The programme of VETNET contained totally 32 sessions: 22 paper sessions, 4 symposia, 2 research workshops, 2 round tables, 1 poster session (including 6 posters) and 1 opening panel session, altogether ca. 90 papers. The paper sessions were organised in three parallel sessions and included ca. three presentations/one session.
The opening colloquium had the theme ‘Towards Multicultural VET – Recognition of Immigrants’ Competence’. This theme was introduced by Johanna Lasonen (University of South Florida) and Marianne Teräs (University of Helsinki). Their studies had focussed on the integration of migrants in the Finnish society and the role of vocational learning opportunities in migrants’ career development. The discussion drew attention to the gaps between migrants’ needs and the institutional support that is offered by the educational authorities.
The Helsinki conference was successful and had many excellent presentations. The discussion in all sessions was very inspiring and at the same time pointed out new needs for developing research on VET. In particular the research on multi-culturalism has underemphasized the role of workplace and practise based learning in different forms and arrangement- from classical apprenticeship up to informal learning. Yet, a major part of young European citizens go through vocational learning routes. Several presentations drew attention to the need to find new combinations between practical and theoretical learning instead of overemphasising the importance of academic education.
The themes concerned most often transition and career issues, teaching and learning processes and also EU policy issues. Social issues and technological development were not so popular this year. The issue of competences was dealt in many presentations from different points of views (e.g. individual, recognition, enterprises, educational establishment).
The main topics of the sessions were as follows:
- Transition, careers and guidance & councelling
- Qualification frameworks, competence requirements and recognition
- Teaching/learning processes and teachers/trainers’ professional development
- Workplace learning environment, partnerships and sectoral issues
- VET system analyses and governance studies
- Social issues in VET and social impact of VET provisions
- and Pedagogic and technological development of VET provisions
The papers are made available by the VETNET conference proceedings edited by Ludger Deitmer, Sabine Manning and Marja-Leena Stenström (see www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/vetnet/ecer10.htm).
The VETNET assembly was held on Thursday 26 August. There were 28 participants from 15 countries (A, AU, CH, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, HU, NL, PT, RU, SE, UA, UK). The assembly discussed among others the review process of the proposals (see Minutes of VETNET Assembly).
All in all there where more than 200 reviews, and 25 colleagues took part in the review process. Most of the reviewers are VETNET-Board Member. The problem of divergent reviews was raised and discussed: The assembly commented also on the withdrawn of the proposals. Unfortunately, some cancellations after the printed programme were occurred. Nine papers were cancelled; two of them were not informed. Three poster presentations were cancelled; two of them were not informed. For this reason only one session had to be cancelled. The reason for cancellations after July might be that the conference was held earlier than usually in Helsinki.