Latest news on European research in learning and work – February 2016


EUCEN call on Crossing borders through LLL
The Call for contributions for EUCEN’s 48th Conference in Dublin ( is now open. EUCEN welcomes proposals for papers, workshops and posters on the topic „Crossing borders through lifelong learning: enhancing quality and equity in higher education„. This conference will contribute to a dialogue across Europe on crossing different types of borders (geographic, disciplinary, institutional and generational) with a view to improving access to higher education for new groups of students. The conference will be of interest to those involved in promoting and supporting access to higher educa tion, including researchers, policy makers, administrators and teachers working in higher and adult education. The deadline to submit a proposal is29 February 2016.
(Received from Lifelong Learning Platform <> Newsletter – #115 – January 2016)

Competence 2016 call for submissions – Update
This is a gentle reminder about the Call for submissions for the international conference „Competence Theory, Research and Practice”, which will take place on the new campus of Wageningen University in the Netherlands on October 19-21, 2016. As we have communicated earlier, the deadline for submissions of proposals is March 21. As conference organization team we have made significant progress. Some highlights: We have established a team of around 25 esteemed colleagues as members of the Scientific Organization Committee. The Rector Magnificus of Wageningen University, Professor Arthur Mol, will give a speech at the opening session of the conference. We have confirmations of two key note speakers, the Director of Vocational Education and Life Long Learning of the European Commission, Dr. Joao Santos, and the Director of Research of the German Institute for Vocational Education, Professor Reinhold Weiss. You can on which you can also upload your proposals. If you have any questions about that, do not hesitate to contact us via
(Info received from Martin Mulder <>)

: Forth coming and recent events related to European research in work and learning are listed on the WIFO Conference page [].
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Networks and Organisations

NESET II – Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training
NESET II is an advisory network of experts working on the social dimension of education and training. The social dimension of education refers to the potential of education and training systems to reduce poverty and enhance equity and social inclusion, laying foundations for the development of mo re prosperous and more cohesive European societies. NESET II provides reliable, independent and rigorous scientific support, country specific expertise, and advice to the European Commission in relation to the equity and social aspects of all types and levels of education and training. The Network also acts as a knowledge broker, bridging the gap between EU policy coordination and the academic world. Through its activities it aims to provide feedback from research to policy. NESET II website is the main channel for dissemination of the Network’s outputs. It is aimed at experts, policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders working on the social dimension of education and training worldwide. The Network’s scientific coordinator is Georgios K. Zarifis. The Public Policy and Management Institute is responsible for the administration of the NESET II network. For more information and resources please visit NESET II website at http://n
(Info received from ReNAdET website <>) 

VET & Culture: next Network meeting in Vienna 20-21 June 2016

The VET & Culture Network will meet in Vienna to discuss the topic „Academic and vocational education: clash of cultures?”. This will be the bi-annual informal meeting that aims at intense and open discussions about the chosen topic. More detailed information will be found soon at the VET & Culture webpage
(Info received from Lorenz Lassnigg <>)

Reminder: ETF Platform for Continuing Professional Development
The European Training Foundation (ETF) has launched a virtual platform dedicated to Continuing Professional Development for VET teachers and trainers in South East Europe and Turkey.  The purpose of the platform is to share knowledge about policy and practice in CPD but also to encourage discussion and research.  The site already offers background reports on policy, and we are adding findings from teachers surveys, literature reviews and mapping reports. You may register to join the platform (ETFs Community Registration Form). There is also a call for action research demonstration projectsAccess is open but please join to receive the newsletter and to actively participate!
(Info received from Julian Stanley <>)

Your guide: Who’s who in transnational European VET and HRD research

The Directory of Professional Contacts (, maintained by the Research Forum WIFO, serves as a Who’s who, offering up-to-date information on more than 200 contacts across 30 countries in the field of transnational European VET and HRD research. Each person included in the DPC is both a producer of transnational research and an active transnational networker. The criteria for inclusion in the DPC and and the references to individual professional work are explained in the introduction. They relate to evidence of transnational activities presented in WIFO resources of European collaboration such as the Bookshelf,Overview of articlesConference pageECER VETNET Proceedings and Overview of HRD conference papers,Networks at a glance and Overview of projects. The DPC is updated continuously as part of European collaboration in VET and HRD research.
(Contributed by Sabine Manning)

