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09:30-11:00 Session 11A: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 1
VET-teachers` professional development in assessment for learning

ABSTRACT. This paper reports from a study of VET-teachers` professional development through participation in a further education course in assessment for learning. Professional development is defined as an ongoing process including inquiry, reflection and experimentation (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 2011). VET-teachers have a dual professional identity as teachers– as skilled workers and as teachers in upper secondary school, VET programmes. Professional development for VET-teachers should be related to being a teacher and colleague in upper secondary school as well as skilled worker in a vocational profession, since both identities constitutes VET-teachers` knowledge and actions in teaching VET-students (Saunders, 2012; Broad, 2016). The study focus on development of VET-teachers` competency related to assessment for learning and professional development as teachers in school context. The concept assessment for learning is often used to describe assessment that supports students` learning, and assessment that are used both by students and teachers to improve learning and teaching (Sadler 1989; Black & Wiliam, 2009; Wiliam, 2011). Since the implementation of the Norwegian educational reform Knowledge promotion in 2006 (Ministry of Knowledge, 2006), there has been an extensive investment in post- qualification and further education of teachers in primary and secondary schools, especially in formative assessment. However, VET- teachers, as part of upper secondary education, have traditionally limited access to post-qualifying education and courses. HVL designed and accomplished in 2017 a further education course in assessment for learning for VET-teachers to meet the need for professional development in this field for VET-teachers. The research question addressed by the current study is How can a further education course in assessment for learning in VET contribute to VET- teachers` development of assessment competence and practice?

The study used a qualitative approach to explore and understand VET-teachers` development of assessment for learning competency (Creswell, 2007; Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009). Data was collected by using focus group interviews with all participating teachers from three schools attending the course (N=8) (Liamputtong, 2011). The paper presentation will discuss findings in relation to professional development of VET teachers.

Reflection of teachers and in-company trainers in vocational education and training

ABSTRACT. Reflection contributes to the professional development of teachers and trainers in VET. Reflection helps teachers and trainers to take informed actions, to break routines, and to improve instruction. Reflection comprises mental activities that examine individual or collective thoughts and performance in order to adjust and improve them (Van Woerkom, 2004). Thus, reflection can be regarded a prerequisite for successful instruction. Reflection seems especially necessary in light of multiple challenges teachers and trainers face: Roles that have changed from instructor in front of the learners to counselor for self-regulated learning activities, heterogeneity of learners, and preparation of learners for coping successfully with constantly changing workplace challenges etc. Against this background, our research aimed at developing a research framework and at analyzing teachers’ and trainers’ views on reflection as professionals in their field. Their views explain and guide reflection behavior, which in turn explains and guides professional actions. The framework is an Input-Process-Outcome (IPO) framework, which is based on existing approaches towards modeling reflection (e.g. Korthagen & Kessels, 1999). We conducted in-depths interviews with teachers of vocational schools (N = 26, Age M = 39.8, Years of teaching experience M = 14.6) and in-company trainers (N = 10, Age M: 29.4, Years of training experience M = 5.5) in Germany. The interview guideline is based on the reflection framework. Data was analysed using a content analysis procedure. We identified statements of teachers and trainers as unit of analysis. Every statement was coded only once per person. Following a nomothetic (instead of an idiographic) approach, we identified statements named commonly and most frequently by the test persons. The results reveal input (e.g. team climate, subjective meaning of reflection), process (e.g. time available, causes such as learner behaviour), and outcome (e.g. change of instructional methods) factors of reflection. In general, teachers and trainers judge reflection very important for their professional and personal development. However, they usually do not have enough time to reflect due to high workload. Thus, our research might help to model reflection, and to reveal reference points for supporting teacher and trainer reflection. By that, both reflection and instruction may improve. References Korthagen, F., & Kessels, J. (1999). Linking theory and practice: Changing the pedagogy of teacher education. Educational Researcher, 28(4), 4–17. Van Woerkom, M. (2004), ‘The concept of critical reflection and its implications for human resource development’, Advances in Developing Human Resources, 6(2), 178–92.

09:30-11:00 Session 11B: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 2
Lived livelihoods: Vocational education advancing entrepreneurial livelihoods


The central question facing Vocational Education and Training (VET) orientated towards development is this: How best can VET respond to alleviating poverty and addressing youth unemployment?

