The International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training is a peer-reviewed Journal for VET-related research and provides full open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

IJRVET is the official organ of VETNET European Research Network in Vocational Education and Training (European Educational Research Association) and IRNVET International Research Network in Vocational Education and Training (World Education Research Association).

Link to IJRVET

Current Issue – Table of Content

  • Finnish WorldSkills Achievers’ Vocational Talent Development and School-to-Work Pathways
    This paper examines the perceptions of vocational expertise and school-to-work pathways among WorldSkills Competition (WSC) achievers and their co-workers and employers within the Finnish context. At the biennial international WSC, young people (aged 18-to-23 years) from over 60 countries demonstrate their skills in more than 40 trades. Individualized training for this competition is provided through the cooperation of vocational institutions (e.g., expert coaches, team leaders and competition panellists) and industry (e.g., mentors, sponsors, materials, equipment). Semi-structured thematic interviews (N=51) were conducted in 2013 and 2014 with former Finnish WSC medal or diploma winners (n=18) who had since begun their working lives (1-to-15 years of work experience). Their employers (n=16) and colleagues (n=17) were also interviewed. Results showed that in addition to vocation-specific knowledge and skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, social skills and self-regulatory skills were acknowledged as the most significant elements of vocational expertise. The findings also indicated that formal vocational education combined with deliberate practice and training based on expert mentoring improved the long-term career progress and vocational expertise of the WSC achievers.
    Laura Pylväs; Petri Nokelainen
  • Humanistic Elements in the Educational Practice at a United States Sub-Baccalaureate Technical College
    Humanism has never been able to establish a firm place in technical education, which remains predominantly pragmatist in response to industry needs, certification requirements and educational standardisation. However, after a period of decline, humanism has made somewhat of a comeback as part of the movement toward student-centred education. Research conducted at a technical college showed that although . This research indicated that including humanistic elements in educational practice will enable instructors to be more effective in helping students to develop skills in relation to team work, problem-solving, systems improvement, lifelong learning and other areas that are becoming increasingly necessary for success in the workplace. The include a constructivist approach with a focus on contextual teaching and learning using situated cognition, cognitive apprenticeships, anchored instruction and authentic assessment. At the same time, some suggestions for improving professional development for teachers by using a Gestalt approach along with self-study in the context of learning communities have been discussed.  
    Peng Chen, Carsten Schmidtke
  • Three Types of Tightrope Dance in the Comeback Process
    Fewer than half of the young people attending vocational institutions in Norway complete their education within the allotted five years. Indeed, many of these students have non-linear paths to completion. However, it is not changes in the dropout rate that make this different from earlier generations but the expansion of formal education and the rise of the knowledge society and individualisation. The term “tightrope biographies” is used here to encapsulate why individualisation cannot be thought of in terms of choice, because today’s youth are often held accountable for their educational progression rather than this progression being viewed as dependent on institutional mechanisms. The present study characterises young people as “tightrope dancers” in their interactions with vocational schools. Selected data collected from ethnographic interviews during the ongoing longitudinal project Youth, Completion and Dropout in Telemark are used here to capture the voices of young people. These data focus on the non-linear educational careers of these youth when they re-enter schools and explore the stories they tell about dropping out and re-entering. These stories suggest that, to succeed, students need customised support throughout the process from school to the workplace and that many depend on this support. The study identifies three different ways of understanding these students as tightrope dancers trying to get back on track, characterising them as The Steady, The Shaky and The Shivering.  
    Mette Bunting, Torill Aagot Halvorsen, Geir H Moshuus
  • The Lack of Collaboration Between Companies and Schools in the German Dual Apprenticeship System: Historical Background and Recent Data
    On the macro level (federal level) and exo level (state or regional level), the German Dual Apprenticeship System shows a high degree of institutionalised collaboration. However, the companies and vocational schools on the meso level (institutional level and level of the actors), in contrast, are just loosely coupled with a dominant partner (i.e., companies) and a subordinate partner (i.e., vocational schools). How and why these structures have emerged, established and stabilised is part of a complex historical, societal and economical process. The historical developmental will be elaborated in the article. The term ‘dual system’ was invented in Germany in the 1960s, and the intention was to emphasise equal responsibilities, partnership of equals, lively encounters and close collaboration between companies and schools. This vision is not yet a reality, as the presented empirical survey demonstrates. A majority of companies do not or rather seldom collaborate with ‘their’ vocational schools. 74.2% of the companies do not or seldom coordinate their work, and 93% of the companies do not or seldom cooperate with the vocational schools. The German Dual Apprentice­ship System operates on the actual meso level just on the basis of less than 30% of its potentiality. The term ‘parallel systems’ seems to be more appropriate to characterise the actual situation on the meso level than the term ‘dual system’.
    Michael Gessler