: References to research networks in the field of European work and learning are available on the WIFO page Networks at a glance []. Major online resources related to European resear ch networks include the ECER VETNET Proceedings ( offering a complete and up-to-date collection of conference papers submitted since 1998, and the Overview of selected HRD conference papers (
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Strategic Design in Work-based Learning and Development
This programme encompasses all that is great about experiential learning. The completed programme will result in a thorough understanding of the structure and design of in-compan y work-based programmes and will allow the programme participants to move forward with confidence to create effective learning programmes in their own company or to introduce a full corporate university application. The programme is delivered online, with tutorial support from Professor Richard Dealtry and appointed tutors and managers. Participants complete two written work-based assignments, which are assessed by their programme tutor or manager. You can read overview information about this new programme on our website (, where you will also find registration details: Find out more here. We are looking forward to your organisation’s participation.
(Posted by Richard Dealtry <> )

: Contributions are welcome for the next edition of the Directory of Doctoral Dissertations(, provided as part of the WIFO Gateway, which focuses on European research in the field of vocational education (VET) and human resource development (HRD). Please provide information on expected or newly completed doctoral dissertations investigating issues of HRD, VET or work-related adult education, according to the following pattern: 1*Theme of dissertation (original language AND English); 2*Year of (expected) completion or publication; 3*Author (name and email address); 4*Tutor (name and email address); 5*Institution of tutor (name and home page). Contributions should be posted by email to the editor (
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NQF-IN Project
Erasmus+ project „Developing organisational and financial models for including non-formal sector qualifications in National Qualifications Frameworks” (2015-2018)
The main goal of the NQF-IN project is to provide evidence based support to national governments, EU agencies and key stakeholders in developing policies on including non-formal VET qualification into NQFs. This will be done by: (1) analysing systemic solutions implemented in 7 EU countries and (2) developing organisational and financial models related to the inclusion of non-formal qualifications to NQFs. Representatives of all seven project partners participated in the kick-off meeting in Warsaw November 24-25,2015: Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, Edu cational Authority, Hungary, University of Split, Croatia, Centre for Research on Qualifications (CÉREQ), France, National Institute for Education, Czech Republic, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Partnership, United Kingdom and leader of the project: Educational Research Institute, Poland.
(Info received via Céreq News <> No 2, Winter 2016)

Apprenticeships and higher education

Céreq is contributing to the German project on Dual apprenticeships in higher education that was launched in 2014 by BIBB (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung/Federal Institute for Vocational Training). Part of Céreq’s contribution to the project will be to organise interviews with training managers, students, researchers and policy makers in the BTS and DUT/vocational b achelor’s degree streams. The aim of the project is to produce an in-depth comparative analysis of work-linked apprenticeships in Europe based on case studies carried out in six countries (Germany, France, Austria, Ireland, Norway and Poland). The higher education sector has been through a period of very dynamic change in recent years. Many countries are introducing education programmes with a strong work-linked training and apprenticeship content. In some cases, the new programmes may lead to the award of dual qualifications. In the initial phase of the project, preliminary reports on these education programmes (levels V-VII in the European Qualifications Framework) were compiled. Céreq is participating in the second phase, which got under way in November 2015. Céreq will work in close cooperation with BIBB, the lead organisation. The work carried out in France will help to establish a comparative European framework in this area.
(Info received via Céreq News <> No 2, Winter 2016)

