Latest news on European research in learning and work - FINAL edition: August 2021

Latest news on European research in learning and work - FINAL edition: August 2021

In this edition of the L&W Newsletter, you should note in particular the call for papers regarding: the Nordic conference on adult education and learning in Vestfold and the International congress on research in VET in Bern (see Conferences), the TAKE 2022 conference in Porto (Programmes and Projects), the JVET special issue on TVET race and ethnicity and the ERVET thematic issues on Exploring resilience in VET and Promoting financial literacy in VET (see Publications). Also, save the date for the G.R.E.A.T. Conference 2022 (see Conferences). And don't overlook the Vacancy announcement for adult education at FSU Jena (see Networks and Organisations)!  

This is our FINAL edition of the L&W Newsletter. It has been a great pleasure for us to share news and views about Learning & Work for so many years. Many thanks to all who contributed information for this Newsletter, 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 passing on the news via their mailing lists and web portals. And special thanks to John Manning, who has checked every edition of the Newsletter for correct language and readability.

You are welcome to share further information about Learning & Work in Europe by contacting or joining the platforms of our partners addressed above. The WIFO Gateway ( including the present and the previous editions of the L&W Newsletter will continue to be available as an Archive for your reference. 

Best wishes
Sabine Manning
Research Forum WIFO
L&W Newsletter Editor
Contact: [email protected]


Nordic conference on adult education and learning: Call for papers
9th Nordic Conference on Adult Education and Learning "New challenges - new learning - new possibilities", 18-20 May 2022, USN Handelshøyskolen Vestfold, Norway 
The three years since the last NAEL conference have been characterized by adult education encountering new challenges. The pandemic-initiated escalation of unemployment and its parallel economic recession have brought about an urgent demand for new learning. The continual transformation of informational structures and online media challenges the framework for democratic dialogue that has long been a prominent feature of Nordic adult education; at the same time increasing climate change calls for a green transition with entrepreneurial initiatives that activate an inclusive labour market. The program focuses on the ways in which adult education can stimulate new learning to solve the dilemmas facing society, organisations, and individuals. Call for papers: Please submit an abstract of maximum 400 words no later than 01.02.2022. Registration will open in September 2021. Further information is available on the conference web page.
(Info received from PASCAL International Observatory Site Digest)

International congress on research in VET: Call for papers still open!
The 7th VET Congress, organized by the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, will take place between 2 and 4 February 2022 in Bern, Switzerland. It is devoted to the theme "The future potential of vocational education and training: Strengthening VET for the next generation". The theme alludes to the divergent developments that vocational education and training has been facing in recent years. We invite researchers to submit contributions related to the main topic of the congress. We also welcome all other areas and topics of VET research. Deadline for submission: 15 August 2021. For further information please visit our website.
(Contributed by Irene Kriesi <[email protected]>)

Save the date: G.R.E.A.T. conference 2022
The 4th International G.R.E.A.T. Conference will take place from 28 to 30 September 2022 at the University of Cologne, Germany. The Conference will deal with the topic of "Informal Learning in VET". If you are interested in participating, please save the date for next year. Details for registration and the Call for Papers will be announced in October 2021.
(Info received from G.R.E.A.T. Editorial Team <[email protected]>)

STE 2021: Updated programme
2nd International Conference on Science and Technology Education STE 2021 in Porto, Portugal, 7-8 October 2021 [Details]
Please download the provisional programme of STE 2021. We have 61 papers, including 14 posters, and 24 countries are represented. We can still accept abstracts, especially for posters. The abstracts should be sent electronically to [email protected]. The abstract template can be downloaded from the conference website. The conference will operate in a mixed format, where presentations can be held physically but also using a video-conferencing system. We will give instructions about online participation soon. In case the COVID situation does not allow a hybrid format, we will need to go for online only. I take the opportunity to inform you about a new journal on education that we have just launched with Prof António Ferreira: Journal on Teaching Engineering. We will have a special issue with selected full length papers from this conference.
(Info received from Lucas F M da Silva c/o STE2021 conference mailing list posted 29.6.2021 <[email protected]>)

