In this edition of the L&W Newsletter, you should note in particular the call for papers regarding the 7th International VET Congress in Bern (see Conferences) and the Thematic issue of ERVET on exploring resilience (see Publications). Also, note the date for the Adult Education Academy in Würzburg (see Programmes and Projects). And don't miss the online webinars on HRD starting 2nd June (see Networks and Organisations)!
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 August 2021. You are invited to submit short texts (100 to 200 words, including links to web pages, but without attachments) - please by 30 July 2021 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 (http://www.wifo-gate.org/) and download the L&W Newsletter in PDF. Please pass the Newsletter on to your colleagues and networks.
Research Forum WIFO
Editor of the L&W Newsletter
Contact: [email protected]
Please note: My new email address [email protected] has replaced the former address <sabine.manning[at]wifo.b.shuttle.de>. My contact address [email protected] continues to be valid.
International congress on research in VET: Call for papers
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 leading 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]>)
Learning in the age of industry 4.0: Update
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]>)
Virtual exchange on education solutions
Online event: eLearning Africa Primary & Secondary Education Virtual Exchange, June 7 – 13, 2021
The newly launched eLearning Africa Primary & Secondary Education Virtual Exchange is part of a series of peer-to-peer events, offering you the opportunity to join our Community of Practice and meet colleagues, stakeholders, policy makers, decision makers, educators, and providers of online learning and EdTech products, at a time when new education solutions have never been so relevant. Our online platform allows you to get an in-depth understanding of the latest trends and an appreciation of best practice in education, highlighting the various products, platforms and solutions that are available in the market. This programme will also include some topics on vocational education & training. You can apply via this link: Virtual Exchange Application.
(Info received from Rebecca Stromeyer <[email protected]>)
Networks and Organisations
Online webinars on HRD
The University Forum for HRD has organised a series of free online webinars in June 2021. The first of two linked events on writing for publication on 2nd June at 15.00 BST, addresses the perennial topic of Communicating a Compelling Contribution. The second is on 3rd June at 15.00 BST and examines Theorising Human Resource Development. The third webinar is very topical in a number of ways and is on Practising Inclusivity in Times of Crisis. The date and time are 17 June at 12.30 BST. Further details and how to register can be found at this link.
(Contributed by Jim Stewart <[email protected]>)
Review of VET & Culture workshop
The network Vet & Culture arranged a workshop on Closeness and distance(s) in pedagogical encounters in March 2021 with researchers from different continents. The thematic inputs from Germany, France, Spain and Finland as well as the discussions on the future of the network (mission, communication, documentation, publishing, sharing & caring) have been fruitful and inspiring. A padlet was actively used for both, collecting associations by the topic of closeness and distances as well as notions of future activities for the network. The voluntary network of senior and junior researchers and students, involved in cross-cultural, independent and critical research on transformations in vocational education and in relations between work, education and politics, is open for interested researchers in the field of VET and adult learning.
(Contributed by Franz Xaver Kaiser <[email protected]>)
IJRVET reaches Q2 in journal rank
The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator captures the scientific influence of journals indexed in the major science database, SCOPUS. Inclusion in the Scopus database and the score SJR requires a successful review process, in which the quality of a journal is verified. Quartiles are used to classify the scientific influence of the indexed journals: Q1 (highest quartile) to Q4 (lowest quartile). The International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) was reported in the SJR for the first time in 2019. Although it was the first ranking of the journal, IJRVET directly reached Q3, and already in 2020 it achieved an even higher rank: IJRVET is reported as a Q2 journal in the current SJR. It is thus situated in the same quartile as e.g. the journal "Vocations and Learning" (Springer). For more information see contribution by Michael Gessler on vetnetsite.
(Info received from VETNET <[email protected]>)
Programmes and Projects
Adult education academy
Join the next Adult Education Academy (07.-18. February 2022) in Würzburg. Since 2014, the Academy takes 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.
