The main aim of this thematic network is the establishment of the European dimension specifically related to the contents and methodologies within the sphere of vocational education and training (VET).
In contrast to the organisational orientation of informal on-the-job training dominating the Japanese system for skill acquisition and specific task-related training dominating the United States (Kuhn, 1996), a European dimension needs to embrace the traditional values of European societies embodied in the diversity of traditions, institutions, legislation and cultures that influence vocational education and training in the European Union.
Common economic pressures may result in divergent responses of various European VET systems to economic, political and social pressures, taking full account of the European background to produce analysis with a high degree of relevance to important EU and national policy issues in the feld of VET. No existing network exists in Europe which meets regularly and exchanges research experience on important issues relevant to VET policy. Fourteen countries are represented in the FORUM and its members are respected researchers both nationally and internationally. Many of the members are senior academics in institution responsible for training VET professionals and have links with policy makers both at regional and national levels. It is recgonised by members of the FORUM that an interdisciplinary appraoch is vital for success in its work and this is reflected in the characteristics of the network and the tasks allocated to members.
These factors combine to make the FORUM a unique thematic network in an policy area of immense importance to the future of Europe.
In addition, the FORUM will integrate the coaching and development of young researchers into the work of the network. Young males (< 30 years) and young female (< 35 years) will work alongside more experienced colleagues to explore the European dimension in vocational education and training research. Each participating institution will support the involvement of young researchers and a work package will be designed explicitly to ensure that appropriate training is provided. This innovation will ensure that the FORUM makes a lasting contribution to the research and development community, on a European scale, that outlives the timescale of this current proposal. The network will examine the pressures to increase the quality of VET, skill levels of those in VET, quality assurance, flexibility, and transnationality, while taking into account different responses to employer involvement, individual funding and changing work organisations.
In particular the issues for the network workshops are:
1. Common practices and values in VET,
2. VET and the labour market,
3. Organisational changes required of vocational training instituitons,
4. In-Company training and school to work transition,
5. the Leaming Organisation.
The work content focuses on Subarea 220.127.116.11, however, the exploration of the European dimension for research into the capacity for change and adaption of educational systems will act as a common thread to link the activities of the various sub groups.
All members of the FORUM are involved in national, regional and European projects which will help to disemminate their case studies of good practice.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
1310 La Hulpe
3000 Louvain / Leuven
581 83 Linköping
6525 HR Nijmegen
6700 AB Wageningen
CV4 7AL Coventry