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The Challenges of Policy Transfer in Vocational Skills Development

National Qualifications Frameworks and the Dual Model of Vocational Training in International Cooperation


Edited By Markus Maurer and Philipp Gonon

In the context of renewed global interest in the development of vocational skills, policy makers in many countries as well as representatives of technical organisations often hope to reform existing training systems by borrowing models and policies that seem to work elsewhere. One of these prominent models is that of ‘National Qualifications Framework’, the use of which now spans the entire globe. On a much smaller scale, the ‘Dual Model’ of vocational training – a systematic combination of school and workplace-based learning that is common in a number of countries in Western Europe – has also gained attention in international cooperation.
Bringing together contributions from authors involved in both the theory and practice of vocational skills training development, this volume analyses the challenges that are tied to the transfer of these two dominant models in the context of international cooperation, sheds light on how they are being implemented, and discusses alternatives to the standard approaches to policy transfer.
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National qualifications frameworks and apprenticeships: Promises, premises, pitfalls: Stephanie Allais



National qualifications frameworks and apprenticeships: Promises, premises, pitfalls


This paper provides some analysis and reflection on the research which I have conducted on National Qualifications Frameworks, specifically from the point of view of developing and implementing apprenticeship systems. It reflects on the findings of two major studies (Allais 2010, 2007), as well as an ongoing analysis of policies focused on skills development. It draws on the literature on varieties of capitalism (Hall and Soskice 2001; Iverson & Stephens 2008), which, despite being dated in terms of its description of capitalist economies, nevertheless provides important insights into complementarities across social policy, labour market policies, and education policy. I start by considering the promises made about what qualifications frameworks can achieve, and the extent to which these promises have been met. This is followed by a discussion of the pitfalls experienced by countries that have attempted to implement qualifications frameworks. I then consider some of the premises that underpin qualifications frameworks, and reflect on why they do not seem to be a policy mechanism that is likely to support apprenticeship systems.


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