Continuing vocational training is seen as vital for enhancing people’s employability and adaptability during their working life. However, little is known about this training, which seems to be increasingly work-based. Even less is known about individuals’ perspectives on, and attitudes towards, learning or how their vocational learning is linked to their individual career development. While much of the literature and policy development in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET) primarily deals with initial training (whether school-based or apprenticeship), how it is structured and executed, little attention is given to the examination of how those who complete initial education and training use these opportunities in working life and what particular types of training they engage in.
Recent trends suggest that working life has become increasingly flexible, characterised by higher levels of job mobility and occupational change. Consequently, there are major challenges for continuing vocational training (CVT) and how it can best be structured and designed to support people in adjusting their careers to demands of increased labour market flexibility. If CVT is becoming more a form of work-integrated learning, this also has consequences for the human resources development in companies and for VET providers in general.
The study on ‘Research into forms of individual career development and CVT’ was funded by EACEA (Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency). The project investigated employees’ responses and strategies as they are required to cope with more flexible work and employment, changing skills requirements and instabilities at work. The investigation, in particular, addressed how workers use learning and continuing vocational training to shape their individual careers. This approach required examining training offers and support, as well as trying to gain insights into the subjective orientations of individuals and their actions, i.e. how they actually engage with, and use, continuing vocational training.
A combination of different research methods were applied, including:
- Literature review, considering: i) the theoretical background on the topic; ii) outcomes of former qualitative related studies; and iii) quantitative approaches and third party surveyors (such as EWCS, ISSP) related to the topic of investigation;
- Implementation of a small-scale survey in approximately ten European countries; and
- Consultation with individual experts, expert institutions and other organisations to validate the work in progress and findings.
Brown, A., Bimrose, J., Barnes, S-A., Kirpal, S., Grønning, T. & Dæhlen, M. (2010) Changing Patterns of Work, Learning and Career Development Across Europe (Final Report EACEA/2007/07). Brussels: Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency. Also available Executive summary in English, German and French.
Brown, A., Bimrose, J., Barnes, S-A., Kirpal, S., Grønning, T. & Dæhlen, M. (2010) Changing Patterns of Work, Learning and Career Development Across Europe. Technical report on development, implementation and results of the survey (EACEA/2007/07). Brussels: Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency.
Brown, A., Bimrose, J., Barnes, S-A., Kirpal, S. & Grønning, T. (2009) Follow-up of the Copenhagen process: Research into forms of individual career development and continuing vocational training (CVT) (Interim Report EACEA/2007/07). Brussels: Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency. (unpublished)