A key response to this questions is located within the framework of entrepreneurship and the need for VET to engage more broadly and more deeply in entrepreneurial education. But what is entrepreneurial education? And how can it best advance the wellbeing and lived livelihoods that youth from poor socio-economic townships are currently engaged in?

This paper, building on Dejaeghere (2017, 2018), draws from 40 longitudinal interviews undertaken by the Research Chair: Youth Unemployment, Employability and Empowerment at Nelson Mandela University. The interviews form part of a larger study funded by MerSETA titled Lived Livelihoods: education advancing entrepreneurial livelihoods.

Located within the capabilities approach and strengthened by critical realism, the paper brings to the fore three aspects that are critical for re-examining how we understand and implement entrepreneurial education in VET.

1. The first is that entrepreneurial activity, and the education needs to support such, is best understood in relation to the social and economic character of communities. The VET needs of these young people are similarly shaped by the demands of the informal sectors in which they work and the urban townships in which they live.

2. The second is that entrepreneurship as lived in the African urban townships is understood and lived very differently to European entrepreneurship (or what DeJaeghere, 2017, terms ‘competive entrepreneurship’). Contrary to the neoliberal logic where entrepreneurs are understood as self-serving and competitive individuals, the lived experiences of the young entrepreneurs included in this study shows a strong dependency and reliance on social relations (social capital) which then translates into economic capital and vice versa. This revised notion of the personal attributes of successful entrepreneurs demands a complete rethink of the way(s) in which entrepreneurship is understood and enacted in VET.

3. The paper recognises that policy notions and understandings of what constitutes ‘entrepreneurship’ is far removed from the complex ways in which the notion is lived by young people engaged in entrepreneurial activities.

In the absence of this reconceptualisation of entrepreneurial education for VET, VET risks adopting overly simplistic and potentially destructive approaches to entrepreneurial education.

Viewing pathways through bifocals. The link between educational and occupational levels in selected fields in Canada

ABSTRACT. Iannelli and Raffe (2007: 49) introduced the terms ‘education logic’ and ‘employment logic’ to distinguish two ideal types of transition system by the strength of their links between vocational education and employment. We adapt that distinction in this paper to refer to two frames or lenses through which to analyse potential pathways for students’ transfer from college diplomas to university baccalaureates. We present data showing that fields differ markedly in their educational and occupational structures and argue that pathways are shaped equally by educational structures, policies and curriculum, and the structure and processes of the occupations for which educational programs prepare graduates.

The data are from Statistics Canada’s (2011) 2011 National Household Survey. The paper analyses data for these selected fields -

General: experimental sciences social sciences

Applied: non accounting business computing

Regulated: engineering nursing.

The paper analyses data for each of the top three skill levels Statistics Canada (2012) uses to categorise occupations:

Skill level A2 - professional: occupations usually require university education;

Skill level B - occupations usually require college education or apprenticeship training;

Skill level C - occupations usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training.

The study reports remarkably different structures in each field. The selected business occupations which excluded accounting are in a conventional pyramid, with over half of workers in jobs at skill level C, just over a third at skill level B, just over 10% at the professional level, and just under 2% employed as senior managers. The other occupations had a markedly different structure: over half of computing, nursing and social science workers were employed as professionals, while over 66% of engineering and science workers were at skill level B. The 34.3% of nurses employed at skill level C had relatively few opportunities to progress because only 9.8% of nurses are employed at skill level B.

The paper also reports types and fields of qualification of workers at each skill level in each field. It argues that these occupational structures shape pathways from lower to higher level postsecondary education programs as much as educational structures and processes.


Iannelli, Cristina and Raffe, David (2007) Vocational upper-secondary education and the transition from school, European Sociological Review, volume 23, number 1, pages 49-63.

