and reduces the sector’s ability to adapt to change and to challenge change where necessary.

14:55-16:25 Session 3B: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 2
Can human capital be supplied as a club good? An analysis of apprenticeship under-investment in advanced manufacturing, England

ABSTRACT. One of the central challenges for the English Apprenticeship system is weak employer demand for skills, which translates into socially sub-optimal investment in training, and leads to acute local and industry-specific skills shortages. In advanced manufacturing in particular, the paucity of level 3-5 skills can negatively affect the deployment of skills which, in turn, affects business strategy, expansion and productivity. To address this issue, the UK government recently reformed the apprenticeship and the localism policies in England. ‘Local’, ‘employer-led’, and ‘independent’ approaches to governing the solution to this issue were centrally designed. In particular, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) were set up to enable ‘a strong, more responsive skills system’, using local governance, knowledge and expertise.

In this policy context, this paper conceptualises the problem of training under-investment as the collective-action problem of firms free-riding, which sees too few employers investing in training, too few well-rounded technicians trained, and an overall reliance on poaching which weakens trust amongst firms. The paper explores to what extent local institutions of governance such as LEPs can address this problem, and introduces the reader to local club-like institutional arrangements, which are employer-led and have the potential to answer the following question: can human capital be supplied as a club good? The findings will be illustrated with case study evidence of LEPs with automotive/aerospace as their growth sectors, and firms in automotive and aerospace industries across England. The theoretical point of departure of this paper is Elinor and Vincent Ostrom’ polycentric governance, and James Buchanan’s theory of club goods.

The ‘truth’ behind dual apprenticeship: looking at its cultural foundations

ABSTRACT. The rationale of this paper is to raise the question whether the affinity of Germany and Switzerland towards the dual apprenticeship system is mainly based on economic factors, i.e. the specific way apprenticeships serve the labour market and correspond with employers’ demands in a large range of occupational fields. Or if there is a more culturally based imprint which makes these systems work in a specific way. The cultural aspect directs our interest to something which is quite often beyond the topical focus of VET research: vocational education theory and the underlying concept of “vocation”, indicating more than “competences”, which seems responsible for quite a number of facets of dual apprenticeship training. Our paper tries to reconstruct both factors, the socio-economic and the cultural one, behind the institutional setting and the working principles of the dual system in the two countries in a comparative manner. Hereby our focus consists of three basic issues, of which one is a more general one, and two have a more specific character: • Why are dual apprenticeships particularly well-established in Germany and, even more, in Switzerland? • What is the historical role of the concept of vocation and vocational education when it comes to identifying the cultural and pedagogical mindset underlying VET in the two countries? • Is it still relevant to point to these factors once we want to explain why dual apprenticeships are difficult to establish in other countries, or is there a “modern” underlying rationale? The paper argues that in current debates about establishing or reinforcing dual apprenticeships, the cultural dimension related to the concept of vocation and the contextual cultural (historical, national and political) framing is underestimated.


DEISSINGER, Th. (2010). Dual System, in: Peterson, P./Baker, E./McGaw, B. (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd Edition, Vol. 8, Oxford (Elsevier), pp. 448-454. DEISSINGER, Th./GONON, Ph. (2016). Stakeholders in the German and Swiss vocational educational and training system: Their role in innovating apprenticeships against the background of academisation, in: Education and Training, Vol. 58, No. 6, S. 568-577. GONON, Ph. (2014). What makes the Dual System to a Dual System? A new attempt to define VET through a governance approach. bwp@, No. 25. Online: www.bwpat.de/ausgabe25/gonon_bwpat25.pdf. WINCH, Chr. (2006). Georg Kerschensteiner – founding the dual system in Germany, in: Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 32, No. 3, S. 381-396.

Apprenticeship Practice in England: New roles and professional formation

ABSTRACT. In addition to the vocational teachers and trainers common to most formal apprenticeships, competency-based systems encompass a third-party role of workplace assessors. These undertake short courses in assessment: staff are not regarded or trained as teachers. In England, changes following the Richard Review and the apprenticeship ‘standards’ have both narrowed the basis of lower-level apprenticeships and eliminated much of the routine work of assessors (Richard 2012; Fuller and Unwin 2017). With teaching qualifications no longer a legal requirement in England, many of these staff have now been allocated training roles. A government pledge to ‘ensure teachers’ knowledge and skills reflect up-to-date occupational standards’ (HM Government 2015, p.45) supported the development of a prototype course for assessors moving into training roles.

The accompanying study reported here examined how assessor/trainers’ practice had changed, in order to determine approaches informing their professional formation. The key research questions asked: What are the implications of new training roles and practices for VET educator professional formation in England? The study was carried out through semi-structured interviews of assessors moving into training roles (n=16).

Participants reflected whether these changes constituted a qualitative shift from the assessment practices (‘“Can you do the criteria?” And then tick it off… and there’s your qualification’) or continuation from earlier training practices in assessor roles. This variation was paralleled by that in emerging training practices. In fields with greater technical content, staff described a marginal role, teaching 'behaviours’ whilst technical aspects were still taught in classrooms; those in practice-based fields facilitated the whole learning programme. Yet the latter participants often experienced poor access to learning environments, especially for low-status employees.

These variations imply the need not for minimal professional formation but for more direct engagement with the problems of educational practice within production environments. On this basis, educators with industry-wide expertise that coaches or trainers restricted to one firm might not possess may provide additional dimensions to apprenticeship, important in a country where workplace knowledge and skills are too often designated as ‘the skills employers want’.

Fuller, A. & Unwin, L. (2017). Apprenticeship quality and social mobility. In Sutton Trust (Eds.), Better Apprenticeships (pp. 9–36). London: Sutton Trust. HM Government. (2015). English Apprenticeships, Our 2020 Vision. BIS/15/604. London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Richard, D. (2012). The Richard Review of Apprenticeships. London: Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

14:55-16:25 Session 3C: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 3
Researching characteristics of outstanding leadership and governance in vocational education using Q-method: findings from England, India and South Africa

ABSTRACT. The nature of leadership and governance in vocational education and training (VET) organisations is key to enabling learners achieve their ambitions and qualifications, and to remaining financially viable as providers of VET. This is particularly the case in policy environments where savage cuts to funding and relentless reforms to vocational qualifications have to be managed without compromising the quality of students’ learning and achievement. In these environments, the need to attain and maintain outstanding levels of leadership and governance become critical for educational and economic survival, especially for leaders and governors who are ultimately responsible and accountable for the quality of VET provision in their organisation. This context provides the background and reasons for undertaking the research reported in this paper. The paper reports on findings from a funded research project that investigated characteristics of outstanding leadership in different educational contexts and developed a reflective tool (a Q-sort) for leadership teams to use for organisational and personal development. The research project sampled perceptions of outstanding leadership across different age phases of education: primary, secondary and VET in both urban and rural locations and in selective and non-selective schools and colleges in England, India and South Africa. This paper will focus on the research findings in relation to VET contexts in England, which draw on the funded project, and follow-on research in India and South Africa. The project synthesised different stakeholders’ perceptions of characteristics of outstanding leadership using Q-method bringing together theory, practice and research on outstanding leadership. Q-methodology is a research method which originates from psychology and is used to study people's subjective viewpoints. In the research project, this methodology was applied to the study of enacted leadership practice in different educational contexts, using PQ software for data analysis. The stakeholders who contributed to the analysis presented in this paper consists of college leaders, governors, middle leaders, teacher educators, researchers and scholars with current or past experience of working in VET. In the paper presentation, the results from the PQ analysis will be discussed and the process for using the Q-sort with leadership teams outlined.

Governing for quality and social justice: the processes and practices of governing in UK further education colleges

ABSTRACT. The further education (FE) sector across the UK has faced radical restructuring at the present time, aimed at addressing the 'skills gap'. These changes have considerable implications for leadership and governance of colleges, and this paper reports on the first phase of a study investigating the practices of governing in the four countries of the UK, focusing specifically on one of these countries, namely England. The study’s overall aim is to illuminate what it is that governing boards actually do to ensure FE colleges achieve their strategic aims in meeting the needs of learners, employers and labour markets. A major concern for the study is how strategic decision-making addresses issues of both quality of provision, and offers provision that is equitable, promotes social mobility, and addresses questions of inequality and social justice. To gather in-depth data about eight institutions across the UK, the methods include video recording of governing body meetings, interviews with key informants within case study institutions, gathering of documentary evidence, and interviews with national policy actors in the four countries of the UK. This paper offers an analysis of data gathered in the college sites in England, focusing particularly on an analysis of video recordings of governing body meetings, supported by interview data and documentary analysis. The ways in which governing boards exert their influence is complex and under-theorised. This paper uses the work of Bourdieu to consider the practices of governing. It uses Bourdieu’s notion of social field to analyse constructions of power relations and influence in the FE field, and Bourdieu’s ideas concerning social practice to consider the processes and practices of governing. The paper considers the ways in which boards are positioned within complex policy/external contexts, including relationships with government, labour markets and employers. It examines how these external contexts within which boards operate are made visible in processes and practices of governing. It traces the development of strategy 'narratives' over time and asks, how do these narratives emerge and become stabilised or destabilised? If a key aim of FE is to promote social justice, how is this made manifest in the processes and practices of strategic decision-making? The paper concludes by considering what kinds of organisation are constructed through the processes and practices of governing at the current time, and in what ways such organisations are able to address issues of social justice and quality in a constantly changing world of skills provision.