(Posted by Jennifer Danquah <[email protected]>)
Greenovet: Skills for a green Europe
The Erasmus+ project "Greenovet" (2020-2024) aims to foster the development of Vocational Education and Training (VET) excellence in green innovation across Europe through the establishment of Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) that will facilitate an innovative, inclusive and sustainable economy. The CoVEs are being established in four regions: Styria (Austria), Vaasa (Finland), Skopje (North Macedonia), and Leiria (Portugal). Each CoVE will focus the knowledge, resources and infrastructure of key stakeholders in the development of innovation and skills ecosystems, contributing to regional development and promoting environmental, social and economic development in Europe through green and sustainable innovation processes. The CoVEs bring together regional VET providers at different levels (upper-secondary and higher), local companies (large and SMEs), sectoral and employer representatives, regional governments and regional innovation agencies, along with national engagement at ministerial and social partner levels. The project coordination is managed by FH Joanneum, Austria. More details from Frederick Elliott Gaved ([email protected]) and on project website.
(Contributed by Frederick Elliott Gaved c/o Sabine Schwenk <[email protected]>)
The EU project TRANSVAL
The TRANSVAL project was launched in March 2021. It is an Erasmus+/KA3 project that aims to test innovative approaches to validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) of transversal skills in five pilot countries (Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Belgium). The project also aims to professionalise validation and guidance practitioners, bridge the different sectors and stakeholders of education and employment, and monitor and evaluate the results of the experiment and the impact on practitioners and socioeconomically disadvantaged adults. The policy experimentation project is coordinated by the Austrian NQF NCP at the OeAD-GmbH with 3s co-leading the work package related to ‘Research evaluation’. The project website is under preparation, current information is available on the project Facebook page. More details from Mariya Dzhengozova ([email protected]).
(Contributed by Mariya Dzhengozova c/o Sabine Schwenk <[email protected]>)
Upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults
Thematic country review on upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults. Project on France and Italy 2021-2022 [Details]
This project will examine how the 2016 European Recommendation on Upskilling Pathways has been acknowledged in French and in Italian policy frameworks. Targeting low-skilled adults, this Recommendation aims to help them acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and/or acquire a broader set of skills by progressing towards an upper secondary qualification or equivalent (Level 3 or 4 in the European Qualification Framework) to ensure better social and professional integration. Under the coordination of the Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, this project brings together the Istituto Nazionale per l’Analisi delle Politiche Pubbliche (INAPP), in charge of the Italian Thematic country review, and Iredu (Research Institute on Education) and Céreq, in charge of the French Thematic country review.
(Info received from Céreq News - Spring 2021 <[email protected]>)
ERVET call for papers: Exploring resilience
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 well-being 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 many 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 from now 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)
Opening and extending vocational education
Philipp Eigenmann, Philipp Gonon and Markus Weil (eds). Opening and Extending Vocational Education. Reihe: Studies in Vocational and Continuing Education. Peter Lang 2021 [Details]
Vocational education has always been subject to change due to relations to several varying rationales, like education, economy or vocation. Vocational education cannot be reduced to skill formation for the economy; it rather combines economic as well as educational and social functions for society. These somewhat contradictive functions have to be permanently adapted and renegotiated. In this context, vocational education has been opened and extended in various directions over time. Vocational education in a broad sense embraces apprenticeship and initial vocational education schemes as well as further education and professional training settings. The different rationales mentioned and also learning sites in enterprises, schools or educational providers could be addressed by the topic opening and extending vocational education. This means taking a broader view on contexts and histories, by addressing transdisciplinary and intercultural aspects or by using multi-perspective approaches. The book includes 3 sections: #Historical Perspectives on Extending Vocational Education, #Opening Structures of Vocational Education and #Opening and Extending Formal Vocational Education.
(Contributed by Philipp Gonon <[email protected]>)
Oxford handbook of career development
Peter J. Robertson, Tristram Hooley, and Phil McCash (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Career Development. Published online by Oxford University Press (in progress; first article 2020) [Details]
Since 2016, a group of NICEC Fellows (National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, UK) has been working on a massive book project. Our inspiration came from a conference organised by NICEC in 2016. At this event, we challenged ourselves to 'rethink career development for a globalised world'. The conference commemorated Rethinking Careers Education and Guidance (Watts, Law, Killeen, Kidd, & Hawthorn, 1996) which for many of us had long served as a touchstone. Our work began as an attempt to update Rethinking and to build on the discussions that had taken place at the NICEC conference. But it quickly became something more, as we recognised the need to make the new book more international and more multi-disciplinary, and to recognise the multiple traditions and perspectives that characterise the field. Now, we are delighted to announce the culmination of these collective efforts with the publication of the Oxford Handbook of Career Development. This represents a watershed moment for NICEC and potentially a new landmark for the field. Further reading: NICEC event page.