Skillman international forum 2021
The SIF – Skillman International Forum 2021 will take place on November 15-18 as a hybrid event. It is aimed at improving TVET and education in the advanced manufacturing sector. The primary goal of the event is to encourage the adoption of systematic approaches to skills anticipation and foresight. We need to join forces to promote an approach to curriculum design based on skills foresight analysis. Through a multi-channel engagement plan, this approach must involve all the actors and stakeholders also involved in the regional smart specialization platforms. This year the forum addresses three main topics: Digital and green revolution, Micro-credentials, and Sharing is caring. The online event, organized in collaboration with IVETA, AER, ENNI and EAPRIL, and in special partnership with the European Training Foundation, has already opened for registration. So register now!
(Info received via Skillman newsletter July 2021 <[email protected]>)

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

Networks and Organisations

Vacancy announcement: Adult education
The Chair of Adult Education is currently searching for a Research Associate to join our international team at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany, starting from September 1, 2021. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on a doctoral dissertation project in the area of Adult Education/HR/Vocational Education and Training/Coaching. The position is initially limited to 3 years in part-time employment (20 hours/week). FSU offers attractive fringe benefits. The deadline for applications is 06.08.2021. For further details of the vacancy see FSU website.
(Announcement received from Kaethe Schneider <[email protected]>)

Learning in the age of industry 4.0: Register now!
EAPRIL 2021 Conference on Learning in the Age of Industry 4.0. Kufstein, Austria, November 24-26, 2021
This year's Conference addresses the changing goals of lifelong learners. Practitioner researchers are encouraged to participate in an in-depth dialogue regarding the opportunities provided through learning in the age of industry 4.0 and digitalisation in education. Digitalisation and digital technologies emerging in education and learning are phenomena in theory and practice in this era. Several examples have already emerged and are intensively discussed in research as well as integrated in practice. Digitalisation not only affects all types of education but also provides opportunities for collaborative learning across different school types and didactic concepts. So we would like to highlight the importance of how and why modern technologies and methodologies in the age of industry 4.0 can cross or connect modern didactic concepts as well as types of education. As one of the largest European communities for practitioner-researchers, the EAPRIL conference is the perfect platform for discussions on this topic. You are welcome to register. For all information on the conference see our website. You may also view this promo video: EAPRIL2021 ONLINE - Register Now!
(Contributed by Riet Elen <[email protected]>)

Adult education academy: Update

Join the next Adult Education Academy 07.-18. February 2022 in Würzburg. Since 2014, the Academy has taken place at the University of Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, in the first two weeks of February. The Adult Education Academy promotes international networks in adult education and lifelong learning, aiming to foster a connection between academic learning and the field of adult education. During the intensive programme of two weeks, analytical and comparative skills in adult education are trained in an international environment. An understanding of internationally relevant educational policies in the context of lifelong learning is provided, while communication, teambuilding skills and critical thinking are strengthened by working together in this international setting. For more information about the Academy and the application process, please visit our website. Start your application here - deadline: 30 August 2021.
(Posted by Jennifer Danquah <[email protected]>)


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

The Future of VET study: Invitation to participate
Invitation to take part in a survey of training providers as part of a Cedefop study on ‘The Future of vocational education and training’ [Details]
The Future of VET study (2019 – 2022) seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing vocational education and training across Europe over the next decade and beyond. A key focus of the study is to understand how VET delivery has changed over the recent past and how it is expected to change in the future. Capturing the voice of education and training providers is vitally important here. The study is commissioned by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and led by 3s. VET providers are invited to actively take part in this project by sharing their views on the future of VET, by completing the questionnaire by 3 September 2021.
(Contributed by Monika Auzinger [email protected])

TAKE 2021 and 2022: review and outlook
The TAKE 2021 Conference (Theory and Applications in the Knowledge Economy)  was held online with the support of Universidade Portucalense – UPT, Porto, Portugal, on July 7th – 9th 2021. Detailed information is to be found in the Conference Website. This year's conference had a very obvious main topic: The Knowledge Economy in the Covid-19 Era. A total of 81 participants from 26 countries created three days of joyful intellectual talk on the Covid-19 crisis, with 8 keynotes, 1 Doctoral Workshop and 70 presentations in parallel sessions. TAKE 2022 will be held at Universidade Portucalense – UPT, Porto, Portugal, between July 6th – 8th 2022. Detailed information is to be found on the Conference Website -  Abstracts are welcome until October 31st 2021. We are waiting for you!
(Contributed by Eduardo Tomé <[email protected]>)