14:55-16:25 Session 3D: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 4
Learning Outcomes for Credit Transfer in VET and Higher Education: International Policy Considerations and Conflictions

ABSTRACT. Collaboration among institutions in supporting student mobility is a matter of policy and practice. Student mobility encourages integrated qualifications, pathways between lower-level qualifications and higher-level qualifications, with multiple entry and exit points for improved educational opportunities. This movement supports social inclusion and equity through the attainment of higher-level educational studies and occupations. In the Canadian context, as a means of improving this system-wide movement, preliminary experimentation has surfaced provincially within Ontario regarding learning outcomes serving as a potential tool for advancing credit transfer arrangements. These deliberations provide an ideal opportunity to conduct a comprehensive and critical assessment of outcomes-based approaches as they impact student mobility and learn from international policies and procedures. International articulation and credit transfer initiatives among VET and Higher Education sectors have included learning outcomes and competencies with varying levels of success and these comparative cases form the foundation for our investigation.

This session will provide an overview of the Learning Outcomes for Transfer—Publication Project that aims to assess the theoretical and conceptual foundations, assumptions, and implications of using learning outcomes for the purposes of credit transfer and student mobility. A large-scale, assessment of outcomes-based approaches with a multivalent examination of their potential impacts has been conducted as a means of informing policy learning (Raffe, 2011). International scholars from the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and South Africa have written papers identifying analytical themes and learning opportunities in their jurisdictions. In response to these papers, our learnings from these international comparative cases will be presented highlighting various exemplars and paradigms alongside implications and recommendations.

Implications and recommendations include determining how to increase trust relations among institutions and system stakeholders; balancing power and conflicting expectations, incrementalism, and avoidance; designing cohesive curriculum that considers the construction of meaning and knowledge; encouraging authentic investment and organizational change; and evaluating the varying levels of outcomes and input/output measures required.

It is hoped that this research will assist in guiding decision-makers with their conceptions of whether they should invest in such an approach or consider collegial alternatives. Such work is necessary for informed decision-making and the establishment of tools, methods, and strategies that will advance this measure. We are exploring the next set of questions by identifying and problematizing core issues, analyzing these issues in relation to relevant conceptual models and precedents taken up in other jurisdictions, and providing a range of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities.

Learning to think alike: Using Sociocultural Discourse Analysis to explore examiners’ standardised professional discourse

ABSTRACT. In the UK, many school and professional qualifications are delivered and administered by Awarding Organisations. The administration of qualifications involves a great number of examiners who are responsible for assessing individual performances according to pre-specified mark schemes. In the case of the Awarding Organisation in this study, groups of examiners work under the remote supervision of a senior examiner (Team Leader [TL]). A TL is responsible for remotely overseeing the training of a group of examiners, and for ensuring that high quality marking performance is maintained throughout the marking period for that group of examiners. Feedback communication has an important role in this training and monitoring process. During the training and supervision period TLs give feedback to each examiner on their work quality via electronic mail or telephone messages. Sociocultural Discourse Analysis is a methodology for studying the use of language for collective thinking that employs methods informed by the traditions of Discourse Analysis, Ethnomethodology, and Corpus Linguistics. It was specifically designed for studying the talk of children working together in a group in a classroom, but it has also been used for studying talk amongst adults. In this article we discuss the use of Sociocultural Discourse Analysis for exploring the professional discussions of examiners who are involved in making assessments of the essays of school students. The study data comprises of 991 professional feedback interactions that take place remotely between three TLs and 27 examiners working for a UK-based Awarding Organization. We explain how and why the methodology was chosen and adapted, and show what its use reveals about collective intellectual activity in this particular context. The insights gained from the chosen methodology suggest that feedback interaction affords professional learning by allowing less experienced examiners an awareness of the marking procedures and linguistic interpretations that characterise the professional examiner community of practice. In addition, we also see how feedback is used to coordinate divided labour across the marking teams through becoming a form of unnoticed and taken for granted work that is carried out during interactions to ensure that coordinated task completion is managed.

Setting and maintaining standards in Applied General and Tech Level qualifications in England: what can we learn from empirical evidence?

ABSTRACT. In England, Applied General and Tech Level qualifications (AG&TQs) are offered by schools and colleges to learners aged 16 or above. AG&TQs are designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills needed for skilled employment or to continue to education through applied learning. They are available in applied subjects (eg, business, ICT, sport) and, although often taken as standalone qualifications, AG&TQs are increasingly held by undergraduates in combination with academic qualifications (eg, A levels). As part of the UK Government’s Post-16 Skills Plan aimed at creating a high quality Technical Education, these qualifications have undergone a period of reform. Most notably, reformed qualifications introduced for first teaching from September 2016 include a substantial amount (at least 30%) of external assessment.

There are around twenty Awarding Organisations (AOs) competing in this market. Although there are usually no more than five AOs operating in the same subject area, there is a risk of competition on standards, which is heightened by the lack of a shared awarding methodology designed to maintain standards. Previous research (Cuff, Zanini & Black, 2018) showed that pre-reform qualifications, that were fully internally assessed, suffered from grade inflation: in 2016 the probability of achieving a top grade in several AG&TQs was three times higher than in 2006, once the nature of the candidature was controlled for. Evidence on standards alignment in reformed qualifications, however, is scant.

Focussing on the first awards of reformed qualifications, the aim of this study is to analyse the comparability of standards across external assessments and qualifications offered in cognate areas by different Awarding Organisations. To do so we exploit a unique dataset resulting from the linkage of administrative records on learners’ performance from Awarding Organisations with data on students’ prior schooling and background characteristics from the National Pupil Database held by the Department for Education.

Using a range of statistical methods, including multi-level modelling and propensity-score weighting, this study provides robust evidence on the comparability of standards in these assessments and qualifications. Building on these analyses, a description of the composition of the cohort and of the factors affecting learners’ performance will also be presented. The evidence provided will then be used to discuss the development of an awarding methodology for the maintenance of standards over time and across AOs in the AG&TQs market. This will be ultimately aimed at ensuring fairness to learners as well as public confidence in these qualifications.

14:55-16:25 Session 3E: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 5
Embodied Learning in Vocational Education and Training

ABSTRACT. Researchers investigating learning from primary to higher education have emphasised the crucial role of embodiment in the process of developing knowledge, skills and expertise. In spite of this, the physical or psychomotor aspects of learning are vastly under-researched and undervalued in the literature on vocational education and training (VET). Such a marginalisation of embodiment and the physical is regrettable in that – in addition to its failure to sufficiently acknowledge defining features of much vocational learning – it serves to reinforce the notion that only the cognitive aspects of learning are of interest and value in vocational development. Such a partial and misguided conception contributes to the subordinate and second-class status of vocational studies against liberal/academic pursuits. It will be argued here that a re-examination of the role of the physical in VET can provide – not just a richer and deeper understanding of vocational learning – but also a means of enhancing the status of vocational pursuits within general education systems.

The Story of Distrust in Further Education: the role of narrative identity, positionality and metamorphosis in the construction of an authentic self

ABSTRACT. I have argued in previous work using the work of trust scholars (Lewicki et al. 1998; Rothstein, 2005; Sztompka, 2008) that the evolution of further education policy can be conceptualised as a move towards distrust; a process which has been influenced by an increasing preoccupation with the management of risk and movements towards uncertainty; lubricated by a precarious funding and policy environment (Donovan, forthcoming). This has had a lasting impact upon organisational culture, which continues to be fuelled by self-interested and risk-averse practices. In this paper, I extend these macro conceptualisations from a policy perspective to explore how our understandings of trust and distrust are constructed on a micro level within the origanisational environment. In doing so, this paper considers the impact that institutional disutrst has had upon how trust relationships are constructed within institutions.

Drawing upon recent PhD findings, I will demonstrate how notions of trust and distrust are constructed on a personal, and interpersonal, level in an organisational context. These notions of trust are explored through a case study with staff and student storytellers on a Level 2 programme within a Further Education College in the North of England. Using a Dialogical Narrative Analysis (DNA) approach (Frank, 2012), I have identified a series of narrative tropes relating to the construction of distrust, namely: 'Trouble, 'Oppression', 'Self-Preservation', 'Powerlessness' and 'Uncertainty'. The influence of these tropes informs how storytellers engage with the institution through the positionality of self in relation to others, temporality and identity. The findings of this study suggest that disposition towards distrust in the institution significantly effects the way interpersonal relationships are constructed from both a staff and student perspective. This appears to be further linked to the individual’s perceived level of fit into the culture of a competitive, marketised education system. In some cases, the influence of distrust is all-consuming, dominated by the aforementioned tropes. In others, the resistence of these storytellers to the dominant neoliberal narrative is foregrounded by a further trope, 'The Values of FE'; a story from which protagnoists draw strength in the face of their percieived oppression, and a space from which stories of transformation continue to flourish. The metamorphosis associated with this trope allows storytellers to be in touch with their Authentic Self. In this way, trust thrives where spaces to celebrate the values of social justice and pedagogic integrity are shrinking.

Digital poverty and vocational education

ABSTRACT. Social media is widely mooted as an enabler and enhancer of vocational education and training (VET) (Selwyn, 2013). Whilst this paper acknowledges the potential benefits, its main focus is to problematise some of the utopian assumptions that underpin such approaches. The paper draws upon the results of a narrative inquiry into the experiences of vocational students, who were supported through social media as part of a blended learning course at a UK university (Reynolds, 2018). Findings revealed that some of these learners displayed a ‘taste for the necessary,’ which Laura Robinson (2009) posits as a consequence of disadvantaged backgrounds. She provides a convincing argument that students from such backgrounds are more likely to be time-poor and to lack some of the cultural resources that make confident, open ended, divergent and playful online interaction educationally rewarding and pleasurable. Instead, they favour static, clearly delineated content and clear instructions that expedite and circumscribe their studies into manageable and predictable episodes. Interviews, online interactions and reflective writings of the students in this study were used to unpick and characterise in more detail this ‘taste for the necessary,’ constructing an index of the kinds of digital capital that learners need in order to profit from the more chaotic, fragmented and contingent learning that is a feature of learning via social media. It is important for VET practitioners to be aware of such needs when they deploy social media strategies for teaching and learning, so that they are better prepared to recognise and ameliorate some of the unexpected difficulties that VET learners might experience in online interaction.