(Contributed by Bors Borbely <[email protected]>)
Regional qualifications frameworks
Auzinger M., Castel-Branco, E., Deij, A., Fellinger, J. (2021, online). Regional Qualifications Frameworks Initiatives Around the Globe 2020. A comparative study. European Training Foundation [Download]
This study report was developed on behalf of the European Training Foundation (ETF) to map the latest developments of Regional Qualifications Frameworks (RQFs) and explore the feasibility of comparison with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The study identified and compared 15 RQF initiatives, largely based on qualitative interviews. RQFs usually connect several countries’ National Qualifications Frameworks in a single world region. They are often linked with regional Economic Communities like the EU, ASEAN, CARICOM or SADC. Some frameworks are not united by geography but by other binding elements such as language, a common heritage and shared culture or common interests. Existing RQF initiatives display a large diversity in terms of goals, setup, features and functionality. They differ in their goals (e.g. mobility of individuals, mutual recognition, harmonisation and integration of qualification and education systems). The study report thus seeks to capture both the similarities and differences of existing RQFs as well as their evolution over time.
(Contributed by Monika Auzinger [email protected])
Survey on continuing professional development
Listening to vocational teachers and principals: Results of the ETF's international survey 2018. Author: Julian Stanley, European Training Foundation 2021 [Details]
This study examines and compares the state of provision of continuing professional development (CPD) for vocational teachers and trainers across nine countries, namely: Albania, Algeria, Belarus, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey. Rather than simply investigating CPD, the study examines it in the context of the working life of vocational teachers, including their pedagogy, their qualifications, their work satisfaction and their careers. It also considers the context of the schools in which they work: their culture, governance, resources and planning.
(Contributed by Julian Stanley <[email protected]>)
New editorship for The International Journal of Training and Development
The International Journal of Training and Development (IJTD), established in 1997 and published by Wiley/London as an internationally recognised journal, is a scholarly forum for debate, theoretical development and the reporting of high-quality original, conceptual or empirical research – whether quantitative or qualitative – aimed at the academic and wider communities, as well as those engaged in public policy formulation and implementation. We are very pleased to announce that the first issue under the new editorship and the newly formed board has now been published (Issue 25-1). We would be very happy to receive your own high quality contributions. Please also support our work by promoting the journal to other researchers and colleagues. For further information please look up IJTD: Aims and Scope. Editors: Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz (EiC), University of Cologne, Germany; Prof. Kothandaraman Kumar (AE), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India; Asst. Prof. Dr. Jun Li (AE), Tongji University, China; Asst. Prof. Dr. Jay Plasman (AE), Ohio State University, USA; Prof. Dr. Volker Wedekind (AE), Nottingham University, UK.
(Contributed by Matthias Pilz <[email protected]>)
European approaches to sustainable work
European Journal of Workplace Innovation, Vol. 6 No. 2 (2021). Special Double Issue: European Approaches to Sustainable Work [Details]
The purpose of this double issue of European Journal of Workplace Innovation (EJWI) is to highlight European approaches to sustainable work, digitalization, and job-related transitions. The first issue focuses on the future of work and the transformation of the European workplace from a policy perspective, while the second issue covers research on job longevity, equality and health, the role of new technology at work and the social partners. The ongoing transformation due to digitalization, the green deal and Covid-19 illuminates the need for transition learning, competence development and anticipatory skills. Editor and contact: Kenneth Abrahamsson ([email protected])
(Contributed by Kenneth Abrahamsson)
Digital learning for European SMEs
Stefanos Nachmias & Elena Hubschmid-Vierheilig (2021). We need to learn how to love digital learning 'again': European SMEs response to COVID-19 digital learning needs. Human Resource Development International. Volume 24, Issue 2 [Details]
This review provides a critical assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on digital learning in European Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs represent the backbone of the European economy, as they account for 99% of businesses with 24 million SMEs in the European Union. The review therefore emphasises the need to understand further digital transformation and the role of Human Resource Development (HRD) moving forward. For the first time, digital learning has been seen as the main force for business survival. It is a key strategic priority and a strategy to offer SMEs a distinctive competitiveness, reinforce innovation, build future capacity and harness the benefits of digital learning as a way to increase efficiency. Digital learning might be the solution for addressing SMEs' skills gap in certain industries. The review offers some critical arguments on how to learn digitally, how to solve problems and how to overcome barriers in a digital workplace within European SMEs. Academia and policy makers have now a unique opportunity to drive future research and inform new HRD practices for SMEs across Europe. The review hopes to offer some help to SMEs on how they could potentially utilize digital skills in the future.
