IJRVET: New Issue published

The International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) has published a new issue by now. The last regular issue of 2019 contains the following topics:

Odd Bjørn Ure & Tom Skauge: Skills and employment under automation. Active adaptation at the local level

Kathleen A. Park & Karen R. Johnson: Job satisfaction, work engagement, and turnover intention of CTE health science teachers

Annukka Tapani & Arto O. Salonen: Identifying teachers’ competencies in Finnish vocational education

Maia Chankseliani & Aizuddin Mohamed Anuar: Cross-country comparison of engagement in apprenticeships. A conceptual analysis of incentives for individuals and firms

Sebastian Schneider & Matthias Pilz: The function and institutional embeddedness of Polytechnics in the Indian education system


Odd Bjørn Ure & Tom Skauge: Skills and employment under automation. Active adaptation at the local level

Context: The article contributes to a discussion of how patterns of employment and qualifications are modified by the ongoing industrial transformation, called Industry 4.0. Although this transformation is said to be a global phenomenon, scholars increasingly discuss the national differences in the wake of Industry 4.0. Our article aims to intervene in this debate by analysing the industrial transformation of a small island situated at the West coast of Norway. We notably investigate the technological renewal by means of Computerised Numeric Control (CNC) and robotics in a network of mechanical firms.

Approach: Nine small mechanical engineering firms are analysed by drawing on theories on business networks and clustering of firms. This allows for a discussion of how automation, employment, staff training and profitability are interconnected. The main research question is how the firms are locally embedded in a way that sheds light on the social dimension of vocational training, which is considered a form of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Findings: It is informative to use the heuristic concept ‘pre-cluster agglomeration’ to characterise how the nine firms under scrutiny are interacting, while being assisted by a forward-looking industrial association and supported by an active local community. The municipality and the county to which this agglomeration belongs, provide training services and other infrastructures that support the firms when they recruit new employees and upskill their staff, – notably by setting up a CNC training centre attached to an upper secondary school.

Conclusion: Our case does not support off-the-shelf narratives of robotisation implies job cuts. In the same way as previous technological transformations were not solely driven by their inherent technical opportunities, the ongoing robotisation is nuanced by the social shaping of technology. There is room for strategic choices when new technology is integrated in work organisations. The extent to which the workforce should be (re-)trained is subject to decisions and negotiations.


Kathleen A. Park & Karen R. Johnson: Job satisfaction, work engagement, and turnover intention of CTE health science teachers

Context: The healthcare profession is one of the largest growing occupations in the United States. Yet, there is a shortage of healthcare professionals and the situation is further compounded by insufficient instructors to prepare individuals to provide safe and quality care. A number of teachers leave the profession within 3 to 5 years of work in the classroom. It is important to ensure that teachers are satisfied and engaged at work because of the positive impact these job attitudes contribute to performance. Considering the importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE) health science teachers to the health sector, there is need to examine teacher job satisfaction and work engagement and the impact this may have on turnover intention. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between job satisfaction, work engagement, and turnover intention of CTE health science teachers in the United States (US).

Approach: In this study, hierarchical multiple regression was used to analyze a total of 249 responses from CTE health science teachers in the State of Texas in the US.

Findings: The results showed positive correlations between job satisfaction and work engagement. Additionally, job satisfaction and work engagement were negatively correlated with turnover intention. The finding also indicated that work engagement did not moderate the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intention.

Conclusions: This study builds on the work of previous researchers by further supporting the links between job satisfaction, work engagement, and turnover intention specifically in the context of teachers in CTE health science. Leaders in academic settings play a role in ensuring that strategies are in place to satisfy and engage teachers as practical ways to reduce turnover intention. In particular, administrative leaders should recognize teachers’ contributions, provide development opportunities, and promote challenging responsibilities and autonomy within the classroom. It is critical to have adequate and qualified teachers to prepare individuals to deliver safe and quality healthcare.


Annukka Tapani & Arto O. Salonen: Identifying teachers’ competencies in Finnish vocational education

Context: In Finland, vocational education has been competence-based and learner-orientated since the beginning of 2018. Teachers’ work has changed because there is a need to pay more attention to students and their specific personal needs. Learning processes are planned individually and more learning options are offered in the workplace.

Approach: In this article we ask the following: What kind of teachers’ competencies can be identified in Finland? The metadata comprises twelve recent pieces of research on teachers’ competencies in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Finland. We apply data-driven content analysis.