: Contributions are invited to update the Overview of European research projects [], provided as part of the WIFO Gateway. The overview focuses on transnational research projects, mainly supported by EU programmes, in the areas of human resource development, vocational education, work and learning. Please send the following information to the editor (  (A) exact title and acronym (short name) of the project; (B) name and email address of the coordinator or main contact; (C) add ress of the website (or info page/ flyer) of the project. Contact: Sabine Manning
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Call for Papers: VET and race/ ethnicity
Journal of Vocational Education and Training: Special Issue – VET and race/ ethnicity. Guest editors: James Avis (University of Huddersfield, UK), Kiran Mirchandani (OISE, University of Toronto, Canada), Paul Warmington (University of Birmingham, UK) 
Over several decades a significant body of research has addressed relationships between race/ ethnicity and schooling.  Despite this, relatively little systematic attention has been paid to relationships between race and VET. This absence is perplex ing because anecdotal evidence suggests that race and racism are factors in the distribution and progression of learners in post-compulsory education. Moreover, national and international data has repeatedly suggested racialized patterns of inequality in educational achievement, (un)employment and career progression. Insofar as questions of race in VET have been examined, they have often been treated as secondary or epiphenomenal, and subsumed within other notions such as class or gender. Studies of non-advanced level VET, the marginalisation of working-class learners and gendered occupational positioning have been set within social justice frameworks but have had limited engagement with questions of race and ethnicity. Current research on race and ethnicity often focuses on conceptualising diversity and identity; however, there is a need for robust critiques of race as a fully social relationship, as something that is highly mutable in the current stage of capitalist develo pment. This special issue seeks to rectify these omissions by placing race and ethnicity at the centre of analyses of VET. For full details see
(Posted by James Avis <>)

Call for papers: Journal of International Mobility
The French national Agency for Erasmus + / Education & Training is calling for contributions for the fourth issue of its annual scientific publication entitled Journal of International Mobility: Moving for Education, Training and Research, which brings together scholarly articles on all aspects of international mobility as part of education and training in Europe and around the world. The members of the reading committee will select articles resulting from research, studies and experiments w hich fall under the following theme: Mobility and skills: validation and recognition. They may relate to general education, higher education and adult education, as well as both initial and continuing vocational training. For further details see website including Call for Papers (PDF). Please send your article to:, by04 March 2016. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
(Posted by French National Agency)

Myths and brands in vocational education
Heikkinen, A. & Lassnigg, L. (eds.) 2015. Myths and Brands in Vocational Education. Cambridge Scholars Publishing [Details]
This book discusses whether certain approaches to (vocational) education have become mythicized and branded, and the reasons for and consequences of this commodification. It also investigates how researchers are contributing to mythicizing and branding in education, although transnational and comparative studies are increasingly taking into account historical and cultural ideas. Is this a result of the exploitation of historical and cultural research for industrial purposes and education export? Educational brands could attract global customers and advertise countries as smart environments for global investments. Universal models of (vocational) education typically build on interpretations from the Anglophonic, German and French regions of the world. This book, however, investigates perspectives from unexplored and under-discussed linguistic contexts, particularly Spanish, Italian, Swiss and Austrian regions and the use of East-Asian and East-African myths and brands, which, although influenced by Europeanization, continue local traditions. Furthermore, while approaches to education in the Nordic region may differ from those in the rest of Europe, an additional section of the book deals with myth and brands in Norway, Finland and Sweden, with some comparisons with British, French and German traditions.
(Info received from Anja Heikkinen <>)
Racism and a democratic education
Linden West (2016). Distress in the City: Racism, fundamentalism and a democratic education. Trentham Books [Details]
This book is a case study of a distressed post-industrial city struggling with various discontents. It draws on diverse narratives to illuminate how racism, Islamophobia and Islamism take hold, rendering the city emblematic of problems across Europe. Every day brings news of the radicalization of young Muslims, while racism and Islamophobia are on the rise in various countries. Through Linden West’s psychosocial analysis, the rise is understood by reference to growing inequality, mental illness, feelings of hopelessness and the narrowing of education’s purpose. But Linden West also chronicles resources of hope, such as experiments in democratic education, past and present, that inspire civic education in schools and communities today. He also illuminates what can be done in work-related education, if people are enabled to play a fuller part in thinking about aspects of design and manufacture, and how the habit of democratic as well as educative relationships can spread, to the betterment of all. – „An extraordinary study of peoples’ lives and emo tions…one of the resources of hope…to pack in our rucksacks”, Professor Emeritus John Field. „…this is at once a scholarly and immensely engaging work – a glimmer of hope in hard times”, Professor Molly Andrews. „…a must-read for anyone alarmed at the spread of totalitarianism, the extension of racism and the loss of democracy”, Professor Stephen Brookfield.
(Contributed by Linden West <>)

