IJRVET: New Issue published

Today the International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) published a new issue with the following topics:

Students’ experiences with different learning pathways to higher professional bachelor programmes
Harm J.A. Biemans, Hans Mariën, Erik Fleur, Tanya Beliaeva, Jan Harbers

Context: In the Dutch educational system, different learning pathways to higher professional bachelor (or HBO) programmes have been created: the regular VET route, the general secondary education route, and continuing learning pathways (such as the Green Lyceum or GL) that combine characteristics of these two traditional routes and that are specifically designed for students who combine a relatively high cognitive level with an affinity for practical, vocation-oriented assignments.

Approach: The present study aimed to compare the experiences of students coming from these three different learning pathways to HBO. 62 former GL students, 127 former middle-management VET (or MBO) students, and 81 former regular general secondary education (or HAVO) students completed an online questionnaire on their experiences in their first HBO study year and their scores on the various scales were compared.

Upper secondary education for youth at risk: A comparative analysis of education and training programmes in Austria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland
Evi Schmid

Context: Vocational education and training (VET) plays a key role in reducing early leaving from education and training, and integrating youth at risk in upper secondary education. To ensure that more young people complete upper secondary education, the OECD suggests designing interventions that address the specific needs of youth at risk like changes in the standard duration, preparatory or personalised support measures. Based on a comparative analysis of such programmes tailored to the needs of youth at risk in Austria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, the objective of this article is to identify different education and training models that these countries employ to include youth at risk in upper secondary education.

Approach: The study is based on document analysis; the documents studied are public documents like law texts and white papers from the education authorities as well as research publications. The interventions proposed by the OECD to adapt training programmes to the specific needs of youth at risk were chosen as a basis for the comparative analysis. Further structural characteristics of the programmes complemented the analysis.

Understanding informal jewellery apprenticeship in Ghana: Nature, processes and challanges
Mohammed Kwaku Baidoo, Akosua Tachie-Menson, Nana Ama Pokua Arthur, Eric Appau Asante

Context: The processes of acquiring education in jewellery in Ghana has been dominated by the informal apprenticeship system and it forms the backbone of the workforce of the jewellery industry in Ghana. However, the patronage of informal jewellery apprenticeship in Ghana in recent times has been on decline even though it has the potential of training human resources to transform Ghana’s precious mineral resources sector.This is based on the belief that jewellery trade and its training are shrouded in secrecy, in other words, the jewellery trade is considered to be a sacred profession where information on its operating systems are not allowed to be shared easily. It is believed to be associated with cult and magic, hence the reluctant to admit people who are from outside the family of particular jewellery enterprise. This study is sought to bring to fore the understanding nature, processes and challenges of the informal jewellery apprenticeship in Ghana.

Approach: The study adopted the descriptive and phenomenology research designs. Jewellers who own a jewellery business and who are training other people through apprenticeships as well as people who are trained are observed and interviewed. A sample size was selected through purposive and convenience sampling techniques from four jewellery enterprises in Accra, Ghana. A thematic analysis plan was adopted to generate fndings of the study.

Building a skilled workforce: Public discourses on vocational education in Thailand Nakarin Chalapati, Supaporn Chalapati

Context: Thailand is now facing skilled labour shortages, which has prevented the country from achieving significant economic progress. This paper examines Thailand’s vocational education policy discourses from 1992 to 2014 and how such policies were discussed to build the country’s skilled labour force.

Approach: This study utilised a qualitative approach, using documentation analysis as a key research method. We also used data triangulation and thematic analysis to categorise the public discourses. In order to examine the vocational education policy discourses in Thailand, secondary data such as the five NESD plans (7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th) and other government policy statements were investigated and triangulated, along with data from newspaper articles, other public documents, reports from international organisations, and academic journal articles.

Umbrella review: Methodological review of reviews published in peer-reviewed journals with a substantial focus on vocational education and training research
Michael Gessler, Christine Siemer

Purpose: The growing public interest in vocational education and training (VET), most recently since the economic crisis of 2007/2008, has led to an exponential increase in articles with a vocational focus, underscoring the need for review studies for the purposes of systematic knowledge aggregation, clarification and interpretation. We assume that review studies follow the same minimum standards as other research methods: The review must be at least reproducible and thus the results verifiable or falsifiable. So far, however, the review methods used in VET research have not been investigated. Our purpose is to review the review procedures and methods used in published reviews of VET research to identify their current methodological quality.

Approach: To classify the review studies, we initially developed a conceptual framework to distinguish different types of reviews. We then developed a methodological framework to assess the review methods used. Overall, to accelerate the review process, our review of reviews (or umbrella review) followed the rapid review approach: we limited our search to reviews in English published between 2014 and 2019 in peer-reviewed journals with a sub-stantial VET focus and indexed in Scopus and/or Web of Science. Therefore, we did not examine all existing reviews in the field of VET research. Rather, our specific focus was on a core sector of scientific research: peer-reviewed articles in curated databases. Furthermore, we concentrated on the review procedures and methods used, not on the content of the reviews.