Reynolds, C. (2018). Digital Hiatus: Symbolic violence in an online social learning network for master's level students at a UK University. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield

Robinson, L. (2009). A taste for the necessary: A Bourdieuian approach to digital inequality. Information, Communication & Society, 12(4), 488–507. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180902857678

Selwyn, N. (2013). Distrusting Educational Technology: Critical Questions for Changing Times. Routledge.

14:55-16:25 Session 3F: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 6
Transition from lower secondary school to vocational education

ABSTRACT. This paper reports from research of students` transition from lower to upper secondary school, vocational programmes in Norway. The presentation builds upon data from two qualitative studies. The first study examined 15- year old students` justifications for choosing vocational education and training (VET) in upper secondary school (Sandal & Smith, 2010). The second study followed case students through the first year in VET (Sandal & Smith, 2012). This paper will focus on some of the main findings concerning students` experiences with transition into VET and choice of VET, and discuss in relation to more recent studies in this field. Research in the field of educational choices have shown great interest in underlying causes for young peoples` various pathways into and through upper secondary school. Socio-economic background is often discussed as a main predictor of education, and identity formation is often used as an analytic concept for analysis in such studies. However, few studies have looked into students` experiences of transition and educational choices. The present study has therefore aimed at giving voice to students` own perceptions of choice of VET and transition processes. Choosing upper secondary school is based on students` awareness of their own abilities, interests, thoughts about future education and profession, motivation and abilities to realize personal educational and professional plans. In the two studies reported from in this paper, transition processes and educational choices were analyzed through the theoretical concepts of identity of Erikson (1992), Giddens & Schultz Jørgensen (2006) and Wenger (2006), as well as development of interest (Hidi & Renninger, 2006) and motivation (Bandura, 1995; Deci, 1992). Data was collected by an open questionnaire (N = 33) and interviews (N = 6) in 10th grade and in the first year in VET. Development of vocational interests and motivation for VET during lower secondary school seems to be an important factor in students` basis for choosing VET. VET interests are developed during self-regulated leisure activities, which arises questions concerning socio-economic background and childhood and youth environment. An important issue is how students are given opportunities to develop a VET interest in lower secondary school, since our data shows limited opportunities for doing so. The paper presentation will also show students` experiences with VET and the processes of developing a VET identity. The findings show different aspects of this development, as well as consequences when students choose VET despite lack of vocational interest.

How do vocational qualifications fit into students’ programmes of study following recent governmental reforms to 14–18 education?

ABSTRACT. The current decade has seen major reform to vocational education for 14–18 year olds in England, following the publication of the Wolf report (Wolf, 2011). This led to a more simplified qualifications landscape for students to navigate, with many of the pre-reform qualifications not meeting the Department for Education’s new eligibility criteria (DfE, 2015) and therefore excluded from performance tables. The ultimate aim of these reforms was to improve the quality of vocational education. However, whilst provision and uptake of vocational qualifications (VQs) in schools and colleges has increased in recent years, vocational education in England continues to be under-valued and sometimes treated as second-best to academic qualifications. This aim of this study was to investigate the role that VQs (e.g., Technical Awards, Applied Generals and Tech Levels) play in students’ educational pathways in the post-reform landscape, by exploring who takes them, how they fit into students’ programmes of study and how students progress with them. Considering all three of these aspects together will enable us to understand more fully the extent to which VQs constitute a valuable part of the curricula for 14–18 year olds. The study analysed data from two different sources. The first was the National Pupil Database, which contains educational data on all students at different key stages in their education. In particular, we analysed data on whole cohorts of students in Key Stage 4 (14–16 year olds) and Key Stage 5 (16–18 year olds). The second was UCAS’s university admissions data, which contains data on applications to Higher Education institutions in the UK made by students with specific VQs. For all analyses we used the most recent data available. In most cases, this was data on the cohort of students who were at the end of Key Stage 4 or 5 in 2016/17. A range of descriptive statistics were produced to understand the place and value of VQs in students’ programmes of study. Additionally, multilevel logistic regression models were fitted to understand the factors associated with the uptake of, and progression with, these qualifications. The outcomes of the statistical analyses showed (1) personal characteristics (e.g., gender, prior attainment, income-related deprivation) of the students who took VQs, (2) students’ programmes of study, including the number of vocational vs. academic qualifications and the subject overlap between them, and (3) progression with VQs to education destinations including progression in school/college and to university.

‘Jumping through hoops’: UCAS, BTEC and barriers to university entry and success.

ABSTRACT. Acceptance of BTEC as a university entry qualification, and incorporation of vocational admissions systems into an expanded Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), could be viewed as inclusive. This paper describes two projects that suggest the centralised UCAS system, originally created for a small number of elite universities, could exclude BTEC students, who may approach UCAS with less understanding of its complexity and how to successfully navigate the system than their A level peers.

In Project 1, 56 students (19 BTEC and 37 A level) from schools and colleges reflecting the range of 16-19 provision in England, described how they had researched, longlisted and shortlisted five universities for UCAS. In Project 2 (ongoing), 20 university students from BTEC courses reflected on their UCAS decision-making. In both projects, card-sort tasks created for the study were embedded within an interview format, ‘scaffolding’ each applicant’s reflections of a complex process and producing rich data describing the influence of teachers, tutors, family and friends.

Project 1 found that every vocational degree applicant received some rejections, but A level students were usually offered a place somewhere, whilst some BTEC students were not. Unplaced BTEC students shared four characteristics: making UCAS decisions late in the cycle; applying to only two or three universities; poor understanding of relative status of universities; not fully appreciating the competitive nature of vocational degree courses. Project 2 suggests that BTEC students experiencing difficulties at university may identify poorly-informed UCAS choices as a contributory factor.

Both projects indicated that BTEC students often believed their post-16 choice set them on a five-year VET programme to a professional qualification; those who were unplaced had not understood the power of UCAS to derail their plans and those who did enter university discovered that inadequate research of UCAS choices, particularly of teaching styles and assessment modes, could prevent them completing their degree. The formative, incremental assessment of BTEC, and supportive learning environment in which ongoing feedback could be sought and acted upon, jarred with a university experience that lacked the academic and pastoral support offered by BTEC, and a UCAS process in which a stranger could determine their future simply by rejecting an application form.

This research has policy implications for 16-19 information, advice and guidance, but with currently limited resources for IAG, advice for practitioners might be to ensure BTEC students’ use of resources is at least comparable to their A level peers.

14:55-16:25 Session 3G: Paper Session
Location: Pusey Room
Learning For Work: A Survey Among Engineering Associate Professionals In The Construction Industry

ABSTRACT. This article reviews a study that aims to investigate ‘learning for work’ of construction engineering associate professionals in the context of digital technologies, which I define as ‘tools and practices based on information and communication technology’. Since the world of work is argued to be changing and advanced digital technologies might change among other impacts, the required competences and the way how workers learn their ‘skills’ for work.

Given that current research indicates a gap in the academic literature on what is happening in jobs, and to what extent preparation for work takes place in vocational education or the workplace, there is a need to find out what is going on at work, and the implications for occupational preparation for work.

In general, occupational preparation for work is a form of preparing learners and equipping them with the ‘skills’ to perform in specific occupations and often ‘driven by demands of work tasks’(Littlejohn, 2018). This preparation can take place through work-place work-related, or work-based learning. The last is defined as ‘a structured programme of learning where work ‘skills’ are practised, or experienced, in a work-like environment’(Allan, 2015, p. 9) and the concept of the workplace as a site for vocational learning is dominant of which the theory is advocated by Hager (2012) and critiqued by Winch (2013). In the process of the development of such work ‘skills’, one has to understand the relationship between theory and practice (Hager, Lee, & Reich, 2012) and ‘use’ these skills in practical or professional settings (Winch, 2013).

In learning for work, there are two dominant conceptual approaches which are; First, ‘learning as acquisition’, which sees learning as a product with an outcome that happens through formal qualifications and courses. Second, ‘learning as participation and construction’, which sees work-based learning approaches as more relevant to learning for work. (Felstead et al., 2005a, p. 361; Felstead & Unwin, 2016) Before analysing ‘skills’, which I define as ‘skills and knowledge to execute the work-tasks of a worker’ and learning for work in the context of digital technologies, a first step in the empirical work of the study was to analyse skills and learning for work indicators irrespective of digital technologies, and the review thereof is what follows next.

Training strategies of German companies in India, China and Mexico: a qualitative analysis involving 103 subsidiaries

ABSTRACT. Focus The overall aim is to explore how German MNCs arrange Technical Vocational Education and Training at their subsidiaries in China, India and Mexico. 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 addition, the investigations 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.

Research Method The study relies on qualitative face-to-face interviews with experts in German companies in Mexico, India and China and interviews with local experts in the area of vocational education and training in the three countries. These are supplemented by documented plant tours and detailed literature review. In Mexico 46 subsidiaries and 17 other experts are included, in India 28 subsidiaries and 14 other experts and in China 29 subsidiaries and 12 other experts. Using additional expert interviews in German headquarters and VET institutions (10) the findings gained in the three countries could be reflected from a German perspective. For all interviews a semi-structured theory driven interview guideline was used. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed by qualitative content analysis and summarized into findings.

