Latest news on European research in learning and work [L&W] - October 2020


In this edition of the L&W Newsletter, you should note in particular the call for contributions to the TAKE 2021 conference in Porto (see Conferences), the call for proposals for the 2024 Handbook of HRD (see Publications), the Cedefop call for tenders for a 'Feasibility study in VET' and the ILO call for expression of interest in a 'Toolkit for core skills' (see Programmes and Projects). There are no further announcements of conferences so far - no doubt due to the pandemic. However, you can find lots of stimulating projects and publications. And not to overlook: the discount relating to the award-winning book 'Organizational change and development' (see Publications)!  

Special thanks to all who contributed information for this edition, and also to our partners CR&DALL, CVER, Education & Employers Research, ILO Employment Policy Department, PASCAL International Observatory, UFHRD, UNEVOC, VET&Culture and VETNET for providing input and sharing the L&W Newsletter via their mailing lists and web portals.

The L&W Newsletter focuses on transnational research activities across Europe in the field of human resource development (HRD) and vocational education and training (VET), centred on major categories: conferences, networks and organisations, programmes, projects and publications. The next edition will appear in early December 2020. You are invited to submit short texts (100 to 200 words, including links to web pages, but without attachments) - please by 30 November 2020 at the latest!

The L&W Newsletter reaches you via a mailing list of experts in and beyond Europe. You can also view the latest edition in the WIFO Gateway and download the L&W Newsletter in PDF. Please pass the Newsletter on to your colleagues and networks.

Best wishes
Sabine Manning
Research Forum WIFO
Editor of the L&W Newsletter

Please note: My new email address has replaced the former address <sabine.manning[at]>. My contact address continues to be valid.


Call for contributions: TAKE 2021 conference
TAKE 2021 Theory and Applications in the Knowledge Economy – 7th - 9th July 2021, Universidade Portucalense, Porto, Portugal
TAKE is an international scientific conference devoted to the multidisciplinary study of the knowledge economy. In particular, it aims to analyse the relation and the gap between theories and practices in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. Following the events of the last months, TAKE 2021 will have as its main topic "The Knowledge Economy in Covid-19". 24 streams are available. Submissions of long abstracts (about 1500 words) are welcome until December 14th 2021. For more information please consult the conference webpage. We look forward to seeing you in Porto in July 2021.
(Contributed by  Eduardo Tomé <>)

NOTE: Forthcoming and recent events related to European research in work and learning are listed on the WIFO Conference page [].

Networks and Organisations

Report on VET & Culture workshop
The 27th workshop of VET & Culture Research Network took place on 03.09.2020 via Zoom conference tool and was organized by Gabriele Molzberger and team from the University of Wuppertal. Part I of the workshop collected reports on "Vocational and adult education in times of a pandemic" from Switzerland (Philipp Gonon and Markus Weil), Tanzania (Perpetua Kalimasi), South Africa (Jeanne Gamble), France (Corinne Hahn, Anna Mazenod), Germany (Gabriele Molzberger, Andre Kukuk), Norway (Liv Mjelde, also about Brazil), Italy (Chiara Martinelli), Greece (Georgios Zarifis), Finland (Anja Heikkinen, Golaleh Makrooni, also on Iran), Spain (Fernando Marhuenda), Australia (Stephen Billett, Amy Bohren). Part II of the workshop focussed on "VET and Adult Education beyond the pandemic: persistent research topics" with two presentations by Stephen Billett on "Enhancing the standing of vocational education and the occupations it serves" and by Anja Heikkinen on "Beyond the pandemic in vocational and adult education: persistent issues/ Education for the means of livelihood". The workshop is to be continued on 27.11.2020, 10-13 CET with reports and reflections on the "Effects of digitisation on research life and teaching practices (a global collage)" as well as on "Vocational and adult education - how does digitisation impact on their foundations?"
(Contributed by <Gabriele Molzberger <>)

