IJRVET: Special Issue published

International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) published today the Special Issue: Social Dimensions and Participation in Vocational Education and Training (Vol 5, No 3).

Editors: Franz Kaiser and Susann Krugmann

Content with direct links

Social Dimensions and Participation in Vocational Education and Training – An Introduction in the Special Issue
Franz Kaiser, Susann Krugmann

This is the introduction of the IJRVET’s special edition in 2018 “Social Dimension and Participation in VET-System”.

Crossing Boundaries: VET, the Labour Market and Social Justice
James Avis


Purpose: The paper explores the relationship between vocational education and training (VET), the labour market and social justice in the current conjuncture.

Approach: The paper adopts an approach rooted in critical policy analysis. It consequently sets the discussion within the wider socio-economic and political context. Such an approach enables an exploration of the changing nature of waged labour in current conditions.

Results: A critical policy analysis facilitates a discussion of the labour process, waged labour and its intensification. At the same time these processes are allied to the effective expulsion and marginalisation of particular groups of workers from employment.  Importantly, such processes need to be placed in their localised and spatial context within particular social formations.

Conclusion: Equity models of social justice that emphasise equal opportunities, are restrictive and can be contrasted with equality models which have a more expansive and philosophically rooted understanding of justice. The paper through its examination of the salience of VET in the current conjuncture as well as its significance for a post austerity democratic and radical politics, argues for a relational analysis that seeks to interrupt the patterns of inequality precipitated by neo-liberalism.

Theme Centered Interaction in Critical Vocational Teacher Education – An Introduction Into an Ethical Founded Method and Model to Strengthen Self-reflexive Autonomy and Socially Responsible Action
Franz Kaiser


Context: The train of thoughts in this contribution is situated in the VET teacher training on an academic level, as it is usual in Germany. Key issue is the pedagogical qualification of the VET teachers and the question of how to give them possibilities to reflect their own biography, their interdependences to the actual cultural and economic environment and their way to choose the pathway to become a VET teacher. How to enable them to argue with their values, fears, strength and weaknesses in their life and especially in leading groups, as they will have to do in classroom management. And at least how to give them an idea of an emancipative, critical and participative way of forming learning situations in which they feel sure and lively to encourage the apprentices and learners in schools to act autonomic and critical in work and besides. This is necessary because of the changes in work and VET in the recent centuries with consequences for workers, learners and curricula as well as the contradictions in that process.

Approach: The transformation and the liberalisation of markets and changes of work organisation, the enlargement of tasks in the occupations adds greater meaning to social knowledge and competences, the ability for teamwork and personal development in vocational education. To develop this ability Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI), as a humanistic-psychological approach is used and combined with Critical-Subject-Oriented Vocational Education Theory, inspired by the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. VET-teacher students learn in theory and practice to shape their own way to lead themselves and the pupils in the class and to reflect their activities in a critical way of thinking. The paper ends with brief description of seminar lectures with VET teacher students at the University of Rostock where TCI is practiced as one example how we can reach the objectives described before.

Findings: The TCI-concept is helpful to set up better teamwork and self-reflection in the group of the learners. It’s a useful way to prepare them for their practical school phase in which TCI is used as reflection model as well.

Key message: Universities as learning places in the tradition of enlightenment have to open up spaces in VET teacher development for domination-free communication and participatory learning within the framework of university studies, which can create a distance to a given social reality, enables students to dissociate from collectively developed goals to become critical formers of their working life and teaching.


The ‘Future of Employment’ on the Shop Floor: Why Production Jobs are Less Susceptible to Computerization than Assumed
Sabine Pfeiffer


Context: Germany is seen as one of the major players in developing what is known as “Industry 4.0.” Especially in the manufacturing and the automotive sector, the vocational training is seen as a precondition and consequence alike for the global success of these sectors. Current research though characterizes production work, especially machine-related tasks, as dull routine work and therefore of high probability of computerization.

Approach: Based on qualitative research perspectives and sociological results that reveal the importance of experience and implicit capabilities, this study quantifies what is mostly seen as “non-routine” work. To measure these dimensions of living labouring capacity, an index is introduced that is developed from 18 items of one of the biggest German task-based, representative surveys.

Findings: The contribution challenges the widespread prognosis that production workers face high susceptibility. Comparing data on non-routine share in production and of vocational trained workers with those of Frey and Osborne, the findings stress the mostly neglected importance of non-routine work, even in production and especially with vocational trained, machine-related occupations.

Conclusion: The results draw on how much more employees on the shop floor are apt to handle change, complexity, and imponderabilities than often assumed. If their work will or will not be susceptible to novel approaches in robotics or algorithms, therefore, is not a question of routine.

Professional Desires and Career Decisions: Effects of Professional Interests, Role Models, and Internship in Lower Secondary School
Markus P. Neuenschwander, Jan Hofmann, Andreas Jüttler, Stephan Schumann


Context: Following the social cognitive career theory of Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994), the current study examines the effect of role models’ professions and practical internship experiences on the choice of professional environment independent of professional interests. Embedded in the Swiss context with its strong vocational training system, the paper outlines to what extent the desired professional environment is realized in the chosen apprenticeship two years later and how this realization can be predicted. The theoretical model proposes that students form direct professional experiences during their first internship(s). If those experiences are positive, students choose an apprenticeship in the same professional environment. Students have indirect (vicarious) professional experiences through their role models. If those experiences are positive, students choose an apprenticeship in the role model’s professional environment. The study examined whether, independent of professional interests, direct experiences in internships and indirect experiences through role models’ professions predict the realization of a desired professional environment in an apprenticeship.

Method: The longitudinal sample consists of N = 348 seventh- and ninth-grade students from four German-speaking Swiss cantons. Professional interests and environments were measured using standardized questionnaires. The professional environments of the desired professions, the chosen apprenticeships, the role model’s professions, and the internship’s professions were coded using Holland’s (1997) interest types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional (RIASEC).

Results: In 53% of the cases, students chose an apprenticeship in the professional environment they desired. In 53% of the cases, the chosen professional environment corresponded with the professional environment of the student’s two most important role models. In 39% of the cases, those role models were their parents. By means of logistic regression analyses, we can show that role models’ professional environments and the professional environment of the first internship influenced the realization of the desired professional environment at the end of lower secondary school, independent of the effect of the individuals’ interests.

Conclusions: Results show that direct professional experiences in internships and indirect experiences of role models influence the realization of the desired professional environment, independent of professional interests. In a contextual approach, career counselling should include the role model’s profession and how it corresponds with the client’s interests and professional desires. Moreover, role models, especially parents, have a responsibility to reflect on how their goals influence students’ career choice processes.

Editorial Office: Dr. Larissa Holle, Dr. Susanne Peters, Christine Siemer
Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Gessler