Comparative Research into the Experiences of Vocational Learners Across Seven European Countries

This seminar presented the findings of the 7EU project to inform the policy discussion on vocational education in the UK.

Abstract: The 7EU project is a pioneering attempt to investigate and compare the learning experiences of vocational learners across Europe. The research is intended to provide a European and comparative perspective to discussions about practice and policy in vocational education. The research included a survey of more than 7000 young Europeans, which investigates motivations, aspirations, study preferences, influences upon decision making and satisfaction. It also included interviews with policy makers and researchers to explore the vocational education and training (VET) context in each country. This session provided an opportunity to learn about some of the findings. For example, the data show that, despite its ‘bad press’, the English VET system is relatively highly rated, on a range of criteria, by learners and that within the English VET system, FE Colleges are highly rated in comparison to training providers and sixth forms. This session¬†stimulated a wider discussion about how comparative data can inform discussions about vocational and work-related education in England.

Biography: Julian has 18 years’ experience as a teacher and manager in schools and 12 years’ experience as a researcher and evaluator at the University of Warwick. From 2006-07 he led a team of consultants supporting QCA’s work in developing the structure, standards and assessment for the Diploma and from 2007-08 he co-led a team evaluating the Extended Project. From 2007-08 he worked in a multi-institution team to evaluate the development of the Diplomas and during 2008-09 he led the consultation and research activity supporting the development of the Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences. Julian has led a number of research projects in the Further Education and Skills sector investigating transitions into employment, developing case studies in relation to Foundation Learning and exploring innovation.Julian has written and edited educational resources to support vocational, occupational and careers education, including on-line and interactive resources. He has also published guidance for teachers and lecturers and contributed to initial teacher training and CPD. Julian co-directed the evaluation of the national support programme for the development of enterprise education in England (The Enterprise Network) for the Department for Education. He is currently directing research into vocational education and training for the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Education (Cedefop) and is contributing to other European research projects.

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