Political education in vocational training

In a nationwide conference on vocational training, the German Trade Union for Education and Science (GEW) adopted a resolution to strengthen political education. This is available in English at the end of a documentation of the conference (pp 51-22), alongside written presentations in German. The documentation also contains a contribution by Prof. Franz Kaiser (VETNET Board member / Rostock) in German with the title: "Development of professional teachers for critical creative abilities. Goals - Challenges - Perspectives" (pp 37-47). The complete documentation is available here.
(Info received from Franz Xaver Kaiser <>)

NOTE: References to research networks in the field of European work and learning are available on the WIFO page Networks at a glance []. Contact: Sabine Manning

Programmes and Projects

Call for tenders: Feasibility study in VET
Cedefop has launched a new call for tenders: Feasibility study for surveying principals, teachers, learners and in-company trainers in initial vocational education and training. Empirical evidence on teachers, learners and principals in VET as well as on in-company trainers are scarce in the EU. To close this gap, the current tender aims at carrying out a feasibility study for a survey on teachers, school principals, learners, and in-company trainers in initial vocational education and training (IVET) at ISCED level 3. As was done in other surveys, the survey fieldwork will be conducted with CAWI in VET-schools to survey data on teachers, principals and learners. Based on the outcomes of the pilot, the study will assess the feasibility and practicability of such a survey, evaluate its capacity to close information gaps, and suggest possibilities to expand the concept to the EU27, IS and NO countries. Deadline for submission: 16/10/2020. Details can be found here.
(Posted by Cedefop via SkillsNet)

Call for expression of interest: Toolkit for core skills
The International Labour Organization (ILO) invites Expression of Interest (EoI) for a digital toolkit for core skills that aims to provide guidance and good practice for the successful adaptation of corekills in national education and training systems. If you have experience in developing policy guidance, operational strategies and practice in how core skills can be integrated into national education and training systems and are interested in this assignment, please send a motivation note and a profile of your organization by 30 Sept 2020 to Jongwoo Lim ( The note should clearly indicate your expertise and previous experience related to the assignment. Please find more information in the Call for EoI and the Terms of Reference.
(Info received from Christof Nägele/ vetnetsite and Zubair Shahid/ UNESCO-UNEVOC TVeT Forum 24.9.20)

Taccle AI
The first report on the impact of artificial intelligence on vocational education and training is now available [here]. This report presents the first results of interviews, case studies and literature reviews in the two-year project Taccle AI. The European project »Taccle AI - Improving the Skills and Competences of VET teachers and trainers in the age of Artificial Intelligence« ( brings together partners from five countries to provide initial training and continued professional development for VET teachers and trainers in Artificial Intelligence. The project will seek to support VET teachers and trainers in extending and adapting open curriculum models for incorporating AI in vocational education and training. Furthermore, the project will develop a Massive Open Online Course in AI in education in English and German, open to all teachers and trainers in VET in Europe (Spring 2021). The course materials will be freely available for other organisations to use for professional development.
(Contributed by Sophia Roppertz <>)

Digital toolkit for quality apprenticeships
The ILO toolkit for quality apprenticeships is a resource to improve the design and implementation of apprenticeship systems and programmes. It provides a comprehensive but concise set of key information, guidance and practical tools for policy-makers and practitioners engaged in designing and implementing quality apprenticeships. Explore the online interactive version of the toolkit here. The ILO Toolkit for Quality Apprenticeships consists of two volumes: Volume 1: Guide for Policy Makers (Toolkit 1); and Volume 2: Guide for Practitioners (Toolkit 2).
(Info received from ILO Employment Newsletter 25/09/20 <>)

NOTE: Contributions are invited to update the Overview of European research projects [], provided as part of the WIFO Gateway. Contact: Sabine Manning


Call for proposals: 2024 Handbook of HRD
The Handbook of Human Resource Development (HRD) is currently seeking chapter proposals for the 2024 edition. The purpose of this Handbook is to present the contemporary landscape of the profession and discipline of HRD, offering both an orientation to the profession and an analytical examination of HRD as a field of study and research. The Call for chapter proposals can be obtained from the Editorial Team at Chapter proposals could be around the major areas provided in the Call as well as newly emerging applications/perspectives that are critical for the field of HRD. Full chapter proposals are due by January 15, 2021. Proposals should include a summary, outline, and references. Authors interested in contributing a chapter should send the proposal and CV for each author to the Editorial Team. Please share the Call with anyone who might be interested. The first edition (2014) can be found here. We are trying to make the second edition more international, so please consider submitting!