Industry 4.0 competences for SMEs
The Erasmus+ project iCOINS aims at developing common EU competences for raising awareness of SMEs on Industry 4.0 through an innovative Training Course. The "ICOINS - Industry 4.0 competences for SMEs" course has been developed within an Erasmus+ Strategic partnership. The project partners are Cankaya University (Turkey), EVM (Spain), HAMK (Finland), Training 2000 (Italy), TTMD (Turkey) and SUPSI (Switzerland). The course provides an insight into the implementation of Industry 4.0 within SMEs. It allows one to acquire knowledge about what Industry 4.0 is, including its challenges and advantages for SMEs, innovative technologies, and solutions within the scope of Industry 4.0. The project addresses the main skill shortages in SMEs in the industry 4.0 context and provides online training modules to fill in the gaps. iCOINS targets a mind change of SME entrepreneurs and employees which will facilitate the creation of a community of practice in the learning and training process and the development of industry 4.0 principles in SMEs. The project is coordinated by Cankaya University in Turkey. More details are available on the project website Current project information is also available on the project Facebook page.
(Contributed by Training2000 <[email protected]>)

Work-o-Witch. A New Blog on Work & Education in Film and Media
Jörg Markowitsch (VET researcher) and Konrad Wakolbinger (documentary film maker) have recently launched Work-o-Witch, an innovative resource in the field of work and education which came into being during the course of the pandemic. They both share a long love for films, specifically when they overlap with their keen appreciation for the topics of work and education, bringing both together in The fact that 'workers leaving a factory' is the very first subject in film history reveals the profound connection between the medium of film and the phenomenon of work and is also the leitmotif and cover image of their blog. Everyone interested is invited to contribute to W-o-W as guest author. Fritz Böhle, Hans G. Bauer and Lorenzo Bonoli already did so, an article by Georg Hans Neuweg will be published soon. Articles are available in English and German. Updates will be made via Newsletter, Medium, Facebook and Twitter. Please subscribe!
(Contributed by Jörg Markowitsch <[email protected]>)

NOTE: An Overview of European research projects [] is provided as part of the WIFO Gateway. Contact: Sabine Manning


TVET race and ethnicity: Call for papers
Call for papers: TVET race and ethnicity in the global south and north. Special Issue of The Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET) [Details]
Following the Black Lives Matter protests and campaigns such as ‘Rhodes Must Fall’, which call for the removal of statues of slavers and colonialists, the issue of race, inequality and education has been placed in the centre of educational debate. It is thus the right moment to revisit TVET, race and ethnicity following the BLM protests but also the ‘new’ conditions arising from COVID-19 and its impact upon (post) neo-liberalism and TVET. We are particularly interested in papers that seek to develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of the complex and varying ways in which race and ethnicity play out in TVET in both the global south and north. The JVET call for papers for its upcoming special issue is now open. The issue will be featured in early 2023. The first stage is a 500 word abstract to be submitted by 1 December 2021.
(Info received from CR&DALL Site Digest and Website)

Exploring resilience in VET: Call for papers
Call for Papers: Exploring resilience in vocational and professional contexts. Thematic Issue. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training (ERVET) [Details]
It is not only since the COVID-19 pandemic that resilience has become a priority and a necessary ingredient for sustaining wellbeing and productivity in the 21st century. Ongoing developments such as increasing work intensification and accountability, rapid technological change, multiple options for study and career choices as well as a general sense of uncertainty and fluidity are only a few of the challenges that people around the globe experience. ERVET welcomes papers that bring together current research that advances the emerging field of resilience in vocational and professional contexts in order to expand our understanding of how resilience can be conceptualised and measured in these contexts, and to provide evidence in terms of effective interventions to build and sustain resilience, especially in times of crisis. Read more and submit your paper. This Call for Papers is open until 31 July 2022. Guest Editors: Prof. Dr. Carmela Aprea ([email protected]), Prof. Susan Beltman ([email protected]) and Dr. Viviana Sappa ([email protected]).
(Info obtained from publishers' page)