(Contributed by Stefanos Nachmias <[email protected]>
Implementing the recognition of prior learning
Markus Maurer. The limits of reforming access to vocational qualifications: the slow expansion of recognition of prior learning (RPL) in Sweden and Switzerland. Journal of Vocational Education & Training. Latest Articles, Published online: 08 Apr 2021 [Details]
This article analyses the development and implementation of policies that aim at improving the 'recognition of prior learning' (RPL) in the vocational education and training (VET) systems of Sweden and Switzerland. It argues that the evolution of RPL policies and schemes needs to be analysed in relation to educational expansion, which produces pressure on educational policy-makers to provide alternative forms of access to qualifications. It furthermore underlines that actors who have profited from the scarcity value of their educational qualifications are likely to oppose alternative forms of access that would devalue their qualifications through educational inflation. The article's argument thus contrasts with those that attribute the slow expansion of RPL to either a lack of political will or epistemological constraints. Linking the growing political economic literature on skill formation with an Archerian perspective on educational change, the article also shows that, despite the statist and collective skill formation systems having some trends in common, the design and implementation of RPL have evolved differently in each.
(Contributed by Markus Maurer <[email protected]>)
E-learning for in-service teacher training
Christian Hofmeister & Matthias Pilz (2020). Using E-Learning to Deliver In-Service Teacher Training in the Vocational Education Sector: Perception and Acceptance in Poland, Italy and Germany. ResearchGate [Details]
For VET teachers, lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important due to the rising demands on teacher professionalism. In this paper, the perceptions of teachers from Poland, Italy and Germany towards e-learning formats are analysed in detail. The study aims to show the relevance of e-learning in teacher training. The results of the study should be used to support the development of further e-learning formats.
(Info received from Matthias Pilz: University of Cologne G.R.E.A.T. Newsletter <[email protected]>)
Role of local training agencies
Svein Michelsen, Håkon Høst, Regula Julia Leemann & Christian Imdorf. Training agencies as intermediary organisations in apprentice training in Norway and Switzerland: general purpose or niche production tools? Journal of Vocational Education & Training. Latest Articles, Published online: 29 March 2021 [Details]
In recent years Norway and Switzerland have introduced local training agencies (TAs), local intermediary organisations consisting of firms involved in apprentice training. In both countries, the starting point for the formation of the TA was roughly similar: enabling more firms to participate in apprentice training. As the results show, in Switzerland TAs have provided a potential for social inclusion as well as the construction of broader occupational profiles, but the implementation of rotation schemes has been fraught with difficulties. Swiss TAs wield stronger formal decision-making powers in coordination, but also seem more permeated by internal tensions. By contrast, in Norway TA rotation schemes requiring strong forms for coordination have not materialised, providing less tension and smooth implementation. While the Norwegian TAs has been supported by strong and permanent subsidies, in Switzerland subsidies by public authorities or professional associations are of a more limited and temporary character. Despite similar tasks, TAs have developed differently in the two countries. In Norway TAs have evolved as general-purpose tools in the governance of apprentice training, while in Switzerland they are restricted to small niches. The article investigates these different outcomes, using theories of intermediary organisations in the governance of collective skill formation systems at the local level.