Statistics Canada (2011) National Household Survey (NHS), http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p2SV.pl?Function=getSurvey&SDDS=5178

Statistics Canada (2012) National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011, catalogue number 12-583-X, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/subjects-sujets/standard-norme/noc-cnp/2011/index-indexe-eng.htm

09:30-11:00 Session 11C: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 3
Careers Colleges and the strategy of vocational enhancement – emergent curriculum models

ABSTRACT. In England, the implementation of the English Baccalaureate allied to Attainment and Progress 8 has led to a narrowing of the curriculum offer for young people. This has resulted in restricted opportunities to study vocational and technical qualifications. Parallel to this has been the rise in 14-19 institutions, that seek to provide high-quality technical and vocational education, often through alternative approaches to teaching and learning, such as project-based learning. Although Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) have received a mixed reception, little is known about Career Colleges. This paper reports findings from an independent evaluation of Career Colleges funded by the Edge Foundation and Commercial Education Trust. Specifically, it focuses on identifying the unique features of the Career College model, and the extent to which the Career College initiative can be characterised as a form of ‘vocational enhancement’ to strengthen existing vocational provision and vocational organisations in key sectors. Career Colleges are embedded in Further Education Colleges and generally work with small numbers of students. They each offer a vocational specialism that stems from the needs of the locality and work closely with employers to provide a curriculum that focuses on pathways into work and further study. They are supported by the Career Colleges Trust. The year-long evaluation included contextual interviews with Career College leads, an online survey to teaching staff, and fieldwork visits to eight Career Colleges - interviews with teaching staff, employers, governors and focus groups with students. Key features of the Career College model included the centrality of employer-engagement and the embedded employer-led activities that made a significant contribution to the authenticity of the student experience and the students’ understanding of the world of work, and the extensive vocational and professional experience of teaching staff and how they saw employer-engagement as central to the provision offered to the young people. Also important was the flexibility from the Career College Trust in how the model was operationalised across the Career Colleges, ranging along a continuum from a distinctive to an integrated approach to curriculum, employer partnership, professional development and student support developments. What was striking is how the model built on existing structures and qualifications by promoting collaboration - hence the concept of vocational enhancement.

Factors Influencing Life and Career Skills Development among young people studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) at school.

ABSTRACT. In Australia, VET delivered to senior secondary education students has its historical basis in efforts to increase diversity, retention and choice and to foster student engagement. Yet, these programs have been widely criticised for not delivering the occupational specific competencies required by industry and for operating within the constraints of schools and their assessment regimes. Educators and policy makers around the world are recognising that young people need a broad range of life and career skills to thrive in the complex world of work as opposed to narrowly defined competencies/qualifications that do not necessary meet the needs of the future workplace. Despite such awareness, little is known about how these skills might be initially developed at school and whether VET delivered in schools promotes the formation of these broader competencies. This study aimed to address this gap. Building on the findings of an initial environmental scan of international 21st century skills frameworks, five sub-domains were identified as underpinning life and career skills: initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills; productivity and accountability; flexibility and adaptability; and leadership and responsibility. For each of these sub-domains, subject matter experts worked with the research team to describe several critical life and/or career skills, activities or actions that would be indicative of the competency and developed a set of scoring rubrics for students to undertake a self-assessment of their own level of expertise. These rubrics were then field tested nationally with 2,912 Year 12 students through an online survey. The students’ responses were analysed using Item Response Theory (IRT) to determine whether the scoring rubrics described a single underlying learning progression from novice to expert and to examine its psychometric properties. The analyses revealed that the instrument had strong construct validity and internal consistency (17 items, α =0.818) and that it could accurately measure the career and life skill development of young people along a developmental continuum of learning. Using a series of multi-variate analyses, the major factors thought to impact students’ level of life and career skills development were also explored (e.g. participation in VET studies, extracurricular school activities, gender and Socio-Economic Status). The findings have direct implications for curriculum design.

Paths in Education: choices made between vocational and academic courses among 16 -19 year olds.

