02 SES 03 A, Analytical Lens on VET: Social Justice and Inequality
For the European Union and many other societies the route to economic competitiveness is thought to arise from the development of a knowledge economy. Similar claims have been made by the OECD (2014) with such notions becoming hegemonic and a feature of international policy debates. It is in this context that Vocational Education and Training (VET) has an important role to play. To that end a significant body of work has addressed the manner in which European VET systems develop in young people the competences, skills and dispositions required at work (Mulder and Winterton, 2016). A theme that is rather less emphasised in European research is an examination of the relationship between VET, social justice and inequality. In this latter instance the focus is on issues concerned with what could be described as the reproduction of classed and gendered relations, with some small recognition of ethnicity (see Beck et al, 2006; Hughes, et al, 2006) . This recognition of ethnicity has often been couched somewhat gesturally in terms of intersectionality and the articulation between race, class and gender. It is however important not to ignore that these processes are mediated by the specific social formation in which they are located. Virolainen (2015) and Jørgensen (2014) have noted the different VET strategies present in Nordic countries as well as the relationship of these to class and gendered processes. In Germany a number of writers have considered, or at least noted, the relationship of VET to class (Deissinger, 2015; Müller, 2014; Schmidt, 2010; Schneider and Tieben, 2011; Brown, Lauder and Ashton, 2011, chapter 7). Interest has frequently been directed towards marginalised and disadvantaged youth and in instances where race/ethnicity is addressed this has often been in terms of migration (see, Taylor, Foster and Cambre, 2012 for a Canadian example). Early English work that addressed race/ethnicity and VET is salutary and poses a number of important questions that have been submerged in current debates. A reconsideration of this work raises a number of significant questions for VET researchers. More than thirty years ago a body of research examined the manner in which black youth were marginalised in the English VET system (Newnham, 1986; Lee and Wrench, 1983; Troyna and Smith, 1983; West Midlands Youth Training Scheme Research Project, 1985; Hollands, 1990; Eggleston et al, 1986; Verma and Darby, 1987; Cohen and Bains, 1998). Subsequent research addressing such issues, whilst clearly visible in work on higher education and schools, has been far less visible in relation to VET and Further Education (but see for example, Chadderton and Wischmann, 2014). Wolf (2011), for example, has pointed towards the limited value of low level vocational qualifications. Whilst such processes have been examined in terms of disability and class, as well as their articulation with gender, there has been limited engagement with race/ethnicity. This paper seeks to redress this deficit and has set itself three key tasks. Firstly, to analyse the available statistical data with a view to exploring the relationship between race/ethnicity and VET - is there evidence of warehousing of black youth? How do these statistics articulate to those of class and gender? Does the English experience map onto that found in other western economies? Secondly, how can we make sense of and theorise these relations - are there particular features of the current conjuncture that need to be addressed and have contemporary analyses of “race and education” erased VET? What are the specificities that characterise other social formations? Thirdly, what would be an appropriate educational and political response?
Beck, V., Fuller A., Unwin, L. (2006) Safety in stereotypes? The impact of gender and 'race' on young people's perceptions of their post-compulsory education and labour market opportunities, British Educational Research Journal, 32(5) Blacker, D. (2013) The falling rate of learning and the neoliberal endgame, Zero books Brown, P., Lauder, H., Ashton, D. (2011) The Global Auction, Oxford University Press Chadderton, C., Wischmann, A. (2014). Racialised norms in apprenticeship systems in England and Germany. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 66(3). Cohen, P., Bains, H. (eds) (1998) Multi-Racist Britain, Macmillan Deissinger, T. (2015) paper presented International perspectives on apprenticeships, training and young people’s transitions to work, University of Huddersfield, 10 July Eggleston, J., Dunn, D., Anjali, M. (1986) Education For Some, Trentham Hollands, R. (1990) The Long Transition: class, culture and Youth training, Macmillan Hughes, C., Blaxter, L., Brine, J., Jackson, S. (2006) Gender, class and ‘race’ in lifelong learning: policy and practice in the UK and EU, BERJ, 32(5) Jørgensen, C. (2014) The current state of the challenges for VET in Denmark, http://nord-vet.dk/indhold/uploads/report1b_dk.pdf accessed 20 Dec 2015 Lee, G., Wrench, J. (1983) Skill Seekers: Black youth apprenticeship and disadvantage, National Youth Bureau Marsh, J. (2011) Class Dismissed, Month Review Press Mulder, M., Winterton, J. (Eds) (2016) Competence-based Vocational and Professional Education Bridging the World of Work and Education, Springer Müller, W. (2014). ‘Everyone is his own boss.’ Current threats to educational attainment in German schools, in F. Coffield, et al (eds) Beyond Bulimic Learning, IoE Press Newnham, A. (1986) Employment, Unemployment and Black people, Runnymede Trust Schmidt, C. (2010) "Vocational education and training for youths with low levels of qualification in Germany", Education + Training, 52(5) Schneider, S. L., Tieben, N.(2011). "A healthy sorting machine?: Social inequality in the transition to upper secondary education in Germany." Oxford Review of Education 37/2 Taylor, A., Foster, J., Cambre, C. (2012) Training ‘expendable’ workers: temporary foreign workers in nursing, Globalisation, Societies and Education 10(1) Troyna, B., Smith, D. I. (eds) (1983) Racism, School and the Labour Market, National Youth Bureau Verma, G., Darby, D, (1987) Race Training Employment, Falmer Virolainen, M. (2015) Strengths and weaknesses in the school-based model of IVET: transitions to HE and working life in Finland, As aboveUniversity of Huddersfield 30 October West Midlands Youth Training Scheme Research Project, (1985) Racial discrimination and the Youth Training Scheme, Wolf, A. (2011). Review of Vocational Education
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