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Although equivalence between vocational and higher education is a pressing policy endeavour, the objective remains unachieved in reality. More young people than ever are opting to embark upon higher education courses since they believe these will open up better employment prospects. The recognition hurdles at the transition from vocational education and training to university-level education indicate the lack of permeability between the two sub-systems. Differences in the way in which qualifications are utilised are apparent on the labour market too.
This issue of BWP looks at the multi-layered nature of the topic. It identifies reasons for persisting differences and illustrates possible ways in which these can be overcome.
Equivalence of general and vocational education is a much-invoked topic, especially amongst policy makers. Reality, however, often looks different. The hurdles at the transition from VET to university-level education indicate the lack of permeability within our education system. Differences in the way in which qualifications are utilised are apparent on the labour market too. The coalition agreement of the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia harbours considerable ambition in this regard, as Minister of Labour Karl-Josef Laumann explains in the interview.
When the German Qualifications Framework (DQR) was adopted in 2012, education and training stakeholders expected it would deliver an important impetus for the equivalence of general and vocational education. However, the agreement, concluded by the Federal Government, the federal states and the social partners, still lacks formal legal status. In light of the increasing loss of appeal of VET, a broad debate on the validity of VET qualifications is more necessary than ever. Juridification of the DQR could make an important contribution in this respect.
Dual VET in Germany is viewed as an ideal model the world over. Its reputation is, however, declining in some countries. Fewer and fewer young people are applying for a training place whilst the number of higher education students has risen. How can this development be explained? Two causes are examined in greater detail. Firstly, the loss of recognition of VET because the promise of a middle-class position has been eroded in the wake of growing income inequality. Second, the consequences of education expansion and the associated increasing expectations regarding status. The conclusion is that the reputation of dual training cannot be improved by educational policy measures alone. Any enhancement needs to be embedded in a long-term uplift and a higher degree of societal recognition of qualified skilled work.
Ongoing changes on the labour market and the resulting structural shift are giving rise to the question of whether VET programmes can continue to facilitate successful career pathways. This article compares unemployment and wages in Switzerland amongst employees with different educational backgrounds. It reveals that persons who have completed VET exhibit a higher level of employment and that there is a significant overlap in the wage distributions of those with vocational and general qualifications.
Societal debates on occupations in essential work within the context of the pandemic have fuelled questions relating to the value and appreciation of occupational tasks beyond economic criteria. We compare two lists of essential occupations in order to describe their valuation on the basis of characteristics such as wages, prestige and workload together with an analysis of the qualification levels of employees in these occupations. Our aim is to widen the perspective on the equivalence of general and vocational education by addressing the question as to whether burdens or responsibilities are distributed evenly across workers at all qualification levels in times of crisis. The 2018 BIBB/BAuA Employment Survey serves as our database.
Christian Ebner; Sabine Krüger; Daniela Rohrbach-Schmidt
The long-term trend is that a considerable increase in higher education study entrants is observable in Germany. The present article analyses the value of occupations for which degree-level study is necessary compared to occupations typically requiring completion of VET, upgrading training or even no formal vocational qualification at all. The (in)equivalence of these occupations is investigated on the basis of wages and prestige, both of which play a part in individual career choice and work motivation as well as in company recruitment.
This article looks at trade and technical schools as a possible venue where academic and vocational education are interlinked. In this case, permeability between vocational and academic training applies both ways. A pilot project in Saxony-Anhalt is focusing on permeability from academic education to VET. Two trade and technical schools are experimenting with the admission of higher education dropouts. The University of Magdeburg is conducting evaluation research and providing guidance to all project participants.
InnoVET projects are developing and piloting advanced VET programmes with the aim of creating provision equivalent to academic qualifications. This article uses criteria to outline how equivalence is understood within this context and illustrates two selected projects as examples. The analysis centres on which criteria from academic research discourse are reflected in project practice and on how these are weighted from the project actors’ perspective.
Since 1993, it has been possible to combine three-year and four-year basic VET leading to the Federal VET Diploma (EFZ) with the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (BM). Some of the aims of the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate are to increase permeability between basic vocational training and higher education, to ensure the ability to study at a university of applied sciences, and to help combat the skilled worker shortage. This article examines to which extent the BM is achieving these goals and also looks at the obstacles in practice.
Given the shortage of skilled workers in nursing, part-time training is allied with the hope of acquiring further target groups. Nevertheless, there is an absence of systematic findings relating to the target group, to the structure of the provision and to organisation. The part-time nursing training project Teilzeit in der Pflegeausbildung (TiPa) adopts a methodologically integrative research approach. To this end, systematic literature and document research was carried out, as well as a nationwide survey of schools, practical institutions and trainees. The project results presented in the article provide information on the target groups of the part-time provision, set out part-time models being pursued, and explore the general conditions governing implementation.
Take two! Following a virtual edition in September 2021 as a result of the pandemic, the University Conference on Vocational Education and Training will be returning to Bamberg from 20 to 22 March 2023 and will once again be staged as a face-to-face event with “real” participants. In this interview, the experienced Bamberg-based organisational team offer insights into the conference programme.
Verena Schneider; Henrik Schwarz; Gunther Spillner
The amendment of the Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz, BBiG) and of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (Handwerksordnung, HwO) in 2020 included the integration of the three level approach for advanced training occupations leading to higher level vocational education and training (VET) qualifications. For each level new standard denominations were introduced, designated as Certified Professional Specialist, Bachelor Professional and Master Professional, also in order to facilitate international connectivity. This article sheds light on the background of the amendment, presents the implementation measures that have taken place so far, and indicates some open issues.
New challenges for the alignment of qualifications to the German Qualifications Framework (DQR) are arising in the wake of the revision of the nursing professions and the introduction of initially qualifying courses of study. This affects initial, advanced and continuing training qualifications within the occupational field of nursing and also impacts on congruence with initial and advanced training qualifications pursuant to the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) and the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (HwO). The article describes why further structural development of the occupational field of nursing is required in this regard and outlines possible solutions for a career pathway concept in nursing.
Information technology specialists work in all areas of computer science and information technology. Their field of deployment is very wide-ranging. In order to take account of the technological shift and of new areas of activity such as big data, robotics, Industry 4.0, cyber physical systems and IT in products, the training occupation was modernised in 2020 and expanded from two to a total of four specialisms. The description covers the tasks of IT specialists and the technological trends characterising the occupation.
The third Board Meeting of 2022 was chaired by Dr. Sandra Garbade, representative of the federal states. Consultations centred on issues such as the current situation on the training places market and activities undertaken by BIBB with regard to Ukrainian refugees.