ABSTRACT. Abstract Research undertaken shows that young people are making key decisions about future qualifications without seeking professional guidance. Instead decisions are mostly based on hearsay from friends or social media. These trends can be partially explained by examining the kind of career advice students receive in school: only eighteen percent of students surveyed said that they received enough information to ‘make an informed decision’ (Palmer, 2016). This study explores how young people get their advice and how they make informed decisions on the qualifications they wish to study at Level 3. A mixed methods approach has been undertaken to investigate the influences or themes that are central to how young people choose their qualifications to study after they have completed Level 2 qualifications. The methodological approach combines a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were carried out with students, lecturers, parents/carers and careers personal advisors. In addition a focus group consisting of lecturers and parents/carers was also convened. Five main influences and themes emerged from the research as being central to career choice:  Peer influence  Career aspirations  Parental or family influence  Careers counselling, advice and guidance  Media influences. However, what emerges from the research conducted shows it is evident that the decision making process is viewed very differently among different research participants. Although, similar views about the purpose of support and the relative usefulness of careers advice, it was lecturers and parents/carers who viewed this service as being more of a necessity than students. Students reported preferring to use on line resources, for example, ‘Kudos, and ‘Fast Tomato’ rather than talking face to face with someone. One of the best things about on line resources is the flexibility. Young people can now get the information they need quickly and without having to answer the questions if they do not need to (Denolt, 2017). The findings from this current study showed that fifty two percent of students reported that they had starting collecting information about different courses and careers in year s 10 and year 11, but only thirty six percent had done this by speaking to a teacher or careers advisor. These trends continued when only eighteen percent of the students surveyed said they were satisfied with the advice they received. This evidence validates that while it is evident much is being done in schools to offer appropriate advice, it has been noted, while completing this research, that different methods on how to provide good quality advice regarding qualification choice at Level 3 is needed. This is particularly relevant with the funding cutbacks faced within the Career Advisory Service meaning many young people do not have access to qualified personal advisors within secondary schools so are forced to seek advice from elsewhere.

09:30-11:00 Session 11D: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 4
Learning from life: VET student “voices” towards a humanising vocational pedagogy

ABSTRACT. Literature alerts a “methodological deafness” to the voices of students and communities, forefronting employability as the only goal of VET colleges. This study makes a contribution by bringing to life VET student “voice.” It theorises through the lens of a humanising vocational pedagogy that an intentional, purpose driven practice capacitates, empowers and transforms by placing the needs and aspirations of students first before that of a failing economy. Such an approach has been found to “pay better attention to what individuals and institutions value and are seeking to do, whilst retaining the economic rationale and insisting on the continued salience of evaluation for the improvement of delivery and outcomes. It addresses what Cooke-Sather observed that “there is something fundamentally amiss about building and rebuilding an entire system without consulting at any point those it is ostensibly designed to serve.” Central is a participatory visual methodologies using portrait collage through which TVET students explore personal learning trajectories through everyday lived experiences. Collage as a form of inquiry allows a non-linear and intuitive exploration that reveal unconscious connections and new understandings. Findings show how VET students relate their field of study to life experiences where learning is both tacit, incidental and a way of being. In this way everyday knowledge and curriculum knowledge intersect providing a vocational pedagogy that builds on capability and funds of knowledge not just theory and “book” knowledge alien to life and living.

General Studies in Technical Colleges (Ministry of Education: 1962)

ABSTRACT. This paper aims to show the working of a semi-official working group which prepared the text of General Studies in Technical Colleges published by the Ministry of Education in 1962. With the intention of countering narrow specialisation, the Ministry’s 1956 White Paper Technical Education had encouraged the inclusion of a ‘liberal element’ in courses of technical education in technical and further education colleges. Five years later, aware that the colleges needed guidance, the Ministry set up a working group to provide guidance to colleges on what ‘general studies’ (GS) was and how it might be introduced. This exercise was one of a number of developments following the publication of the Crowther Report on the education of the 15-18 age group. The Crowther Committee had been critical of a number of aspects of technical courses in colleges, especially those attended on a part-time day-release basis by young workers. These included the difficulties experienced in the transition from school to FE, the low completion rates (‘wastage’) on many courses, and the need to broaden the content of the vocational courses on offer. The publication of General Studies in Technical Colleges was one of the actions taken by the Ministry to ‘turn vocational training courses into educational courses’ which in the view of one Ministry official was ‘the real need’ of the time. This article will provide, from contemporary records, an account of the establishment of the working group, the selection of members, and of its discussions which ended in the publication of General Studies in Technical Colleges in 1962. The notes of the meetings show a range of views on the purposes of further education and the needs of the young workers in question, as well as the aims, content, teaching method and assessment of GS, at a time when discussion of the ‘curriculum’ was relatively new in England.