Promoting financial literacy in VET: Call for papers
Call for Papers: Promoting financial literacy in Vocational Education and Training. Thematic issue of Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training [Details]
In recent years, financial literacy has been identified as an increasingly important skill, both for shaping personal lives and as a basis for informed social participation and decision-making. Previous studies, however, show that financial literacy varies within and across age and population groups, but that overall deficits must be assumed. In order to remedy this problem and to promote financial literacy effectively, research is needed that focuses on the development and evaluation of support measures. We welcome papers that include but are not limited to: (1) Systematic literature reviews of interventions that promote financial literacy and their effectiveness; (2) Theory-based conceptual considerations for designing interventions to promote financial literacy; (3) Intervention studies to promote financial literacy at a high methodological level. This Call for Papers is open from now until 31 December 2022. Submitted papers will be reviewed in a timely manner and published directly after acceptance. Guest editors: Prof. Dr. Eveline Wuttke ([email protected]), Prof. Dr. Carmela Aprea ([email protected]), Prof. Dr. Bärbel Fürstenau ([email protected]).
(Info obtained from ERVET website)

Comparative history of VET
Philipp Gonon & Thomas Deissinger (2021). Towards an international comparative history of vocational education and training. Editorial and overview of the Special Issue. Journal of Vocational Education & Training. Vol 73 Issue 2 [Details]
This Special Issue is the outcome of a call for papers on the history of VET. The papers were expected to reveal why VET systems developed as they did. The editors trace the development in Europe from guild-based apprenticeships to a modern system of VET. At the same time, they put VET history in an international perspective. This Issue assembles a broad spectrum of topics and countries, presenting the development of VET in different parts of the world. Several articles are comparative studies related to European VET, including: The development and cultural foundations of dual apprenticeships – a comparison of Germany and Switzerland; Women’s vocational home economics education in Finland and Sweden; Comparative VET European research since the 1980s: accommodating changes in VET systems and labour markets; Europeanisation of VET – the Spanish VET system and the influence of European education policies.
(Info obtained from publishers' page)

Looking back, looking ahead: ECVET in focus
The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training. European Commission (written by Auzinger, A. & Luomi-Messerer, K.).  Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. 2021 (online) [Details]
The report looks back at the development and implementation process of the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). It takes stock of its main achievements and how they are taken forward in the 2020 Council Recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience. While the implementation of ECVET can be considered a success in several respects (e.g. in terms of improving the quality of mobility and developing principles to support flexible VET pathways), the eleven years of implementation between 2009 and 2020 were not without challenges. For example, ECVET has had limited success in using credit points to transfer assessed learning outcomes. At a national level, it was noted that ECVET was not always considered holistically with the other EU instruments. However, the report highlights in particular the core principles of ECVET, which remain a priority in the current policy discourse and can be a useful source of inspiration for future EU initiatives.
(Contributed by Karin Luomi-Messerer <[email protected]>)

Do firms facilitate the construction of competences?
This is the second issue of the Céreq international Mission's publication "In and Around" (April 2021, in English).  This new issue, entitled "Do firms facilitate the construction of competences?", is based on a selection of communications presented during the Céreq's 6th Biennial held on September 24th 2020. Why ask the question? We are collapsing under the weight of the term 'competences'. It has taken on a semantic importance it had never achieved before. This new issue includes several studies related to vocational training and SMEs in France, but also a foreign expert's outlook by Lorna Unwin and international outputs.
(Info received from Matteo Sgarzi, Céreq <[email protected]>)

Towards a European comparative methodology
Comparing vocational education and training qualifications: towards a European comparative methodology. Cedefop 2021 [Details]
Cedefop has unveiled the results of a study aiming at a European methodology that will allow the comparison and analysis of the content and profile of vocational education and training (VET) qualifications. This includes translating skills into curricula, programmes and qualifications, to support cross-border research, dialogue and learning, as well as research within countries. The study  ran from 2018 to 2021, and the results were presented on 18 June 2021 at a virtual workshop attended by more than 90 VET experts, stakeholders and policy-makers.
(Info received via Cedefop newsletter No 111 - June 2021)

Exploring vocational excellence
Stanley J & Monteleone, D. (2021). Exploring Vocational Excellence. European Training Foundation (ETF) [Details]
This report provides an evidence-based understanding of what vocational excellence means to the Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) in the ETF Network for Excellence.  Although they self-assess themselves as performing relatively well, their self-rating varies by dimension and their development priorities vary accordingly.  This finding suggests that, if the potential of CoVEs to become drivers of improvement in vocational education is to be optimised, then policy and support for CoVEs should be carefully tailored to match their developmental stage and their priorities.
(Contributed by Julian Stanley <[email protected]>)