Findings The findings 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 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. It is notable that there are complex training structures for production specialists on one hand and onboarding programmes and on-the-job-training for the majority of workers on the other hand. The former contains influence of the German dual model while the ladder is rather orientated towards the local context. This might be explained through the fact that global players often have enough resources to establish their own training centres, but smaller MNCs need to adapt their training activities to the local context. Major challenges are caused by the little appreciation of VET which is found in all the countries. Due to unstable labour market structures the danger of poaching hinders their willingness to invest in training. In addition, they often struggle with the low quality of local vocational schools and a lack of experienced and qualified trainers.

14:55-16:25 Session 3H: Paper Session
Task Composition and Vocational Education and Training – A Firm Level Perspective

ABSTRACT. In Germany, firms act as gatekeepers who influence which school-leavers start an apprenticeship. The aim of my study is to examine the effect of firms’ tasks composition on the decision to provide apprenticeship training and on the educational level of new apprentices. So far, there has been little discussion about the relevance of tasks for vocational education and training. Autor et al. (2003) argue that the adoption of computer technology led to a decline in the demand of routine tasks whereas non-routine tasks gained in importance. Theoretically, each skill group could perform all task. Nevertheless, high skill workers are more productive in performing complex tasks. Because they rely on high skill workers to preform non-routine tasks, I assume that firms with high shares of analytic and interactive tasks have a lower need for medium skilled workers with a VET degree and thus offer less frequent VET. According to Autor 2013, I hypothesise that medium skill workers will not disappear but have to perform a greater amount of non-routine tasks. However, medium skilled workers with a VET degree show differences in skills depending on their school-leaving certificate. Graduates with an upper secondary school-leaving certificate (12/13 years of schooling, “Abitur”), acquire more human capital than graduates with a lower secondary (9 years of schooling) or an intermediate secondary school-leaving certificate (10 years of schooling). During the additional years of schooling, graduates with Abitur enlarge their capabilities in complex problem solving and communicating and thus acquire comparative advantages in preforming non-routine tasks. Consequently, I assume that firms with a high share of analytic and interactive tasks hire more likely apprentices with an Abitur. The study uses data from the BIBB Training-Panel, which is representative for German firms with at least one employee subjected to social security contributions. Because they include a special module of items about employees job tasks, I analyse the datasets of 2012, 2015 and 2016. I estimate a Logistic Random Effects Model with the shares of analytic and interactive tasks as main independent variables. Preliminary results show that firms’ task composition effects its decisions concerning VET. Although a high share of non-routine tasks does not influence firms’ decision to provide VET, firms with a high share of routine tasks are less involved in VET. Moreover, high shares of non-routine tasks come along with a higher demand of apprentices with an Abitur.

Amateurs, apprenticeships and college education: The teaching and learning of classical guitar makers in post-war Britain.

ABSTRACT. This paper discusses ongoing research that aims to understand how ‘luthiers’ or stringed-instrument makers (specifically, classical guitar makers) in the UK learn their craft and maintain their tradition through the teaching and learning of relevant knowledge and skills. Broadly, the research traces the historical and contemporary practices of luthiers within their social context, studying the early efforts of amateurs and DIY culture and the subsequent development of institutional programmes of study.

The mixed methods design combines: archival document research into both amateur and institutional histories; a survey of living classical guitar makers in the UK (n=61; population=103); a systematic review of the DIY classical guitar making literature; biographical interviews of luthiers (n=20); and an on-going case study of the Musical Instrument Craft degree programme at Lincoln College, UK, involving monthly observations, interviews (n=20), and documentary research.

A motivation for undertaking the research is the ‘Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts’ (2017), which developed a list of ‘heritage crafts’ in the UK that are at risk of dying out. A number of issues relating to the education and training of luthiers were identified as threatening the tradition. These include the difficulties of continuing training after completing a college course; securing such a position after college is difficult because it is often not economical for experienced luthiers to take on apprentices/trainees. Also, college courses are at risk because the numbers of students required to make them financially viable means that they are closing or accept too many students which, according to Radcliffe (2017), has a detrimental effect on the quality of training.

The research should also be understood in the broader context of contemporary craft education in the UK. According to research by the Craft Council (2016), since 2008 there has been a significant decline in the number of young people studying crafts at school and in further education; there are persistently low numbers of formal apprenticeships, and there has been a rapid decline in the number of craft-based HE courses.

The research is significant because no similar study of the 20th century development of lutherie in the UK has been undertaken and the transmission of the tacit and embodied knowledge and skills is at risk of being lost as older luthiers die and the sustainability of college courses become more precarious due to the changing funding and regulatory environment.

16:45-18:15 Session 4A: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 1
Vocational teachers in Sweden and Finland – a comparative study on their educational pathways

ABSTRACT. Comparative studies in VET frequently distinguish Vocational education systems by typologies. That is helpful to get orientation in the often very complex arrangements and network of stakeholders in VET systems. From that point of view the two VET system which are considered here look very similar including the cultural values of Nordic welfare state policy which are shared in both countries. As well Sweden as Finland have a school-based vocational education and training system, which is part of a compulsory upper secondary education and tries to relate to the needs of the labour market through work based learning periods. Inclusion and equity are strong aims as well to encourage the students for democratic engagement and competences for further studies. Vocational teachers must have experiences in working live in the vocational subjects they will have to teach. In order to examine the similarities and differences at the level of the actors, vocational school teachers from both countries are analysed with a quantitative survey, based on previous research and expert surveys in the countries. A five months research stay in the two countries opened the opportunity to supervise lectures on school level as well as on the level of teacher education and take part in research processes on PhD level in Tampere and Stockholm. The study was supported by the expertise of VET researchers in Finland and Sweden. In both countries efforts are currently being made to promote work based learning or apprenticeship models in vocational education and training, which also places changing demands on teachers as well as globalisation, digitalisation and inclusion. The online survey shows insights in the different educational pathways of the teacher as well as in their attitudes on aims and values of Vocational education. Relations can be analysed between regional and professional backgrounds and attitudes. The theoretical base of the study is a phenomenological approach of culture anthropology and vocational identity as well as the mentioned discourse on VET comparison research. It is assumed that the teacher’s different branches background have a stronger influence on their attitudes than their country and that the status of vocational training versus general education depends on the location of training in or outside metropolitan regions.

Development of an innovative programme: ‘Master of Education for Vocational Education and Training’

ABSTRACT. Since 2015, with preparations starting several years ago, Vocational Education at TUM School of Education (Technische Universität München/Technical University Munich) has been developing the innovative programme ‘Master of Education for Vocational Education and Training’. The first cohort started 2016 and will graduate in 2019.

The programme’s main purposes and goals are: Vocational education in Germany has suffered a shortage of teachers in the fields of metal technology, electrical engineering & information technology, as well as in physics and mathematics. The programme addresses this by offering an intensive, fast track to a career as well-trained teacher at vocational schools for those already holding a B.Sc. in Engineering Sciences. This formal prerequisite offers access to this career for a new target group that had previously been excluded from the professional prospects in this area. It is a holistic alternative to fragmentary short-track qualification opportunities for career changers. Moreover, the programme aims to improve the quality of vocational teacher education and training, to establish professional standards and to transfer findings and insights from this new and continuously updated programme to other fields of VET. With regards to the content and form of the programme, the main focus lies on enabling participants to develop and optimise the necessary skills to teach in the mentioned fields in only three years. The usual duration for such training is 10 semesters of university study followed by 2 years of placement training at a school. The new programme has been systematically refined. The curricula of two hitherto separate institutions – vocational education at TUM and Staatliches Studienseminar – have been accordingly aligned. A well-coordinated approach and collaboration enabled the creation of a three-year, intensive programme with joint responsibility for ensuring professional standards. It combines the academic Master’s course with a teaching practice course. Participants prepare, hold and reflect on microteaching sessions and regular classes with feedback from both scientists and fully-fledged teachers. In subject-specific sessions, participants develop lesson plans that integrate practice, pedagogic theory and insights gained from structured reflection. These and many other facets are subject to ongoing research at TUM School of Education in order to optimise teacher preparation for vocational schools. This new approach, as part of Germany’s VET system, will help to alleviate the shortage of teachers in the above-mentioned technical fields and generate synergy effects and important future benefits regarding professional standards in VET.

Video-based competence assessment in the vocational teacher training course in metal technology

ABSTRACT. The curricular demand of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs in Germany (KMK) for the vocational teacher education is to enable students to plan, perform and reflect on effective teaching (KMK, 2017). Up to now, university tutorials on teaching methodology (didactics) for the vocational teaching profession have been focused almost exclusively on the planning of lessons. The students' competence to carry out lessons or to reflect is being largely disregarded.

The application of video vignettes as one solution approach is examined for its suitability to gain professional competence. The video vignettes are suitable to gain professional competence through an authentic depiction of the teaching reality, particularly in the area of university teacher training (Riegel, 2013, pp. 14-15; Holzberger & Kunter, 2016).

This contribution deals with the theoretical background for the development of video vignettes in the industrial-technical part of vocational (teacher) education. Lindmeier, Heinze and Reiss (2013) proposed a model of professional competence mapping the KMK demand and, in addition to knowledge components, also including the competence components reflective competence (RC) with its distinction between preparation for lessons and lessons learned thereof and action-related competence (AC) in the implementation of lessons. In this context, Oser and Patry's (1990) differentiation between visual and depth structures in class observation seems to be appropriate, whereby some characteristics proved to be characteristics of effective teaching (e.g. Lipowsky, 2015; Praetorius, Klieme, Herbert, & Pinger, 2018).