Findings: According to our results, the work of vocational teachers included 53 separate skills comprising seven categories of competencies and three main categories of scholarships as follows: Scholarship in teaching and learning relating to pedagogy, guidance and counselling, and interaction, Scholarship in authentic learning and development referring to pedagogical leadership, partnership and innovator competency, and Scholarship in evaluation and monitoring associated with assessment.

Conclusion: The work of vocational teachers in Finland has become fragmented. The fragmented work of a vocational teacher may influence the teacher’s identity. The fragmented nature of the work of vocational teachers also raises the need to share expertise in educational institutions. The main challenge for teachers in vocational education in Finland is to adopt ways of authentic learning and development.


Maia Chankseliani & Aizuddin Mohamed Anuar: Cross-country comparison of engagement in apprenticeships. A conceptual analysis of incentives for individuals and firms

Purpose: A fundamental assumption of the apprenticeship model is that there are benefits to both employers and individual learners. This paper offers a broad conceptual interrogation of an inherent assumption in the apprenticeship model, in that it provides incentives for participation to both individual learners and employers.

Approach: This study combines the analysis of literature and available data and draws upon apprenticeship models in ten nations: Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, England, Finland, Germany, India, Malaysia and South Africa.

Findings: For individuals, incentives to undertake apprenticeship may be linked to the process and outcomes of that learning, such as the appeal of learning through doing; the opportunities for occupational socialization; the possibility of progression to employment or to additional education; and learning while earning. The analysis of incentives for employers shows a range of reasons related to their short-term interests and the needs of the production processes, technologies, and associated skills; longer-term benefits for the company’s staffing strategy; and the opportunity to make a contribution to the wider education and economic systems. Despite all the potential incentives, many firms consider apprenticeships too costly, risky, and complex to justify the investment. However, when firms are making decisions under the umbrella of chambers or associations, they are more likely to coordinate their skills investment strategies around collectively beneficial outcomes.

Conclusion: The links to the labour market and specifically to employers are a key challenge for sustaining apprenticeship systems, as well as for the task of researching them. As such, policy maker (and researcher) engagement with apprenticeship should account for the capacity and commitment of employers. Another key challenge for apprenticeship is related to the relative attractiveness of this pathway within E&T and labour market system for individuals. What is clear from this study is that the development of a strong apprenticeship system requires the buy-in of both employers and individual learners, and as such the necessity to identify and effectively implement incentives cannot be underestimated. Governments can play a key role in realizing the potential incentives for both employers and learners, thereby yielding benefits of all parties engaged in apprenticeships.


Sebastian Schneider & Matthias Pilz: The function and institutional embeddedness of Polytechnics in the Indian education system

Purpose: India’s Polytechnics are a fundamental part of its (vocational) education and training system but are largely ignored in VET research. Understanding the status quo and potential of India’s (vocational) education landscape requires an understanding of the role played by the Polytechnics, particularly in view of the Indian government’s major efforts to implement a functioning VET system. Because little is known about the function and embeddedness of the Polytechnics the article therefore aims to examine how polytechnics are embedded in the Indian education and training system and what functions they perform for the actors within the system.

Methods: The article begins by describing the systemic embeddedness of Polytechnics in the Indian education system and demonstrates their role and function in relation to a range of stakeholder groups (individuals, employers, society and the economy). Problem-centred face-to-face interviews Interviews were conducted with the principals of 14 Polytechnics in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, among other cities. Semi-standardized interview guidelines were used to conduct the interviews. The interviews were analyzed by qualitative content analysis.

Results: The results show that polytechnics perform various functions in the Indian education system. The Polytechnics teach both theoretical and practical skills, which is a special feature of the Indian system at this level. Qualification takes place at an intermediate level, which means that graduates have the opportunity to enter a company after graduation, where they can hold a kind of supervisor position. It is precisely these employees that are increasingly being sought by Indian companies. In addition, polytechnics provide a pathway to higher education, so students can use the opportunity to switch to a college once they have their diploma at the Polytechnic. Furthermore, the Polytechnics offers its graduates a good opportunity to become self-employed through the wide range of specializations and the practice-oriented skill development. In addition, the Polytechnics offer numerous opportunities to promote socially disadvantaged groups.

Conclusion: The survey findings illustrate the importance of Polytechnics to the various stakeholder groups, demonstrating their “multidimensional bridging function” within the Indian education and training system.