The experiences of teachers of Liberal Studies and General Studies in English technical and further education colleges

ABSTRACT. This paper aims to describe a central feature of the Liberal and General Studies (L/GS) Project, namely the attempt to construct a record of the experience of people who taught L/GS in colleges in England.

Between the 1950s and about 1990, and especially between 1960 and the late 1980s, L/GS was a component of most vocational FE courses. Normally taught by arts or social sciences graduates, it typically consisted of a one hour slot in the college day of young people released on one day a week from jobs, in such fields as mechanical engineering, building crafts, hairdressing and catering, to follow technical courses, the remainder of this day being spent on material taught by lecturers with backgrounds in these trades. Exam boards required principals to certify that students had taken part in L/GS, but for much of the period L/GS was not formally assessed.

The Project seeks to recapture this experience by recording interviews with former L/GS lecturers, using an agreed list of questions. Interviewees are asked to say: when they started and finished teaching L/GS; the colleges in which they did this; the courses students they taught were on; whether they were trained to be teachers of L/GS; how L/GS was organised in these colleges (that is, departmentally or otherwise); where the teaching strategies and materials that they used came from; how they got on with students; what relation they had to vocational staff; whether they had at the time a clear conception of what L/GS was for; which if any aspects of it they now think most worthwhile; why in their view it ceased to exist; and whether present-day curriculum design could benefit from this experience. Since the Project was initiated in 2013, interviews, usually lasting between 30 and 60 minutes, have been conducted with 15 women and 42 men, who between them taught L/GS at 66 colleges.

The overwhelming majority of interviews so far recorded contain a statement to the effect that the interviewee devised his or her own teaching strategies and materials, either in collaboration with L/GS colleagues or independently. One issue for further analysis is how far the aim of liberalising students was or was not patronising. Another is the tension between, on the one hand, the pressure on L/GS teachers from vocational staff to improve 'their' students' literacy and, on the other, the intention to explore economic, social and cultural issues.

09:30-11:00 Session 11E: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 5
A strong structurational approach to understanding the marginalisation of informal apprentices in Ghana’s VET system

ABSTRACT. Skills training in the informal sector, known as informal apprenticeship is the main institution of skills training for marginalised youth in many parts of the Global South. In Ghana, it is the oldest skills training institution, responsible for about 80-90 per cent of training (Palmer, 2009). However, the institution and its craftspersons have occupied a marginal position in the education and training landscape, both nationally and internationally (Palmer, 2009; McGrath, Alla-Mensah and Langthaler, 2018). Nationally, the focus is mainly on formal VET to the neglect of informal apprentices who outnumber learners in formal VET institutions. In periods when informal apprenticeship has received attention, its role is conceptualised using the human capital theory of development. This sees VET as meaningful to the extent to which it contributes to the economic well-being of individuals and the state. VET conceptualised this way does not capture other aspects of well-being that individuals wish to achieve. Informal apprentices in particular face multiple deprivations that are unknown due to the narrow focus on their economic well-being. There is, therefore, the need to adopt a human-centred approach to understanding informal apprentices' well-being. This paper reports findings from my doctoral study in Ghana that uses the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen and asks what informal apprentices in the mechanic trade would like to be and to do. It combines the capability approach with strong structuration theory by Rob Stones to examine structures at the micro, meso and macro levels and how these enhance and or constrain what informal apprentices would like to be and to do. This brings to fore the many ways in which informal apprentices have been marginalised and discriminated against. Its focus on informal apprentices and the apprenticeship brings new theoretical and empirical insights into an area that has not been comprehensively researched since Palmer’s doctoral study in 2007. This paper draws on document analysis, interviews with informal apprentices, master craftspersons, officials of the informal mechanic trade association and government officials in Ghana, to understand the complex structural terrain that confronts informal apprentices and how they navigate these in relation to what they value being and doing.