The procedure for the development of video vignettes with regard to the production of the video material and the technical implementation is presented. In a first step, real lessons (Lindmeier, 2013; Seidel, Prenzel, Duit, & Lehrke, 2003) are recorded by means of standardised videography (Asbrand & Martens, 2018; Seidel et al., 2003) and split into sections in order to identify the characteristics of teaching quality of the RC and AC. We developed 21 video vignettes for RC (13) and AC (8), which could be very well identified on the basis of the theoretical framework. The analyses on evaluation objectivity have not yet been completed but indicate large fluctuations, e. g. Cohens Kappa varies between the RC (Kappa = 0.64) and AC (Kappa = 0.47).

It can be stated that for the first time theory-based video vignettes were developed for the vocational teacher training course in the German-speaking area, which correspond to the KMK requirements and can also be integrated into university seminars on didactics.

16:45-18:15 Session 4B: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 2
The impact of digital innovation on education, training and skills - some initial thoughts

ABSTRACT. This paper explores how digital innovation (broadly defined) might impact on education, training and skills across the UK economy and labour market. The paper argues against simple versions of technological determinism, and suggests that there are a range of factors that will help differentiate the scale and nature of impacts across countries, including economic incentives, labour market structures and different models for managing the employment relationship and skills provision.

It looks at current labour market and skills trends, which may be exacerbated by technological change, at the nature of ‘digital skills’ and the broader impacts of digitalisation on skills, how the UK government is responding, and what some early indications suggest may be potential avenues for further research and thinking. In particular it argues that many of the most profound implications for skills will tend to be the unintended result of changes that, in themselves, were not seen as being linked to skills issues. Finally, it contrasts approaches across the four UK nations, and with policy development in other countries, such as Germany.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution - Implications for VET

ABSTRACT. The paper engages with a diverse and contradictory literature, employing an analytic stance rooted in policy scholarship. It discusses rhetorical constructions of the 4thIR, locating these in neo-liberal understandings of the economy, which rest upon a capitalist terrain. The 4thIR is an ideological construct which reflects specific material interests, that have particular implications for education and training. The 4thIR’s association with digitalisation and artificial intelligence is ambivalent. For some writers this leads to technological unemployment whilst for others, there is no employment crisis that cannot be resolved. The relationship between the 4thIR and labour market requirements are softened by those adopting a qualitative analysis of advanced manufacturing work. These writers suggest the relationship between technology and skill is more complex than the protagonists of technological unemployment suggest. Neo-Marxist discussions of the elimination of labour from paid employment and the falling rate of profit, bypasses the former arguments. These processes are embedded in capital’s developmental logic and raise questions about important socio-economic and political issues concerned with the expulsion of labour from waged employment – the salience of surplus labour and the wider political and educational responses. In the case of the former a universal basic income is a way of responding to a restricted labour market. In the latter we encounter well-rehearsed arguments that stress the importance of lifelong learning in relation to up- and re-skilling alongside an emphasis on soft skills. The paper draws out the implications for VET and what might constitute a progressive educational response. The key question is whether we need to rethink VET in putative new conditions. Many writers concerns with lifelong learning and the requirement for continuous up- and re-skilling together with the development of soft skills reflect discussions that have been reiterated over the last 30 years – there is nothing new here. Is there something qualitatively different in the current conjuncture that necessitates a fundamental review of what constitutes VET and its relationship with wider society? Technology and AI are entwined with social relations, being sites of class struggle. How this is played out is an outcome of the balance of power, both within the social formation and globally. How far the development of the forces of production are compatible with capitalist relations is a moot point, as it is also a site of struggle.

How digitization affects professions – a closer look at two different occupations

ABSTRACT. The advancing digitization leads to significant changes in the working environment across all industries and thus to changing qualification requirements of skilled workers. Up to now the majority of studies addressing the changing qualification requirements are cross-occupational (e.g. Hartmann & Bovenschulte 2013, Hammermann & Stettes 2016) and thus don’t focus on any professional particularities. To fill this gap, 14 different occupations of the German dual system from the sectors production, craft and agriculture, which are already partially or fully affected by digital transformation, were examined. This screening was part of the joint initiative "Vocational Education and Training 4.0" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).

The research questions were: • Which digitization approaches can be found in company practice? • How are activity profiles changing? • Which competences are necessary for the professionals? • How are professions as a whole changing? • To what extent fit these new activities and competences to the existing training occupations and advanced training?

The study consisted of a qualitative phase in which 6-12 site inspections per occupation were carried out. During these inspections workplace observations took place as well as semi-structured, guide based expert interviews with professionals, trainers and CEOs. The results of this phase served as base for an online survey with 2087 participants. Target groups for this survey were professionals, trainers and supervisors. The presentation will show the main results for two different occupations: farmer and mechanic in plastic and rubber procession. Several examples will demonstrate that although partly similar digital technologies are important for the two occupations their impact on the work activities differs. Moreover it will be pointed out that even if the same change of activity is to be observed (e.g. shift from practical to cognitive work), the resulting qualification requirements differ. Some examples will be given, that behind the competencies frequently mentioned in the context of digitization such as handling of data and process knowledge, the specific manifestations often vary widely, with respect to the occupation in question. As a consequence it is assumed that also the further development of the two occupations will be different. All things considered it becomes obvious that if we want to support existing training occupations in times of digitization, if we want to maintain and therefore adapt the contents of the respective vocational training, we need to take a close look to the workplaces to recognize the distinctive features and to apply occupation-specific measures.

Literature Hammermann A, Stettes, O (2016) Qualifikationsbedarf und Qualifizierung. Anforderungen im Zeichen der Digitalisierung. IW policy papers 3/2016. Köln.

Hartmann E, Bovenschulte M (2013) Skills Needs Analysis for “Industry 4.0” based on Roadmaps for Smart Systems. In: SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management & International Labour Organization (ed.) Using Technology Foresights for Identifying Future Skills Needs. Global Workshop Proceedings, Moscow: 24-36.

Project reference: https://www.bibb.de/en/49603.php

16:45-18:15 Session 4C: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 3
Assembling Apprenticeship in Aotearoa

ABSTRACT. Apprenticeship has social and economic potential as a cost-effective and efficient approach to skills formation for the apprentice, employer and government. A fully optimized model of apprenticeship could move Aotearoa New Zealand towards a high skill equilibrium system, linking skill formation to increased productivity and citizen employability (Piercy & Cochrane, 2015). To date, despite a range of policy initiatives, the link between skill formation and productivity has, however, not been realised. Research suggests this policy failure rests in too great a focus on supply issues - stocks of qualifications and completion rates of them -rather than being equally attentive to issues of demand, development and deployment of skills (Anderson & Walhurst, 2012). In a globalised knowledge economy (Castells, 1996), tertiary education has moved towards a market-based model that aims to function collaboratively in pursuit of a comprehensive and seamless tertiary system that can improve Aotearoa’s lagging productivity in the OECD (McCann, 2009). This system has a diverse range of organisations, industries, cost structures, and operating models (Industry Training Federation, 2016). Jackson & Jordan (2000) note that policy makers, apprentices and other stakeholders find themselves in contested territory; ‘coordination issues have plagued the system’ (Piercy & Cochrane, 2015, p. 64). For the system to move towards achieving ‘optimal conditions for skill development’, partnerships need to be strengthened (Dalziel, 2014). However, other factors such as technology, qualification structures, institutional norms, stakeholder governance regimes, school qualifications, standard operating procedures, legislation, health and safety legislation, funding, timetables and so on all have an impact and require analysis. In this paper, I explore the potential of using Actor-Network Theory to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the policy context and its challenges. ANT is an approach that is amendable to contexts where change is frequent, when innovations are prolific, where multiple threads of relationship form and reform between human and non-human actors. Its use is burgeoning in international research in a range of disciplines given its focus on tracing and making explicit how a particular configuration has come together, how and by what it is held together, and how it might be alternatively put together. This alternative approach can refer to different ideas, different priorities, different architecture, different values, different curriculum, different resources, different ‘standards’, different staff, different notions of time and place. The paper introduces and presents the first phase of a multi-level research project and includes documentary analysis to frame its argument.

Understanding apprenticeships in Europe. A new conceptual framework for the changing notion of apprenticeship

ABSTRACT. In the aftermath of the Great Recession the apprenticeship systems of the D-A-CH region as well as of Denmark and the Netherlands have been highly praised for their positive impact on the labour market entry of graduates. This has led to a renaissance of apprenticeships and new approaches throughout Europe.

Despite the political will and the efforts of many countries to set up new or renew apprenticeship schemes (e.g. in Sweden, Slovakia) it seems that apprenticeships in Europe have lost ground at the expense of higher, school-based vocational education in the last 20 years. On the one hand, the traditional model of apprenticeship defined as a specific type of programme with an equally specific qualification which aims to qualify people as skilled workers seems to have diminished (e.g. in in Germany, Austria, Denmark). On the other hand, in contrast a model is on the rise in which apprenticeship is only seen as a specific mode of dual learning which is not restricted to the level of skilled workers or a particular type of programme (e.g. in Finland, France and the UK).