(Info received from Rob F. Poell <>)

Work-process based development of curricula
Spöttl, G.; Loose, G.; Becker, M. (2020): Work-Process Based Development of Advanced Detailed Curricula. Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien [Details]
How can it be ensured that vocational education meets the requirements of the increasingly complex world of work? In search of a suitable approach, it has become evident that Competence Based Training cannot provide this service, since it focuses on static “work” instead of encompassing dynamic “work-processes”. Consequently it is necessary to rely on the analysis of work-processes when designing a detailed curriculum for a digitalized environment and Industry 4.0. The results of the work-process analysis reflect the full spectrum of requirements and are applied as the core elements for the shaping of detailed curricula. This ensures state of the art curricula and facilitates their swift development in matching changes in the world of work.
(Contributed by Georg Spöttl <>)

Organizational change and development: Discount
Robert G. Hamlin, Andrea D. Ellinger and Jenni Jones (2019). Evidence-Based Initiatives for Organizational Change and Development.  IGI Global [Details]
The main aims of this book are to assist readers to more fully appreciate the complexities and problems of bringing about effective and beneficial organizational change and development (OCD), the merits of adopting evidence-based practice (EBP) approaches and to demonstrate the 'reality' versus the 'rhetoric' of evidence-based organizational change and development (EBOCD) across a wide range of countries. The book is based on the perspectives and critical reflections of its 86 contributing authors.
Note on discount: If you get involved with managing or helping to facilitate organizational change and development (OCD) initiatives, or if you educate, train and develop those who do, including managers, HR(HRD/HRM) professionals, OD specialists, executive coaches and other organizational change agents, then please note that you and they could be eligible to take advantage of the 'unique' HAMLIN70% discount code relating to IGI Global's award winning book and Core Reference Title for 2020. However, this 'unique' discount is only available if purchases are made through IGI Global's On-Line Bookstore. Please click this link to find out more about our award-winning book.
(Contributed by Jenni Jones <> and Bob Hamlin <>)

New issue of IJRVET: Vol. 7, Issue 2
The International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) has published a complete new issue. The second regular issue of 2020 contains the following topics: Nora Cechovsky analyses and discusses students' conceptions and misconceptions of taxes, the difference from scientific knowledge as well as possible reasons for the misconceptions; Marit Lensjø identifies significant learning processes by studying apprentices in a training agency and in communities of plumbers at the building site; Ann Lisa Sylte shows results from an action research project on future competence needs in working life; Bill Esmond and Liz Atkins examine the relationship between greater emphasis on workplace learning in England and societal change; Anne Stellmacher, Svenja Ohlemann, Jan Pfetsch, and Angela Ittel investigate the career choice motivation of students who will become VET teachers, in a comparative approach; and Chiara Urbani identifies relevant competences of preschool teachers in the public and private services of northern and central Italy. Please find all articles on
(Posted by IJRVET Editorial Office <>)

Individual capability and organisational learning
Gregoris Demetriou, George Papageorgiou. Individual learning capability and its association to organisational learning. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 2020 Vol.17 No.2 [Details]

This paper investigates individual learning capability (ILC) and its relationship to organisational learning (OL) as well as its contribution to the creation of learning organisations (LOs). As there is high complexity, debate and ambiguity regarding these concepts, it becomes necessary to create an integrated framework to capture the interrelationships that exist. Going through an extensive literature review, the various approaches to learning are critically evaluated and a new integrated framework is created incorporating the various levels of learning. The proposed framework exhibits the most important dimensions of individual learning, such as social intelligence, task intelligence and mental intelligence as well as learning style preference. These dimensions determine ILC which consequently influences OL. The proposed framework would serve as the basis for creating a more valid model to evaluate the level of OL.
(Contributed by George Papageorgiou <>)