Pride And Prospects: Promoting more sustainable and socially just transitions through vocational education for low-attaining young people

ABSTRACT. Evidence shows that the level 1 (L1) curriculum is impoverished, with minimal exchange value in the labour market (Wolf, 2011; Keep & James, 2012), & that lower-attaining youth experience significant social & educational exclusion, lacking access to valorised capitals (Author, 2017), issues which are contrary to notions of social justice. Curriculum changes in response to policy initiatives addressing these issues have not been research-based or rigorously evaluated. This paper reports the impact of a new L1 curriculum model designed to confer greater social & cultural capital & awareness of the world of work. The project involved the development & implementation of a research-informed curriculum, building on work by, amongst others, Dewey (1916) & Stenhouse (1975). The revised curriculum has adopted five key pillars: a project-based approach to core, competency-based, applied vocational qualifications, continuous and embedded CEG, English and maths at levels consistent with each individual’s level of attainment, work experience, and a broad range of enrichment activities, which are designed to provide the young people with opportunities, knowledge, and experiences they have not previously been exposed to. Theoretically, the paper draws on the work of, amongst others, Bourdieu & Passeron (1990), Hodkinson & Sparkes (1997) & Hodkinson (e.g. 1996; 1998; 2008). Methodologically, this participatory study is positioned as research for social justice, rather than socially just research (Author & Other, 2019), drawing on theoretical concepts of social justice to inform the inclusive conduct of the study (e.g. Lincoln & Denzin, 2013. C Key results include improved retention, especially amongst the most socially excluded students, with a much smaller proportion becoming NEET (7/39 (18%) of the cohort, compared to >30% in previous years) & positive employment outcomes, including progression to apprenticeships. The paper exemplifies these outcomes utilising vignettes of three of the young participants, who are representative of the wider group. We conclude that in addition to positive educational outcomes, the young people have accrued significant personal & social benefits from engaging with the programme in its revised form, and that the curriculum offers a model with potential to be adapted to local need and implemented nationally. Final outcomes of this study will be reported in 2020.

Through the Aspirations Window: A capabilities-social justice lens for framing TVET learners’ aspirations

ABSTRACT. The dominant policy discourse of VET is grounded in the human capital thesis. Consequently, learners who fail to meet the targets set by policymakers are deemed by what they are held to lack. Policy responses to this problem suggest that these learners have ‘low aspirations’ which need fixing or ‘raising’ by various means. Yet learners’ views about their aspirations for their lives are rarely heard (Spohrer, 2011; Spohrer et al., 2018; Zipin et al., 2015). There is an emerging body of research studies which explore the nature of aspirations in TVET and education more broadly. Unfortunately, most of these studies focus on how structures constrain learners’ aspirations at the expense of examining how learners use their agency to achieve their aspirations. Those studies which have acknowledged the part that agency plays use a capabilities approach which places learners’ voice at the heart of the enquiry (Conradie & Robeyns, 2013; DeJaeghere, 2016; 2018).

This paper draws on empirical data from my PhD research on the aspirations of women learners on TVET programmes in the UK. A longitudinal approach was taken to collecting in-depth interview data about their life history, initial aspirations and reflecting on how these had evolved during their course. The conceptual model presented in this paper was used to analyse the data and revealed the complex nature of aspirations which go beyond specific work-related goals. Furthermore, it confirms that even learners that are deemed as failing to meet the goals of immediate employability do have clear and ambitious aspirations for their own lives.

I argue that combining Sen’s capabilities approach with Nancy Fraser’s theories of social justice illuminates the ways that structure and agency impact on learners’ aspirations for their lives. Debraj Ray’s (2003) concept of ‘the aspirations window’ is used to examine how learners formed their initial aspirations in relation to ‘the view’ or opportunities available to them. Learners were agential in their pursuit of their aspirations, despite having to mediate and negotiate constraints in their private lives to do so. However, this was done in spite of policies, structures and institutional arrangements, which whilst supposed to support were deeply unjust in practice. The paper shows that this new conceptual model enables aspirations to be understood as dynamic, emergent and contingent, and which are affected by both agency and structure.