This development could be described in a positive sense as an expansion of apprenticeships, alternatively as the dilution of the traditional notion of apprenticeship. The changing notion of apprenticeship and the fact that the number of countries and systems included into the scope of comparative studies has expanded, has led to many new misconceptions about apprenticeships. The paper presents a new way of classifying apprenticeships based on 30 Europe-wide apprenticeship schemes provided by a recently published Cedefop database. We suggest four logics and key purposes which today’s apprenticeships seem to follow: (1) enterprise training (training new staff and reduce recruitment costs), (2) professional education (becoming part of the professional community), (3) school or university education (personal development and citizenship) and (4) public training scheme as part of active labour market policy (re-/integration into the labour market).

Considering the various ongoing changes in apprenticeships in Europe there seems to be a trend towards the prevalence of the school/university logic. It is very likely that apprenticeships in the 21st century become a particular approach of dual learning within the overall paradigm of lifelong learning. This is a clear departure from the traditional definition associated with the idea of craftsman and skilled worker education in the centuries before. Thus, the classification of apprenticeship schemes presented should facilitate international comparison and collaboration.

The social status of apprenticeships: Retail and bricklaying apprentices’ construction of valuable occupational identities.

ABSTRACT. Apprentices do not only acquire occupational competence during VET, they also transform their personal and social identities on their way to developing occupational identities. As apprentices construct these identities in relation to others, they also deal with the social status that is accorded to their apprenticeship; that is the social valuation based on, among other aspects, required education, future rewards and authority.

In Switzerland, VET is often perceived as a popular training option after compulsory education – two thirds of young people opt for an apprenticeship rather than an academic program– which is also valued because of its high potential to integrate into the labor market. This presentation adds nuance to this positive picture by examining in a comparative perspective how apprentices in retail and bricklaying are faced with questions of low status or recognition, and accordingly employ strategies to construct valuable occupational identities.

The analysis is based on a qualitative study with retail and bricklaying apprentices conducted in five Swiss VET schools in 2013/14 and 2018*. In order to examine their occupational identity work, observations during courses and pauses, group discussions and semi-structured interviews with apprentices (25 per apprenticeship) have been conducted. Transcribed data was analyzed by the Grounded Theory Methodology.

The question of occupational status is raised differently in the two apprenticeship contexts. During interactions with various others, retail apprentices are faced with the judgement that there work is perceived as a job that can be done by anyone and that it does not require specific occupational skills. Bricklaying apprentices experience less devaluation but they are faced with judgments (compared to white-collar workers) about the manual nature of their work and related working conditions (e.g. health problems) and skills (e.g. manual over intellectual).

The apprentices are active agents and develop identity strategies that help them raise their status. First, they draw on narratives to valorize their intellectual capacities (e.g. communication and emotional skills for retail clerks vs. mathematical skills for masons) and occupational skills (e.g. extended knowledge about retail products vs. construction work as a craft). Second, retail apprentices build on the prestige of the object of their activity (brands or products) while bricklaying apprentices highlight more often the positive aspects of the work activity itself (e.g. diverse, tangible). Finally, both interpret their apprenticeship as a step to more prestigious career positions. However, bricklaying apprentices see their future more often within their sector compared to retail apprentices, who are faced with less favorable working conditions and career perspectives in retail.

The paper highlights the lack of recognition which is an important challenge for apprentices trained in low status apprenticeships. Their capacities to reinterpret their low status and to construct valuable occupational identities are a necessary precondition for engaging in their apprenticeship, as much as are decent working conditions. The presentation points to persistent social inequalities within the Swiss VET system.

*This presentation is part of a larger study financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

16:45-18:15 Session 4D: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 4
The effects of neoliberalism on the agency of vocational students in China
PRESENTER: Lesley Doyle

ABSTRACT. Vocational education in China has been failing to meet the need for skilled manpower to support the country’s rapid industrial growth and ability to compete (Stewart, 2015). Since the start of the reform era in 1978, it has been politically and financially neglected in favour of university expansion (Klorer and Stepan, 2015, p. 4). Being positioned at the bottom of the Chinese educational hierarchy (Mok, 2001, Stewart, 2015), vocational education has been seen as inferior to academic routes (Yang, 2004; Zha, 2011) with vocational students regarded as ‘educational failures’ and suffering considerable prejudice in Chinese society (Woronov, 2015). Their experiences and their capacity for making choices have received limited attention in the literature. Drawing on the students’ choice-making process in both public and private vocational colleges in China, this paper explores youth agency in relation to the impact of neoliberalism on China. The findings indicate that the young people are subjected not only to the centuries-old meritocratic discourse still strong in China (Kipnis, 2011) but also to the notion of agency and freedom to choose offered by market egalitarianism and ‘responsibilitization’ of the self (Rose, 1992). We draw on Marxist notions of false consciousness (Engels, 1893) and Gramsci’s (1971) idea that hegemonic rule relies on voluntarism and participation, rather than coercive threat and punishment. Whilst we make no assumptions about the intentions of government in China, we argue that the agency of these young people is based on an illusion that personal decisions will result in success and being highly regarded in society, which helps to sustain the hegemonic control neoliberalism needs to survive globally. Meanwhile the attitude of Chinese society to vocational education students is working against the government’s goal to improve the country’s skills base.

VET, democracy and philanthropy: exercising ministerial responsibility

ABSTRACT. Based upon extensive research in a single jurisdiction, this paper explores the possibility that a similar pattern of behaviour on the part of cabinet ministers with responsibility for technical and vocational education and training can be established elsewhere. By comparing three parliamentary democracies that have assumed increased levels of local decision-making regarding the expenditure of public funds, common patterns of conduct have been identified. The shared actions of publicly elected parliamentarians are similar to those exhibited by wealthy philanthropists in that both have access to large amounts of money and are in pursuit of specific social and economic agendas for improving the lives of targeted groups of residents. It is concluded that in order to influence these vocational education and training policy decision-makers, an understanding of what motivates philanthropic styles of behaviour must be explicitly articulated and used to frame the presentation of desired programmatic outcomes when interacting with cabinet ministers.

Sustaining the neoliberal ideology: modes of regulation, control and evaluation in FE inspection policy

ABSTRACT. This paper argues that the new (Nov 2018) Ofsted ‘Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook’ strengthens the neoliberal project in education. The argument is based on a Foucauldian and Marxist analysis of the nature and effects of marketisation and surveillance in education and how it changes the meaning of teaching and learning in FE. I will focus on Ofsted’s inspection framework as a neoliberal form of disciplinary power with regard to its methods used to scrutinise the pedagogical operation in FE colleges, and a particular type of knowledge and thinking it considers beneficial in terms of meeting the regulatory demands of the agency as well as providing a means for understanding the discourses of standardisation and accountability. I will draw on Ritzer’s (2011) concept of McDonaldisation to discuss the ways principles of the fast-food chain have influenced the society we live in, and how Ofsted policy is a response to business needs, based upon the business principles of efficiency, predictability and calculability. In the light of ongoing cuts to government funding for FE, such strategy involves carrying out a range of tasks on a tight budget in a measurable manner, so success and failure is easy to determine in terms of rewarding and punishing providers with ‘outstanding’ and ‘inadequate’ grades; the labels, some believe, are inevitable parts of being a competitive and productive FE college. Ofsted continues to deploy the discourses of transparency and accountability within market-based parameters such as performance indicators and monitoring systems whereby institutions are expected to self-regulate their operation. Foucault would describe the inspection process as a ‘technique … to direct the conduct of men’ (Foucault, 1982: 37). Behind the guise of transparency is the idea that there is an imperative to record, document and attach performance targets to ensure responsibility (O’Brien et al, 2012 in Jankowski & Provezis, 2014: 478). In this process, the localised and varying social needs of the providers in different parts of the country seem to have been overlooked. Foucault’s work helps us understand the extraneousness of the universalising accountability process in assessment practices. ‘All my analyses are against the idea of universal necessities in human existence’ (Foucault, 1982: 10). The Ofsted inspection paradigm, I argue, could be seen as a specific technology of power pertaining to economic rationality that seeks disciplined institutions producing disciplined and responsible consumers for a cost-transaction society.

References Foucault, M. 1982. Is it really important to think? An interview translates by Thomas Keenan. Philosophy Social Criticism, 9. 30-40.

Jankowski, N & Provezis, S. 2014. ‘Neoliberal Ideologies, Governmentality and the Academy: An examination of accountability through assessment and transparency’. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 46/5: 475-487.

Ritzer, G. 2011. The McDonaldisation of Society: An Investigation into the Changing Character of Contemporary Social Life. Los Angeles. SAGE.

16:45-18:15 Session 4E: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 5
Typical education histories and career paths – competition and complementarity between vocationally and academically qualified employees

ABSTRACT. The relationship between higher vocational certificates and higher education certificates – in particular with regard to their usability on the job market –has been discussed in the course of the higher education structural reform and in the context of the equivalence of higher education and vocational qualifications as stipulated in Qualifications Frameworks. Competition between higher vocational education and training certificates and bachelor's and master's degrees can occur in the employment system in particular when there are similarities with regard to the demands on the activities to be performed. At the same time, complementary qualification profiles can be observed where companies tend to differentiate into different tasks and areas of work accordingly. Surveys have shown that there are differences between the industry sectors and that the company-internal personnel structure and the training activity of the companies influence the competitive relationships. The paper presents the concept and the conclusions of a project (duration I/2016 – II/2019) carried out at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) in Germany. The project aims to trace typical qualification sequences and career paths in selected industry sectors (commerce, banking, logistics, tourism) and identify competition situations with academic education (bachelor's and master's degrees). The usability on the job market (for example, employment status, position, income) of selected qualifications is evaluated from the companies and the individuals perspective. Corresponding vocational and academic qualifications were examined by means of document analysis. An analysis of job offers in the media with regard to the respective company positions and activities was carried out as well. In addition, the recruitment strategies of the enterprises in the above industry sectors and the criteria relevant to them were examined more closely by means of case studies and also by a company survey covering more than 800 companies. Finally a follow-up survey to the 2018 BIBB/BAuA Employment Survey of the Working Population on Qualification and Working Conditions in Germany was carried out. This is expected to deliver insights into the usability of vocational and academic qualifications on the job market from the individual point of view. Therefore the project covers both perspectives on the value of different qualifications. The main conclusion is the development of qualification profiles for vocational education and training which are perceived by companies and by individuals as an attractive and equivalent alternative to academic education.