New international HRD journal
A new HRD journal will be launched in 2016.  This is a result of a partnership between the University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD) and the International Federation of Training & Development Organisations (IFTDO). The International Journal of HRD Practice, Policy & Research will be a peer-reviewed journal, seeking to b ring together international practitioner and academic expertise to promote and support the understanding and practice of Human Resource Development. It will be an open access journal, available via its own website, complemented with a small print run for the first few issues. Issue 1 of the journal will be launched at IFTDO’s World Conference in Bahrain (March) and then again at the UFHRD’s conference in Manchester (June). The journal’s website is up and running and can be viewed at This provides more information about the journal, notes for contributors etc. The Editorial Board encourages anyone interested in Human Resource Development, whatever the nature of your particular interest and engagement with HRD, to consider the Journal as part of your 2016 plans for sharing, disseminating and publicising your work. Contact: Rick Holden, Editor in Chief (
(Info received from University Forum for HRD mailing list)

Vocational didactics 

Michael Gessler & Lázaro Moreno Herrera (2015). Vocational didactics: Core assumptions and approaches from Denmark, Germany, Norway, Spain and Sweden. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) Vol. 2 No. 3. Special Issue – Vocational Didactics [Details]
The design of vocational didactics has to meet special requirements. Six core assumptions are identified: outcome orientation, cultural-historical embedding, horizontal structure, vertical structure, temporal structure, and the changing nature of work. Different approaches and discussions from school-based systems (Spain and Sweden) and dual systems (Denmark, Germany and Norway) are presented in this special issue. From an inside or national perspective, the solutions show a high cultural-historical dependency. From an outside or cross-national perspective, contingency and alternative possibilities become visible. The combination of both perspectives could enable continuity as well as innovation. This is the basic assumption of the presented collection about vocational didactics. – All contributions to the Special Issue – Vocational Didactics are available online [Table of Contents].
(Posted by webmaster of vetnetsite <>)

Transitions and diversity in didactics
Lázaro Moreno Herrera (2015). Transitions and diversity in didactics: An exploration searching for implications for vocational education and training. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) Vol. 2 No. 3. Special Issue – Vocat ional Didactics [Details]
Depending on the perspective and even the language, the concept of didactics is defined in different ways. The debate about conceptualization, particularly concerning the equivalence in English of what in other languages, specifically Germanic and Latin languages, is termed ‘didactics’, is well documented in the research literature. There is a claim in this article concerning the need to transcend the language discussion; it is indeed necessary, especially for Vocational Education & training (VET), to develop a close linkage between what some authors consider „an empirically based” side of didactics associated with empirical findings and the „non-empirical” side that is associated with theoretical constructs for understanding the teaching-learning process.The main aim of this article is to revisit research in didactics in German, Nordic and French contexts looking for diversity in the various approaches. This is intended to contribute to the discussion about prospects and shortcomings in the development of a didactics for the intricate subject of vocational education and training. Rather than alternative didactical paths, the article intends to suggest lines of development, encourage discussions and the further research needed concerning relationship didactics and vocational education and training.
(Posted by webmaster of vetnetsite <>)

Governance for Learning Outcomes
Odd Bjørn Ure. Governance for Learning Outcomes in European policy-making: Qualification frameworks pushed through the Open Method of Coordination. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) Vol. 2 No. 4 (December 2015) [Details]
The construction of European education policy builds on a widely shared goal of transparency in qualifications, upheld by the popular narrative of Erasmus students transferring credit points between universities and across national borders. The article situates the discourse on, or even shift to, Learning Outcomes among tools for the displacement of input to output categories in education systems. The ensuing form of governance calls for a policy reform that intentionally should affect all educational and administrative levels of education. The article discusses theories and perceptions of EU policymaking, ranging from a uniform marketization of education policies to a bold determination of Learning Outcomes as the nexus of learning practices. The fact that Learning Outcomes are linked to EU policy instruments of the Open Method of policy-Coordination, increases the likelihood that they will gain ground. Yet, the penetration of Learning Outcomes in a ll sectors of education is still under way and appears too motley to report a prevalent shift.
(Contributed by Odd Bjørn Ure <>)