09:30-11:00 Session 11F: Paper Session
Location: Seminar Room 6
The impact of the apprenticeship levy

ABSTRACT. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017 was a sea change in the funding of apprenticeships in the UK. It transferred funding from Government to employers, primarily employers with wage bills of more than £3 million. However, since its inception, there has been a significant decline in the uptake of apprenticeships by employers. In part this was due to a pre-levy ‘spike’ in recruitment. Whilst some have claimed that the fall in apprenticeship recruitment reflects a natural employer adjustment to a radical new Programme (of which the levy was one part), others have identified more fundamental concerns including: employers being put off by a complex system; the 10% cost to non-levy payers; the 20% off-the-job training requirement and; obstacles caused by bureaucratic elements to the system (e.g. a lack of relevant standards). Addressing these concerns could be made by ‘tweaking’ the system, e.g. reducing the 10% non-levy payer costs which the Government recently halved. However, this paper suggests that there are more fundamental problems underpinning the apprenticeship programme specifically, and employer workforce development more generally. This is particularly the case with small and medium sized employers (SMEs) many of whom will be non-levy payers. SMEs generally tend not to invest in formal training which includes an off-the-job component, and leads to a qualification. SMEs are a business population that the levy system was supposed to support. Most SMEs will only pay 5% of the direct costs of training an apprentice. Even so they are the least likely to engage with the new programme. Based on surveys of employers, this paper argues that this is because the apprenticeship programme does not engage with the primary business drivers of SMEs. In presenting apprenticeships to employers, it focuses on the costs of apprenticeship provision. Instead it needs to focus on the mindset and management of SME owners and managers if it is to break the cycle and encourage SMEs to engage in workforce development.

Why is the employment outcome of vocationally training youths so poor in Punjab and Haryana, India?

ABSTRACT. This paper attempts to study the employment patterns of vocationally trained pass-outs in Punjab and Haryana states of India. It also explores the determinants of their labour force participation decision and estimates the existing skill gap among them; using three different and complementary primary surveys as it collects information (both qualitative and quantitative) from three important stakeholders viz., vocational training institutes (ITIs and Polytechnic institutes), local establishments (including micro, small, medium and large enterprises), and the pass-out students (through a tracer survey). While probit and IV-probit models are used to estimate the determinants of labour force participation; existing skill gap is measured using both quantitative (employing a new method) and qualitative measures. We find high open unemployment rates among vocationally trained pass-outs. Due to poor skill endowments of these pass-outs, employers in private sectors do not prefer them. Instead, they prefer to hire low-skilled workers (mostly illiterate or with upto primary level of general education) with a much lower monthly wages rates. In government sectors, the employment situation of vocationally pass-outs is even worse. As households’ living standard plays an important role in determining vocationally trained youth’s decision to participate in the labour market, creating conditions for growth of jobs in government sectors is necessary. Moreover, the immediate prerequisite of job creation should be addressing the skill issue through a set of reforms measures, which would help establishing inter-dependency between vocational training institutes and establishments in India.

Framing a Sustainability lens on VET: an Absence and Emergence Laminated System Analysis

ABSTRACT. VET emerged primarily as a mechanism in support of fossil capital (Malm, 2016), and consequently still by-and-large reflects the modernization and industrialization political ideologies and development paradigms. More recently, VET is being shaped by neo-liberalism and its political ideology and development paradigm, which aligns with the ‘big data’ economy or fourth industrial revolution. Here a shift from human capital to artificial intelligence and machine learning emerges as new dehumanizing trend (De Stefano, 2018) while the planet continues to heat up.

The 2015 sustainable development agenda points to the need for a massive transformation in the political ideologies and development paradigms that have shaped VET to date. The UNEP 2011 Foresight Report identifies the relevance of skills and skills development paradigms as the second most critical issue in orienting towards a more sustainable world. There is need for a VET model that takes equity and environmental sustainability objectives into account, and which reduces tendencies towards dehumanization.

In this paper, we draw on research into a boundary-crossing VET innovation that was developed over a five year period within a sustainability paradigm in the agricultural learning system in South Africa (the ‘Amanzi [Water] for Food programme) (Lotz-Sisitka et al., 2016; Pesanayi, 2018). In this paper, we synthesise the research insights from the project itself and its evaluation through an absence and emergence analysis. The laminated system that we draw on is based on the work of Bhaskar (2016) who argues that such mechanisms operate at different levels of scale: 1) the sub-individual and 2) biographical level(s) where motives, and reasons for action operate (e.g. the motives and knowledge of VET lecturers); 3) the micro level (e.g. interactions at VET college level with students, communities, partners); the 4) meso level (e.g. relations between functional roles such as college and standards development institutions); the 5) macro-level (e.g. the functioning of the national economy); the 6) mega-level (e.g. trajectories of whole traditions or formations e.g. agricultural paradigms); and 7) the planetary level (e.g. the impacts of climate change).