Two-year apprenticeships in Norway and Switzerland
Evi Schmid, Ursula Scharnhorst & Marlise Kammermann (2020). Developing Two-Year Apprenticeships in Norway and Switzerland. Vocations and Learning  Vol. 13 Issue 3 [Details]
Over the last 15 years, different countries have developed low-level vocational education and training (VET) programmes for young people who struggle to enter or complete education at upper secondary level. Switzerland introduced nationally standardised two-year initial VET programmes in 2005, Norway in 2016. Data of interviews with curriculum experts in Switzerland and Norway provided an empirical basis to examine the underlying intentions for offering these programmes and the respective criteria for defining the learning outcomes and the curricula. The reference frame in Norway for identifying appropriate learning outcomes and selecting learning goals are the national curricula of the respective four-year VET programmes. In Switzerland, the learning outcomes of two-year curricula are defined by lower-level occupational activities which are usually identified in analyses involving active workers and experts in the respective fields. Despite these differences, the criteria for developing two-year curricula are largely the same in both countries. The findings further show that two-year VET programmes in Norway are not intended to lead to a direct labour market entry but are understood as a first step of a staged qualification, whereas in Switzerland they are designed to find a viable balance between employability and permeability to the more demanding three- or four-year VET programmes.
(Contributed by Evi Schmid <>)

Advancing entrepreneurial skills and new ventures
Anderson Galvão, Carla Marques, João J. Ferreira (2020). The role of entrepreneurship education and training programmes in advancing entrepreneurial skills and new ventures.  European Journal of Training and Development, Volume 44 Issue 6/7 [Details]
This study aims to understand how entrepreneurship education and training programmes (EETPs) influence the development of entrepreneurial competencies and the creation of business ventures. The study included a questionnaire distributed to 103 EETP participants. The data were processed using SmartPLS software to construct a structural equation model. The results show, first, that the respondents' motivations have a positive impact on participation in entrepreneurship education programmes and company creation. Second, participation in these programmes influences positively individual entrepreneurial orientation and entrepreneurial skills. The findings also show that the entrepreneurship education programme under study has strengthened its participants' capacities and competencies, making these people more autonomous and facilitating their creation of new businesses.
(Abstract obtained from publishers' page)

VET for nearly zero-energy building

Linda Clarke, Melahat Sahin-Dikem, Christopher Winch (2020). Transforming vocational education and training for nearly zero-energy building. Buildings and Cities, 1(1), pp. 650–661 [Details]
Nearly zero energy building (NZEB) requires the training of millions of construction workers and a significant upgrading of vocational education and training (VET) systems across the European Union. The article shows how an approach to VET based only on learning outcomes and targeting specific skills is too narrow and lacking in depth to allow for the systematic application of theoretical low energy construction (LEC) knowledge to practice, and the development of NZEB expertise in the workplace. Theoretically broader, deeper, more technical and inter-disciplinary expertise is needed to build to (LEC) standards and to meet European Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) targets. Instead, VET for LEC has been largely confined to short and task-specific continuing VET (CVET) courses, illustrated in the cases of Slovenia and Ireland and ranging from a narrow, learning outcomes approach to a broader, standards based one linking theoretical considerations to specific applications. Mainstreaming the knowledge, skills and competences required for NZEB into initial VET (IVET) curricula is rare. Though less successful in Finland, it is achieved in Belgian construction IVET, which takes a standards-based approach, successfully embeds LEC elements and seeks to overcome occupational boundaries and develop a holistic understanding of the construction process.
(Contributed by Linda Clarke <>)