Approaches to learning in the context of work
Ulrik Brandi, Rosa Lisa Iannone (2021). Approaches to learning in the context of work – workplace learning and human resources. Journal of Workplace Learning Vol 33 No 6 [Details]
With the purpose of promoting cross-field dialogue, this paper aims to review workplace learning (WPL) and human resource (HR) literature. The authors aim at a conceptual examination and discussion of the bridges linking the two research fields in relation to learning, in an effort to establish an integrated understanding of learning in workplaces. This paper uses a scoping review focused on how learning is approached in WPL and HR studies. An analysis of the selected literature reveals fundamental themes and dimensions that further our understanding of learning in the context of work. Overall, there are three learning dimensions where WPL and HR conceptually interrelate, namely skills, incentives and work design. The scoping review also shows that HR is output-oriented and looks to learning as capital for enterprises, especially in the light of enterprise performance for competence development. WPL centres more on socio-cultural and practice-based configurations and the individual. It encompasses the human dimension of learning as something enriching the whole of life, including work life.
(Abstract provided on publishers' page)

Conditional factors for training activities in multi-national companies
Beke Vogelsang, Matthias Pilz (2021). Conditional factors for training activities in Chinese, Indian and Mexican subsidiaries of German companies. European Journal of Training and Development, Vol 45 Issue 4/5 [Details]
This article focuses on the training activities of 12 German multinational companies (MNCs) that also have subsidiaries in China, India and Mexico. The research question is: Do the MNCs operate in the same way worldwide with regard to training measures in the blue-collar area, and is there thus a transfer of dual practices, or do the different plants develop their own training concepts due to external factors such as the local labour market or state requirements? To investigate this question, face-to-face interviews were conducted in all three countries with the training managers of the 12 MNCs. Thus, a more detailed examination of external influences is possible because of the research design. The study shows that the MNCs do not act in the same way, as the country-specific contextual factors in particular strongly influence the training measures at the intermediate skill level. For this reason, companies need to pay more attention to external factors.
(Contributed by Beke Vogelsang <[email protected]>)

Labour market success of VET graduates
Sabine Hoidn & Vít Šťastný (2021). Labour Market Success of Initial Vocational Education and Training Graduates: A Comparative Study of Three Education Systems in Central Europe. Journal of Vocational Education & Training. Published online: 16 Jun 2021 [Details]
This paper compares inner-country programmes of initial vocational education and training (IVET) in Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany, and their outcomes. Specifically, it aims to analyse and compare the labour market success of graduates of different tracks at the ISCED 3 level in both the early and later stages of their careers. The comparison is based on the analysis of PIAAC 2013 OECD study data. A composite multidimensional indicator was constructed to measure labour market success, and subsequently used as a dependent variable in regression models. The results indicate that, in the systems with dual IVET at the ISCED 3 level (Germany and Austria), graduates are indeed more successful on the labour market than their counterparts with other ISCED 3 tracks. However, their advantage diminishes in later stages of the career. Additionally, in Austria, the success of dual education of young graduates is mediated by individual characteristics. In the system with only school-based IVET (the Czech Republic), this track does not guarantee substantively higher labour market success for young graduates compared to other ISCED 3 tracks and also to those with lower education levels. Czech apprentices in the later stages of career succeed even less than those with education below ISCED 3.
(Abstract provided on publishers' page)

The costs of curricula for training firms
Jürg Schweri, Manuel Aepli & Andreas Kuhn (2021). The costs of standardized apprenticeship curricula for training firms. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training Vol 13, Article number: 16 Open Access [Details]
Key instruments in regulating apprenticeships in countries such as Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland are standardized national curricula, which define hundreds of training occupations. Although clear economic reasons support using such curricula, they necessarily impose costs, especially on firms that train apprentices, but do not use the full set of skills in their productive process and/or train other skills that are not covered by the curriculum. In this paper, we identify the trade-offs involved in setting up training curricula and use data from the most recent survey on the costs and benefits of apprenticeship training among Swiss firms to quantify the associated costs to training firms. On average, training firms state that they do not use 17% of the training content prescribed by the relevant curriculum, and 11% of the companies train additional skills not covered by the curriculum. We show that both kinds of misfit are associated with higher training costs and lower productive output from apprentices. This shows that the regulator imposes costs on firms in order to guarantee broad skills development for apprentices. It also cautions against overly broad curricula that may impose disproportionate costs on firms.
(Quoted from Abstract and Introduction provided on publishers' page)

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



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