Using this framework, we develop an immanent critique of the VET system from a sustainability perspective. We identify significant absences at different levels of the laminated system. The paper points to a need for emergence practices at other levels of the system in building a new orientation to VET that will take sustainability principles and concerns into account, pointing to future potential transformative praxis pathways.

09:30-11:00 Session 11G: Paper Session
Location: Pusey Room
Former YTS trainees’ historical experiences of the Youth Training Scheme

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on the historical experiences of former vocational learners who took part in the Youth Training Scheme (YTS), the largest and perhaps most controversial programme of work-related learning to have existed in the United Kingdom, which existed between 1983-1990. In many ways, YTS represented a significant landmark in vocational training in the UK. On one hand, its creation marked a de facto recognition that the traditional youth labour market had gone forever and that an alternative mechanism to regulate the post-school transitions of working-class youth was required. But the practice of sub-contracting the management and delivery of YTS to private and voluntary providers also signalled the beginning of an outsourcing programme which would eventually lead to the extensive privatisation of youth training in Britain. Nor should the social and cultural impact of YTS be underestimated. At its peak, half of all 16-year-old school-leavers were on the Youth Training Scheme and effectively YTS became something of a rite of passage for large sections of working-class youth. Whilst there is an extant literature on the Youth Training Scheme, this deals mainly with the policy context. Much less has been written about young people’s experiences of YTS and there is an almost total absence of research on the historical experiences of former trainees. The data presented in this paper begin to address this gap in knowledge and, in doing so, challenge some of the negative stereotypes traditionally associated with the Youth Training Scheme. The first section provides a synopsis of YTS and key debates surrounding the Scheme. This is followed by an overview of the research upon which this paper is based and a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology employed – narrative research - as way of understanding the past. The third section presents data from interviews with former YTS trainees. Roberts and Parsell’s (1992) typology of youth training is used as a framework to understand participants’ recollections and reflections on three key themes: their recruitment, selection and entry to YTS; their workplace experiences; and the quality of training they received. The central argument of the paper is that work-related training can, if organised according to the characteristics of Roberts and Parsell’s ‘contest’ provision, have an empowering effect for young people – although it is recognised that notion of contest implies that such training will not all be available to all.

Policies, Values and Offa’s Dyke: a relational approach to FE and Skills in Wales

ABSTRACT. This paper draws upon a UK-wide inquiry led from the UCL Institute of Education and funded by The Edge Foundation, the Department for Education and City and Guilds. Its backbone was a series of seven seminars during 2018 bringing together experienced policymakers, practitioners and researchers to consider and compare the FE and Skills landscape across the four countries of the UK. Running through the seminars was a central question, i.e. ‘What can be learnt in terms of new knowledge and practical application from a comparison between FE and skills policy in the four countries of the UK?’ The outcomes include a report, a booklet, and a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Education and Work.

In the context of devolution, this paper argues that there is a distinctively Welsh flavour to FE and Skills policy, but that its nature and formation need to be understood BOTH intrinsically AND relationally, especially in terms of its relationship to parallel policy developments in England. Consideration is given to ‘structural’ aspects and significant changes in the ‘economic narrative’, and also to the reflection of certain values in policy and policy mechanisms, such as a focus on community, expectations of partnership, and a general disdain for market-oriented solutions. It is argued that policy learning of a sort visible in the realm of economic innovation is not yet apparent in the FE and Skills arena in Wales, where 'policy avoidance' (i.e. an avoidance of key features of English policy) remains a touchstone. Bourdieusian concepts – of relationality and field – are particularly helpful in appreciating these issues. The paper attempts to apply these insights to a major current policy process in Wales, which may result in a highly distinctive Tertiary system encompassing the complete spectrum of post-compulsory education and training provision.