Employee voice and lifelong education capabilities
Bénédicte Zimmermann. Employee voice and lifelong education capabilities in France and Germany: two models of responsibility. International Journal of Training and Development, Vol.24, Issue 3 [Details]
This paper discusses the scope of the employee’s voice in lifelong education decisions, with a focus on qualified assembly‐line workers and professional development schemes allowing their upward mobility out of the assembly line. Using a capability approach, it investigates voice as part of people’s agency. Beyond examining the channels that allow employees to have a say in training matters – weak definition of voice – it addresses voice as a process that participates in the conversion of the available training resources and opportunities into lifelong education achievements – a strong definition of voice. Comparing two subsidiaries of a multinational firm, one located in Germany and the other in France, we ask under what institutional and organizational conditions employees are able to express and then achieve what they value. In adopting a multi‐level perspective which integrates qualitative data of an institutional, organizational and individual nature, we show how, in France and Germany, the worker’s voice in training matters pertains to two different models of responsibility sharing.
(Contributed by Bénédicte Zimmermann <>)

Benefits from firm-sponsored training
Who benefits from firm-sponsored training? Benoit Dostie (HEC Montréal, Canada, and IZA, Germany). Article in IZA World of Labor 2020 [Details]
Firm-sponsored training is an investment in which both workers and firms can share the benefits. Workers benefit through higher wages and increased skills. Firms benefit through increased innovation and a higher productivity of labour. There is also evidence that firm-sponsored training complements other types of investment in the firm. Policymakers need to consider the importance of firm-sponsored training as a key driver of productivity growth. Policy should also be directed toward reducing barriers to training that may result from a lack of information or access to credit, particularly in smaller firms.

(Info received from Education and Employers Research: Digest August 2020 <>)

International mobility of apprentices in Europe
Cedefop has published a collection of articles on long-term international mobility of apprentices in Europe, in cooperation with its ReferNet network. In this collection of articles, Cedefop's ReferNet network members present a set of factors that (may) have an impact on apprentices' mobility, and discuss how these (may) act as enablers or disablers in this effort. The articles aim at identifying possible or actual enablers and disablers of long-term cross-country mobility of apprentices at two levels: framework level (external factors to apprenticeships) and apprenticeship system/scheme design level. Where possible, the articles also aim at identifying what works and what does not in existing policies, initiatives and projects regarding the international mobility of apprentices (at implementation level). The articles offer valuable insights into the different types of challenges to putting the policy into practice. Cedefop’s study on long-term mobility of apprentices, to be concluded at the end of 2020, will bring more in-depth evidence to support the policy. For further information see this page. The articles are available here.
(Info received from Cedefop newsletter No 102)

The future of TVET teaching
UNESCO-UNEVOC study on the trends shaping the future of TVET teaching. 2020 [Details]
The following report presents the results of the trends mapping study on the future of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) teaching, conducted by UNESCO-UNEVOC. The study aimed to engage the international TVET community to: (i) improve the understanding of the implications of global disruptions; (ii) gather knowledge, insights, experience; and (iii) highlight promising practices in preparing TVET teaching staff to deliver the skills needed in the 21st century and beyond. Coordinated by UNESCO-UNEVOC, trends mapping studies aim to further the international community's understanding of contemporary key issues concerning TVET. The studies review existing literature and policies, and engage TVET stakeholders from around the world through surveys and virtual conferences.
(Info received from Wouter de Regt via UNESCO-UNEVOC TVeT Forum digest <>)

Skill needs in response to the COVID-19 crisis
Guidelines on rapid assessment of reskilling and upskilling needs in response to the COVID-19 crisis. ILO publication 07 August 2020 [Details]
Skills development has an important role to play in the immediate effort to lessen the impact of COVID-19 while the pandemic is active, in building the resilience of workers and firms, and in preparing for recovery. Time is of the essence in this response, to help speed recovery from recession, to get people back to work safely, to limit the career scarring effects of prolonged unemployment and skills mismatch, and to take advantage of opportunities that may otherwise dissipate over time. These rapid assessment guidelines aim to inform timely and practical action within the constraints of public health and workplace OSH policies. The guidelines focus on three broad types of impact on the labour market, and on demand for skills and opportunities for workers, with implications for reskilling and upskilling needs. Read more
(Info received from ILO Employment Policies: News Update <>)

NOTE: References to publications on European research in learning and work are provided by the WIFO pages on Books [],  Journals [] and Articles [].


Discussion topics: 

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