Agency versus structure: TVET college students talking about their career choices

ABSTRACT. Despite Vocational Education and Training (VET) moving to the centre of political reform targeted at unemployment, poverty alleviation and economic growth, Powell and McGrath (2014) show that research and policy has been completely unconcerned with why students enrol in TVET or for that matter how they end up in their respective programmes. Drawing on interviews undertaken for Lucky Maluleke’s doctoral study with 16 individuals, this paper examines the career choices of a small sample of VET learners enrolled at a South African TVET college in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, South Africa. The paper builds on a body of literature that seeks to understand student experiences of TVET. Specifically, it builds on Powell (2012; 2013; 2014) , Powell and McGrath (2014), Bloomer (2001), Hodkinson (1998), Hodkinson (2008), Hodkinson and Sparkes (1997), Hodkinson, Sparkes and Hodkinson (1996) . Alike to these authors, the paper locates within an interpretivist epistemology. Data was collected using individual and group interview methods, which were later transcribed and analysed thematically.  

Theoretically, the study is built on the ‘careership’ model – a theory developed in the United Kingdom by Hodkinson, Sparkes and Hodkinson (1996). The paper concludes that while social and economic capitals definitely matter, that the effect of these capitals are not totalising and cannot predefine in deterministic ways the career choices of VET students. The paper also highlights the importance of understanding the reasons for students enrolling in TVET. In particular, the paper highlight four aspects that highlight the complexity of TVET career choices. (i) First is that it shows that there are countless factors that influence career choices of TVET College students. (ii) Second, and importantly, it highlights a tension between agency and social structure that is worth understanding and unpacking as we consider the implications for TVET policy and practice. (iii) Third, is the argument that research and policy should not treat humanity as a whole or homogenous group, because such approaches do not help us to understand factors that influence individual actions and choices.

How rational is occupational choice? – Or: Do market conditions contribute to expectancy beliefs?

ABSTRACT. According to expectancy-value models adolescents adjust their occupational aspiration to environmental constraints and opportunities in order to maximize their chances of getting an apprenticeship place (e.g. Gottfredson, 1981; Tomasik et al., 2009). Thus, individuals’ expectancy beliefs of being successful in and getting access to an occupation are decisive factors in occupational choice.

Previous research has shown that individuals derive their expectancy beliefs from personal characteristics (e.g. gender, school leaving qualification) and social factors (e.g. feedback from others) (e.g. Eccles, 1987). Whether they also reflect on training market conditions when building their expectancies has hardly been researched (Glauser & Becker, 2016). This is surprising since particularly in countries with a market-driven apprenticeship system like Germany the ratio between training demand and supply – irrespective of other factors – determines adolescents’ chances of getting a training position.

Against this background, the paper aims to answer the question whether the occupational and regional opportunity structure influences adolescents’ expectations of getting access to training. In accordance with theory, we assume that market conditions should predict – amongst other factors – expectancy beliefs.

For the analysis we used data from a written postal survey on training applicants registered with the German Federal Employment Agency in 2014 (n =500). For each applicant we calculated demand-supply ratios representing the different occupational and regional training market conditions in Germany. Applying linear regression models, we then estimated the influence of market conditions on applicants’ anticipated chances of getting access to an apprenticeship place in a certain occupation. Additionally we controlled for variables relevant to expectancy beliefs(e.g. gender, self-efficacy beliefs).

Against our assumptions, the results indicate that adolescents largely ignore the training market conditions when building their expectancies. Instead, they focus on personal characteristics like school certificates.

References Eccles, J. S. (1987). Gender Roles and Women´s Achievement‐Related Decisions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 11(2), pp. 135‐172.

Glauser, D. & Becker, R. (2016). VET or general education? Effects of regional opportunity structures on educational attainment in German-speaking Switzerland. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training, 8(8), pp. 1-25.

Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). Circumscription and Compromise: A Developmental Theory of Occupational Aspirations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28(6), pp. 545-579.

Tomasik, M. J., Hardy, S. A., Haase, C. M., & Heckhausen, J. (2009). Adaptive adjustment of voca-tional aspirations among German youths during the transition from school to work. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74(1), pp.38-46.

16:45-18:15 Session 4F: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 6
Shifting perspectives: A realistic approach to integrate work-based learning and college-based learning

ABSTRACT. The emerging landscape of the new world of work, due to the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is increasingly impacting economies, governments and society at large. There is a major probability that workers or employees of all types of occupations and professions will be affected by digitalisation. Changes due to the digitalisation of work may threaten to shift our relationship with the workplace. That is, technology could influence the number and nature of jobs in the future. These changes raise new challenges for the preparation of the future workforce through education, training and learning. In order to support our vocational graduates to embrace the constant changes due to the introduction of new technologies and tools in the workplace, we as vocational teachers should ask ourselves one fundamental question: What do we want our vocational graduates to become? By asking this question, we recognise and acknowledge the skills needed to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, and the qualities needed to adapt to constant change in the work landscape. That is, graduates or future workforce are expected to have the agility and capability to learn to address unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar context. Conventional approaches to teaching and learning that draw on the ‘learning as acquisition’ metaphor are no longer adequate to prepare the future workforce. To address the aforementioned question, vocational teachers need to view learning as a sense of becoming and to provide learning opportunities, which could involve individuals transitioning between the college setting and the workplace setting. This transition could develop their sense of capability in addressing any unfamiliar issues encountered during work-based learning. Against this backdrop, this paper aims to highlight the importance of workplaces as learning spaces for individuals to learn the vocation’s cultures and practices as these are integral to becoming of a particular vocation.

Developing technical/disciplinary knowledge: the case of project-based learning in engineering

ABSTRACT. At UCL Engineering, Project-based Learning (PjBL) has been an integral feature of the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP) undergraduate curriculum since 2014. PjBL at UCL aims to reflect the professional realities of the modern engineering workplace by providing students with authentic learning experiences which are designed to embed team working and collaboration, problem solving and solution-finding, alongside the development of technical knowledge and skills (Mills and Treagust, 2003). As studies in engineering education confirm, however, whilst collaborative, inquiry-based pedagogies such as PjBL are increasingly common in engineering education, there is an absence of research which captures how students participate and engage in such activities. This absence means that there is limited insight gained and little knowledge of the challenges that students face and, consequently, the resources required or nature of the support needed for learning through inquiry (Damşa & Nerland, 2016). This paper makes a contribution to this research by drawing on findings from a collaborative research project. Our collective interest as engineering educators and educationalists was with the nature of learning in PjBL. Two research questions framed the project: What is the nature of the learning in specific PjBL engineering contexts? and How do students describe what and how they are learning? Observation of nine separate first and second-year PjBL scenarios and discussion with engineering undergraduates in situ reflected the diversity of engineering disciplines in the faculty. All interviews were transcribed and analytic themes were generated to capture the learning across the various disciplinary and interdisciplinary scenarios. Our analytic framework draws on sociocultural perspectives and on notions of learning through participation. In this paper, we highlight the development of technical/disciplinary knowledge through PjBL activities. Our findings evidence how focusing on an authentic project not only developed understanding of content to which students had been introduced, but also facilitated technical knowledge creation, in that students were putting knowledge to use (Guile, 2010) in new and unique ways through identifying problems and seeking solutions. We also identify the challenges faced by students in putting knowledge to use in different domains. These findings are significant for vocational education and training (VET) in general because it draws attention to the potential of process-led pedagogic practice as providing a space for the development of knowledge. Additionally, it directs attention towards the support and/or resources required for successful inquiry-based learning in VET.

16:45-18:15 Session 4G: Paper Session
Location: Pusey Room
TEACHER TEAM DEVELOPMENT IN THE VET-SECTOR. Towards team-oriented HRM in VET institutions.

ABSTRACT. The Dutch vocational education sector has implemented competence based- or profession oriented education as means to increase student motivation and achievements as well as a means to better meet the demands of the labour market (Biemans et al., 2004). This implies that the competencies needed in practice and vocational core problems form the starting point for curriculum development instead of the individual disciplines. Because of this multi-disciplinary character of educational programs, which urges teachers with different expertise to collaborate with each other, teacher teams instead of individual teachers are held responsible for the development and execution of education. Being member of a team, however, not automatically leads to cooperation. That is, since teachers have long been used to working autonomously, teamwork implies a rather huge change. Former studies suggested that team-oriented HRM can enhance team performance through an increase of team commitment and team learning (Bouwmans et al., 2017). The proposal at hand describes the outcomes of a qualitative study which investigated the degree and form in which Dutch VET institutions make use of team-oriented HRM as means to promote team working amongst teachers. The study consisted of a 1) focus group interview with representatives of the Ministry of Education, the VET council and different actors from VET institutions (teachers, team leaders, HR professionals) and 2) case studies of seven VET teams. In the study, the ability-motivation-opportunity (AMO) model is used to identify specific team-oriented HR practices: this model states that increasing employees’ abilities (A), offering them motivational incentives (M) and opportunities to perform (O), ultimately increases organisations’ performance (Appelbaum et al., 2001). The study shows that VET institutions advocate the importance of team work but that HRM is still individually oriented. Hence, team leaders are often the ones that have to develop and execute team oriented HRM themselves. Moreover, when team oriented HRM is present, the abilities and motivation of team leaders determine the quality in which it is executed. This picture resembles the situation in other sectors (e.g. Bos-Nehles, 2013) and urges VET institutions to develop team oriented HRM and to pay more attention to the HR role in management development trajectories for team leaders.

