02 SES 05 B, VET and Development of Competence
In countries with dual-VET systems, the need for integrative mechanisms has grown stronger the last decade (Rauner and Smith, 2010). Innovations in apprenticeship regimes have been coupled with the emergence of intermediary agencies: Regional training organisations in Australia (Smith, 2010), practice centres in the Netherlands (Onstenk, 2009), intercompany centres in Switzerland (Leemann and Imdorf, 2015), regional integrated vocational training centres in Hungary (Benke, 2010) – and training offices in Norway. Although they differ in function, structure and position with the national VET-systems, we will refer to these units as “boundary institutions” (Scheiding, 2011) which is a term that has been used to highlight the role of new agencies in brokering the academic-industry symbiosis. In our context, the boundaries are drawn between education in vocational schools and apprenticeship in companies – and the larger context of industrial relations and educational systems. There is little international comparative research on how boundary institutions influence these relations and the learning environments of apprentices (Høst et al., 2014).
After in-company training of apprentices became part of the formal education system in Norway in 1994, a number of training offices were established. Training offices are owned by training establishments and are either trade-specific, branch-oriented or interdisciplinary. The apprenticeship contract is defined between the apprentice and the training office, while the training is mainly company-based. Today, around 80 % of the apprentices have training contracts with a training office (Høst et al, 2014).Thus, training offices play an essential role in the Norwegian VET-system and this institution has received a growing international attention.
Norwegian VET is an alternating dual system with a normal track of 2 years in school followed by 2 years in companies. A reform in 2006 (the Knowledge Promotion), introduced common competence goals for the school-based and company-based part of VET. The trainers are expected to develop local plans, content and activities based on a state regulated curriculum and to secure that the objectives are realized through assessment practices. This is what Rauner, Wittig and Deitmer (2010) call an integrated output model. In order to strengthen the monitoring and communication with apprentices, the training offices have implemented E-portfolio systems that may be specific for a trade or a cluster of trades, standardized packages and systems with strong involvement from the training offices (Nore and Lahn, 2014). Given the growing importance of the training offices for the Norwegian apprenticeship system, their staffing is crucial in defining the profile (school/company, local/national and pedagogical ideology). In the trade-specific and branch-owned offices, most of the staff have trade certificates, whilst in the public sector and interdisciplinary offices, more of the staff have higher education.
In this paper, we will use data from a national validation of a German vocational competence assessment tool that we have administered to apprentices through their affiliation with local training offices. We ask to what extent differences in profile on the test performance reflect characteristics of these boundary institutions. Can differences be reflected in the interaction between the training office and apprentices with the use of different e-portfolio systems? Which impact can we see from the profile of the specific training office (trade specific, branch-oriented or inter-disciplinary)?
Benke, M. (2010). Towards innovative apprenticeship: the evaluation of the development of integrated regional VET centres in Hungary. In Rediscovering Apprenticeship (pp. 75-89). Springer Netherlands. Høst, H., Skålholt, A., Reiling, R.B. & Gjerustad, C. (2014) Opplæringskontorene i fag- og yrkesopplæringen – avgjørende bindeledd eller institusjon utenfor kontroll? NIFU Rapport 51/2014 Leemann, R.J. & Imdorf, C. (2015) Cooperative VET in Training Networks: Analysing the Free-Rider Problem in Sociology-of-Conventions Perspective. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 2(4) pp 284-307. Nore, H., & Lahn, L. C. (2014). Bridging the Gap between Work and Education in Vocational Education and Training. A study of Norwegian Apprenticeship Training Offices and E-portfolio Systems. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 1(1) pp 21-34. Onstenk, J. (2009). Connections of School-and Work-Based Learning in the Netherlands. In Towards Integration of Work and Learning (pp. 187-199). Springer Netherlands. Rauner, F., & Smith, E. (Eds.). (2010). Rediscovering apprenticeship: research findings of the International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP) (Vol. 11). Springer Science & Business Media. Rauner, F., Wittig, W., & Deitmer, L. (2010). Plural administration in dual systems in selected European countries. In Rediscovering apprenticeship (pp. 31-43). Springer Netherlands. Rauner, F; Haasler, B; Heinemann, L; Grollmann, P. (2009): Messen beruflicher Kompetenzen, Band 1: Grundlagen und Konzeption des KOMET-Projektes, Berlin LIT Verlag. Scheiding, T. (2011) Boundary Institutions for Reconciliation of Academic Chemistry to Industry: Germany vs. The United States, Social science research network http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1912161 Smith, E. (2010). We're here to help: Agencies dealing with apprenticeships in Australia. In Rediscovering apprenticeship (pp. 113-123). Springer Netherlands.
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