Special Issue Call for Papers: Going Back-to-school in Vocational Training

International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET)

Guest Editors: Louis Cournoyer (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada), Geneviève Fournier (Université Laval, Canada), & Jonas Masdonati (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland)

Valued and positioned very differently within different national education systems, vocational training is certainly a key lever for development of collective wealth (Billett, 2014). It also constitutes a decisive way of attaining personal achievement and satisfaction for workers, provides them with a unique opportunity to develop their potential and, in turn, offers a significant tool for preventing social exclusion and poverty (Field, Hoeckel, Kish, & Kuczera, 2009; Vonthron, Lagabrielle, & Pouchard, 2007). Depending on countries and education systems, Vocational education and training (VET) refers to different forms and ways of learning (Brockmann, Clarke, & Winch, 2008; Powell, Bernhard, & Graf, 2012). One of these considers VET as an apprenticeship training leading to a recognized diploma and to the practice of an occupation or a profession. VET attracts different kinds of people at various stages of their lives. While the traditional student population of adolescents and young adults continues to enter VET after their compulsory schooling, an increasing number of adults comes from different backgrounds and non-linear paths (Molgat, Deschenaux, & LeBlanc, 2011). After a series of more or less successful experiences on the labor market, individuals with “non-linear” pathways enroll in a VET program as adults with a strong desire to acquire a profession that meets their aspirations and needs, even if those projects are not always clearly defined (Lehmann, Taylor & Wright, 2014).

In recent years, various scientific journals dealing with VET have addressed this topic of adults going back to school in terms of didactic and technological innovations, applied teaching programs or labor market demands. Few of them address educational, professional and personal trajectories of those adult students who enroll in a VET program. More specifically, few papers considered (1) the decision-making process leading to a return in a VET program, (2) the many realities and challenges faced by these adult students, (3) the issues and impacts of obtaining a VET diploma on their career, and (4) its effects over their whole life course. This special issue focuses on contributions specifically focused on “going back to school in Vocational Education and Training”. Although the individual must be at the heart of the proposed theme, proposed papers could take different forms (such as psychological, sociological or educational), forms (theoretical, conceptual, empirical), and methodological approaches (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods). They might cover a variety of topics related to adult’s education paths, such as:

  • Adult VET students’ personal and professional identity construction
  • The role of self-efficacy beliefs in regard of school success of adults enrolled in VET
  • The influence of relationships on the decision to go back to school and to enroll in VET
  • Social inequalities in adults’ access to VET
  • Educational challenges of VET with adults
  • Personal, social, and school barriers of adults enrolled in VET
  • Companies involvement in VET of people going back to school
  • Professional socialization processes for adults in VET

Please note that the committee reserves the right to orient the selection of papers in order to foster the international perspective of this special issue.

Information for Submission

Prospective contributors are invited to submit an expression of interest and extended abstract of up to 500 words by Thursday 1st September 2016 to

Professor Louis Cournoyer: cournoyer.louis(at)uqam.ca

  • The guest editors will contact all contributors and inform them of the outcome of their submission by end of September 2016.
  • A selection of authors will be invited to submit a full paper with a deadline for submission of 1st January, 2017.
  • It should be noted that an invitation to submit a full paper does not guarantee publication as all papers will be subject to the Journal’s peer referee process.
  • Submitted papers must follow the Journal guidelines which can be found at http://www.ijrvet.net


Billett, S. (2014). The standing of vocational education: sources of its societal esteem and implications for its enactment. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 66(1), 1-21.

Brockmann, M., Clarke, L., & Winch, C. (2008). Knowledge, skills, competence: European divergences in vocational education and training (VET)—the English, German and Dutch cases. Oxford review of education, 34(5), 547-567.

Field, S., Hoeckel, K., Kis, V. & Kuczera, M. (2009). Learning for jobs. OECD policy review of vocational education and training. Initial Report. Paris, France: OECD.

Molgat, M., Deschenaux, F. and LeBlanc, P. (2011). Vocational education in Canada: do policy directions dans youth trajectories always meet? Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 63(4), 505-524.

Lehmann, W., Taylor, A., & Wright, L. (2014). Youth apprenticeships in Canada: on their inferior status despite skilled labour shortages. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 66(4), 572-589.

Powell, J. J., Bernhard, N., & Graf, L. (2012). The emergent European model in skill formation comparing higher education and vocational training in the Bologna and Copenhagen processes. Sociology of Education, 85(3), 240-258.

Vonthron, A. M., Lagabrielle, C., et Pouchard, D. (2007). Le maintien en formation professionnelle qualifiante: effets de déterminants motivationnels, cognitifs et sociaux. L’orientation scolaire et professionnelle, 36(3), 401-420.