A socio-technical approach to dealing with heterogeneity in the vocational classroom: the Teachers' Diagnostic Support System (TDSS)

ABSTRACT. The professional demand for adapting instructional actions to respond to different learner needs is particularly high in vocational education. Dissimilar learning prerequisites in class members constitute one source of diversity (e.g., Pithers, 2002). More precisely, adaptive strategies of instruction require teachers to consider (1) interindividual variability between students in a class (e.g., differences in prior knowledge), (2) intraindividual variability of students (e.g., different stages of the learning progress), as well as (3) interactions between students and didactical arrangements (e.g., interactions between different levels of knowledge and different degrees of task difficulty) (cf. Corno & Snow, 1986). Thus, teachers are permanently gathering and processing complex information during instruction. The question then arises as to how teachers can receive valid information in order to make accurate judgements and adjust their instruction accordingly. The presentation contributes to the exploration of this important issue by introducing a socio-technical approach: the Teachers' Diagnostic Support System (TDSS). In our paper presentation, we (1) draw on implications from the reviewed literature on system requirements, (2) describe the designed system’s functions, and (3) share the results of a usability study in which vocational teachers tested the prototype version of the technology-based tool. Ad 1) The theoretical underpinnings of the system’s design come from the concept of situation awareness, which is well known in ergonomics science (e.g., Stanton et al., 2006). Further, we substantiate the requirements for system development with the perceptual cycle model from Neisser (1976), the concept of recognition primed decision-making (Klein, 2008), and the multifaceted concept of an “instructional situation” introduced by Beck (1996). Ad 2) The TDSS is a client-server based software prototype that runs on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablet PCs. The system enables real-time data collection and data analyses. The system’s data collection and integration functions include (1) gathering information on the individual characteristics of students (e.g., prior knowledge), (2) describing instructional characteristics (e.g., features of the learning content), and (3) collecting information on students' learning experiences and progress (e.g., actual knowledge about the topic). The system’s functions for data analyses include statistical indicators of (1) interindividual variability between students in different classes, (2) intraindividual variability of students, (3) variability of instructional characteristics, as well as (4) interactions between students and instructional characteristics. Ad 3) For the purposes of user-oriented software evaluation and further system optimization, vocational teachers were invited to test and evaluate the TDSS in their classrooms. As the usability study is still running at the time this proposal is submitted, empirical results are not yet available but will be presented at the conference. In addition to the theoretical underpinnings and methodology of developing the TDSS, the presentation will discuss its practical implications for vocational teachers.

Developing competencies in VET teachers in Vietnam

ABSTRACT. Technological advances reduce the lifespan of specific skills and knowledge and it is necessary for workers to continuously learn and re-learn new skills to keep up with these developments. Like their colleagues in industry, VET teachers need to ensure that they maintain up to date industry specific skills and knowledge (Clayton et al., 2013) in addition to having the appropriate pedagogical skills and knowledge to support the effective learning of their students. In the context of Vietnam, there are no systems or policies in place to ensure the quality of teaching and learning in VET sector nor is there any national professional standards for teaching within VET workforce. This study will: 1. explore quality related issues of VET teaching and learning in Vietnam; 2. identify strategies to improve the quality of VET teaching and learning in Vietnam 3. develop and validate a set of competency standards to assess and monitor the competencies of the VET teaching workforce at various career stages in the Vietnamese VET sector. This study focuses on exploring the key research question “What do Vietnam’s VET teachers need to know and be able to do in order to deliver quality VET teaching?”

16:45-18:15 Session 4H: Paper Session
Vocational education and training (VET) policy in four European countries

ABSTRACT. This paper presents some initial findings about the impact of the European Union’s (EU) Lisbon strategy on national and local VET policies in Denmark, England, Finland and Scotland, from a critical realist stance (Fletcher, 2017) through policy trajectory analysis of key texts (Ball,2017). In 2000, Lisbon set out policy objectives that influenced VET policy (young people’s engagement in education and training and adult participation in lifelong learning). By 2010, internal evaluation by EU staff indicated that there was not enough progress towards these objectives across the EU and thus EU scrutiny of national VET policies was enhanced by revisions to the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC). Studies of the OMC (Brøgger, 2018; Cort, 2010; West, 2012) have demonstrated EU influences on national policy implementation but there is less recent research about these influences on a comparative basis. National studies of Nordic VET policies and studies of United Kingdom VET policy will be used to aid comparisons between the trajectories of VET policies in the four countries. Given the difference in national political systems between Denmark, England, Scotland and Finland, albeit ‘harmonised’ at European level, the study aims to find out whether the problem of VET policy is represented differently at national level and what this may mean for its development and implementation. It will outline progress towards determining whether there has been any divergence of VET policy in England and Scotland, at national and local level, as a result of the Brexit process. There are, of course, already significant differences between VET policies in England and Scotland. This is of interest because of the rare opportunity to study the impact of a national economic, social and political change of such magnitude on VET policy.

References Ball, S. J. (2017). the education debate (Third ed.). Bristol: Policy Press. Brøgger, K. (2018). How education standards gain hegemonic power and become international: The case of higher education and the Bologna Process. European Educational Research Journal, 00(0), 1-23. doi:10.1177/1474904118790303 Cort, P. (2010). Europeanisation and Policy Change in the Danish Vocational Education and Training System. Research in Comparative and International Education, 5(3), 331-343. doi:10.2304/rcie.2010.5.3.331 Fletcher, A. J. (2017). Applying critical realism in qualitative research: methodology meets method. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 20(2), 181-194. doi:10.1080/13645579.2016.1144401 West, J. (2012). The Evolution of European Union Policies on Vocational Education and Training. Retrieved from London: http://www.llakes.org

Differences in getting access to the field as an expression of different VET cultures in England and Germany – results from an ethnographic comparative study

ABSTRACT. The study on VET cultures in England and Germany with the focus on social practices in VET colleges is based on the knowledge that VET systems are culturally influenced (Georg 1997, McLean 1990) and thus all processes within the VET system such as didactically acting have a cultural imprint (Osborn/Broadfoot 2003, Kaiser 2002). The term VET culture is understood as a physical and at the same time a symbolic frame for the different facets, which influence vocational education and learning processes. The comparative study overarching question is: What does vocational learning look like in different VET cultures in England and Germany? With the focus on the learning environment ‚vocational college‘ the research question has been specified: Which social practices are constitutive for lessons in vocational colleges (motor vehicle classes and business admin classes)? Which and how are national cultural values, education traditions/philosophies reproduced in social practices? Due to these reconstructive questions a qualitative research design has been chosen, which consists of three methods. First, ethnographic class observations; second, guided interviews with students and teachers; third, photo analysis of the students’ self-taken picture of their most important place of learning within the VET college premises. Getting access to the field has proved to be a rather difficult endeavour. Several strategies have been used in Germany to get access, which had been successful after some time. So far one of two sets of German data has been collected. However, the same and more strategies for being granted access to the field have been applied in England. So far none of them have been successful. From an ethnographic and phenomenological perspective the question arises: what do the differences in getting access to the field tell about the VET cultures (in VET colleges) in England and Germany? The focus is not so much on the common obstacle of being a ‘double’ outsider to the field, namely a non-member of the VET systems and being a foreigner in the country. Instead the focus is on the types of gatekeeper and the gatekeepers’ networks as well as systemic interdependences and independences.

Pedagogical Convergence Across Borders: an analysis of the impact of international standardisation and regulation on aircraft apprenticeships in England and Germany.

ABSTRACT. The impact of international technical and regulatory standards on workplace learning processes is not well discussed in international comparative VET research. Comparisons of apprenticeship training tend to focus on generic national system-level factors. The German Dual System is often held up as the gold standard of apprenticeship quality. In response, this exploratory comparative research project (funded by the largest independent research agency in Germany - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), examined the impact of international standardisation and regulation on apprenticeship in the aerospace industry in England and Germany. In particular, it examined where there was evidence of pedagogical convergence in apprenticeship training. The research design drew on theoretical insights from economics, workplace and work-based learning, and comparative education. Documentary analysis of national apprenticeship standards established the most appropriate occupation for comparison: ‘aircraft mechanic’. The project took place in three aerospace companies in England and four in Germany using the production model of input-process-output to explore the ways in which aerospace apprenticeships were designed and delivered. Semi-structured interviews with managers, trainers, coaches and apprentices and non-participant observation of apprentices and their co-workers were conducted in the company workplaces and training centres. The interviews and observations were conducted by at least three researchers from both countries.

The findings show that apprenticeship managers and trainers in both countries are using similar innovative strategies to ensure their pedagogical processes keep pace with the intensity of change in the way work is organized, the shift to a much more customer-focused business model, and intense technological development. The importance of ensuring apprentices acquire the expertise they need to progress towards gaining international licences was also paramount. All the interviewees, including apprentices, emphasised the centrality of safety to every aspect of their work arising from the implications of knowing that everyday there are millions of people in the air who put their trust in these companies. The project provides emerging evidence to show that international regulatory frameworks and technical standardisation have led to a level of convergence that challenges the widespread assumption that apprenticeship training in Germany and the UK continues to be markedly different. The research design could be replicated in other sectors.