(Contributed by Svein Michelsen <[email protected]>)
Expectations of SME employers
Lea Zenner-Höffkes, Roger Harris, Chris Zirkle, Matthias Pilz. A comparative study of the expectations of SME employers recruiting young people in Germany, Australia and the United States. International Journal of Training and Development. Early View. First Published: 6 May 2021 [Details]
Debate continues to feature prominently in many countries on such notions as skills, skill shortages and employability. Clearly such notions remain significant internationally in the rhetoric of both economic reform and training policy and practice. However, the problem of differing perceptions remains. The purpose of this comparative study was to examine the expectations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) when they recruit young people. Focusing on Germany, Australia and the United States, interviews were held with 30 managers in two diverse job roles—hospitality front-desk staff and automotive technicians. In addition to differences in the range of desired skills between the job roles in these countries, difficulties in recruiting young people were highlighted by the study. Generational differences and academization were perceived as effecting the hiring of young workers. Various problems with each country's general education system were also emphasized, as managers perceived many young people being inadequately prepared for work. The study also demonstrates the influence of the skill formation system of the countries is less relevant in comparison to the sector in which the SMEs are active.
(Abstract quoted from Publishers' page)
Perception of training quality
Krötz, M. & Deutscher, V. (2021). Differences in perception matter – How differences in the perception of training quality of trainees and trainers affect drop-out in VET. Vocations and Learning, 1-41 [Details]
The article presents a new multi-perspective approach to the analysis of in-company training quality. For the first time, differences in perception between trainees and their trainers were measured and used to examine their effect on drop-out intentions by trainees. The novel approach not only shows a significant effect on drop-out intentions, but also explains drop-out intentions more generally, and with a higher predictive power than the conventional one-sided trainee-perspective used in most surveys. For vocational practice, multi-perspective approaches to training quality seem to promise meeting the challenges of a complex and interactive training reality. Complementing the largely subjective quality criteria via a second perspective could be a useful tool to monitor training quality and, when differences increase, enable early intervention in order to reduce drop-out intentions.
(Contributed by Maximilian Krötz <[email protected]>)
Development of students' entrepreneurial skills
Daniel, A.D. and Almeida, J. (2020). The role of junior enterprises in the development of students' entrepreneurial skills. Education + Training, Vol. 63 No. 3, pp. 360-376 [Details]
This study assesses the effects of junior enterprises (JEs) on the entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions of higher education students in engineering, compared to a group of social science students, in Portugal and Brazil. The results show that students enrolled in JEs show higher levels of entrepreneurial intention (EI), as well as their attitude towards the behaviour (ATB), perceived behavioural control (PBC) and social norms (SN); and the impact of this extracurricular activity is higher on engineering students than on social sciences students. The results have important implications for engineering higher education institutions. Although many of them provide entrepreneurship training courses, they should also encourage students to join extracurricular activities or even create their own at their institution to complement the development of their skills. Also, teachers should be encouraged to integrate these activities into their subjects, avoiding a major barrier to the participation in extracurricular activities which is a constraint on the students' time. Finally, participation in extracurricular activities can be promoted by institutions in many ways, such as allowing students to obtain academic credits or through supporting financially or logistically the organisations that promote these activities.
(Abstract quoted from Publishers's page)
Gender, education, and labour market participation
Lesley Andres, Wolfgang Lauterbach, Janine Jongbloed & Hartwig Hümme. Gender, education, and labour market participation across the life course: A Canada/Germany comparison. International Journal of Lifelong Education. Latest Articles. Published online: 10 May 2021 [Free eprint link]
In this article, the authors employ a comparative life course approach for Canada and Germany to unravel the relationships among general and vocational educational attainment and different life course activities, with a focus on the labour market and income inequality by gender. Life course theory and related concepts of 'time,' 'normative patterns,' 'order and disorder,' and 'discontinuities' are used to inform the analyses. Data from the Paths on Life's Way (Paths) project in British Columbia, Canada and the German Pathways from Late Childhood to Adulthood (LifE) which span 28 and 33 years respectively, are employed to examine life trajectories from leaving school to around the age of 45. Sequence analysis and cluster analyses portray, both within and between countries, differences - and in particular gender differences - in educational attainment, employment, and other activities across the life course which has an impact on ultimate labour market participation and income levels. The authors find that 'normative' life courses that follow a traditional order correspond with higher levels of full-time work and higher incomes; in Germany more than in Canada, these clusters are male dominated. They also find that clusters characterised by 'disordered' and 'discontinuous' life courses in both countries are female dominated and associated with lower income levels.
(Contributed by Janine Jongbloed <[email protected]>)
NOTE: References to publications on European research in learning and work are provided by the WIFO pages on Books [www.books.wifo-gate.org], Journals [www.journals.wifo-gate.org] and Articles [www.articles.wifo-gate.org].
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