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Vocational Education beyond Skill Formation

VET between Civic, Industrial and Market Tensions


Fernando Marhuenda-Fluixá

Vocational education and training has played an important role in the struggles between Work and Capital along history and today; there are examples of such tensions worldwide. The first section of this book provides illustrations of different countries from the 18th to the early 20th century. The authors explain and exemplify the education of the workforce and its political engagement, contributing to the formation of the working class. The chapters provide relevant approaches to how young apprentices and adult workers developed a class consciousness through vocational education. The second section illustrates practices of resistance and transformation within policies and practices of vocational education nowadays in Central and Southern Europe and South America, addressing the needs of people with disabilities and dispossessed populations. The final section analyses how theories and policies intertwine resulting in the idiosyncrasy of vocational education practices across the world, through tensions between logics and institutional actors. The book addresses the political dimensions of Vocational Education and problematizes its mere consideration as an instrumental tool in skill formation.

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The Status of VET in Canada: Evidence from Literature and Qualitative Research (Thomas Deissinger / Daniela Gremm)


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The Status of VET in Canada: Evidence from Literature and Qualitative Research

1.  Introduction

There is currently ample interest in both educational research and politics that “well-working” VET systems might or should be transferred to other national and cultural contexts. One of the most observed “models” hereby seems to be the German dual system of apprenticeship training (Deissinger 2010). One of the arguments mostly referred to is the function of VET to combat youth unemployment. On the other hand, literature suggests that transfers are problematic even if the governments involved develop a clear strategy for their respective countries to change and/or improve their VET systems (Euler 2013; Gonon 2013; Pilz and Li 2014; Deissinger 2015). It is without any doubt that apprenticeship systems, although this model of skill formation exists all over the world, function in various ways – which means: (i) they differ in their status and recognition within society and (ii) they do not necessarily work in the sense of a regulated and therefore trustworthy approach for initial training. Comparative research shows that cultural patterns and specific historical developments make for “individual” solution patterns for the problem of integrating young people into training and work by giving them a foundation on which they can build up their personal and professional life courses. The German-English comparison is a good example for these different cultural imprints of VET systems although both countries have a strong apprenticeship...

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