EQF for lifelong learning
Elken, Mari (2015). Developing policy instruments for education in the EU: the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, Volume 34, Issue 6 [Details]
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning has been characterized as a policy instrument with a number of contested ideas, raising questions about the process through which such instruments are developed at European level. The introduction of the EQF is in this article examined through variations of neo-institutional theory: historical contingency perspective, rat ional perspective, normative perspective and a process of chance. The EQF is examined as a case, using documents and expert interviews as empirical sources. The article highlights the complex interplay between various historical processes that enabled the introduction of the EQF and how problems and solutions can drive the process forward in a dialectic manner. Furthermore, while the impact of the EQF on national level remains to be seen at this point, the analysis uncovers increased space for introducing new instruments on EU level.
(Contributed by Mari Elken <>)

Framing post-compulsory education in Europe
Aurora Lopez-Fogues. A social justice alternative for framing postcompulsory education: A human development perspective of VET in times of economic dominance. Journal of Vocational Education & Training (Januar 2016) [Details]
The article provides an alternative theoretical framework for evaluating contemporary issues facing education, specifically vocational education and training (VET) in Europe. In order to accomplish this, it draws on the theoretical insights of the capability approach in the work of Amartya Sen; the concept of vulnerability as intrinsic to every human being, established by Fineman and Grear; and the concept of oppression advanced by Iris Marion Young. By developing the core concepts of each of these theories, the paper presents a human-based evaluative tool for education, and argues that a fundamental misconception has arisen as to the purpose of  postcompulsory education, a misconception generated by the wholesale application of the language of skills and productivity to the field of education, thus relinquishing its role to purely economic interests. The social justice framework presente d herein aims to present a possible alternative approach to discuss and evaluate VET, in which humanistic concepts such as the recognition of human vulnerability and agency are central to the debate. – Free download of the text can be done (first 50) using the following link!
(Contributed by Aurora Lopez-Fogues <>)

Anglo-Saxon concepts of VET
Linda Clarke and Christopher Winch. Have Anglo-Saxon concepts really influenced the development of European qualifications policy? Research in Comparative and International Education Vol 10 No 4 (December 2015) [Details]
This article considers how far Anglo-Saxon conceptions of vocational education and training (VET) have influenced European Union (EU) VET policy, especially given the disparate approaches to VET, from the dual system (exemplified by Germany) to output based models (exemplified by the NVQ ‘English style’). The design philosophy of the English output-based model proved in the first instance influential in EU attempts to develop tools to establish equivalence between vocational qualifications across Europe, resulting in the learning outcomes approach of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), the credit-based model of ECVET (European VET Credit System) and the task-based construction of occupational profiles exemplified by ESCO (European Skills, Competences and Occupations). The governance model for the English system is, however, predicated on employer demand for ‘skills’ and does not fit well with the social partnership model dominant in northern Europe and encompassing knowledge, skills and competences. These contrasting approaches have led to continual modifications to the tools, as these sought to reconcile nat ional VET requirements with the original design. This paper considers the prospects for the successful operation of these tools, drawing on studies of the construction and furniture industries.
(Contributed by Linda Clarke <>)

Refugees and access to VET

Charlotte Chadderton & Casey Edmonds. Refugees and access to vocational education and training across Europe: A case of protection of white privilege? Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol 67 No 2 (2015) [Details]
This small-scale study connects themes which are rarely explored in relation to each other, particularly in a European context: vocational education and training (VET), refugees and race equality. It explores how VET policies impact on racial equality, and th e ways racial structures in Europe impact on VET. It begins to fill important gaps in cross-European research, firstly around VET and race, and secondly around refugees and VET. The paper is based on a study which examined the meso-social benefits of, and barriers to VET for adult refugees to European countries, commissioned by CEDEFOP. In the paper, we argue that a key factor in shaping refugees’ experiences of VET is the racial structures integral to capitalist societies. Innovatively drawing on key literature which analyses white privilege in the labour market to contextualise our findings, we suggest that barriers faced by refugees are potentially related to structures of white privilege which shape notions of work and workers in Europe and sustain racial hierarchies.
See also: Chadderton, C. & Wischmann, A. Racialised norms in apprenticeship systems in England and Germany, Journal of Vocational Education & Training Vol 66 No 3 (2014) [Details]
(Contributed by Charlotte Chadderton <>)

NOTE: Updates on publications provided by the WIFO Gateway include the WIFO Bookshelf[], a collection of references to publications focusing on cross-European issues of work and learning, and „From the Journals” – Overview of articles on cross-European issues in VET and HRD research [], selected from European and international Journals related to education research [].