ECER at Porto worked well; the city was easy to navigate, and the university facilities that Network 2 were allocated worked well for us.
The rooms were close togther and that made moving between sessions efficient. For workshop style presentations a room with a level floor is preferable. Attendance at all sessions was good, averaging around 20 per session and the last session of the conference had 10 people attending. Thirty eight sessions were organised by themes offering perspectives on VET. A special session of Early Career Researchers was organised. There were 77 papers in the main programme. Themes were wide ranging, offering studies of VET in relation to individual learners, schools, communities, organisations and specific vocations and professions. Issues related to the preparation of VET teachers, VET in continuing learning, pathways and transition. Issues for policies, research and for VET in the future were explored. The programme ranged from the local to the national and global. Issues relating to policy and to values in the field were discussed more. The perspectives provided complemented the past, present and future theme of the conference.
The 2014 Conference provided opportunities to introduce some innovations into the VETNET programme. These related to every stage of the conference beginning with the assigning of three reviewers per proposal and two per early researcher proposal. This worked well in also providing reviews for the network journal. For the majority of sessions a discussant was appointed from the Board and the Committee of Reviewers. This maximised participation by the Board and the reviewers in the programme, and supported more discussion of the presetnations. The Sessions were designed to provide several perspectives on TVET.
The final session for the conference was a 'Market Place' designed to reflect on the conference and share ideas for the next. The Market Place was well attended for a last session and it was good to take time to reflect and to discuss new ideas. Feedback on these initiatives was positive.
The goal for joint sessions was not realised this year; we plan to do better in 2015. The overall theme enabled the Network to consider issues and challenges in the VET field, to learn of research being undertaken and to consider the implications of serious policy changes and redirections. A key project for the Network is the WERA IRN - and at the 2014 confernece we presented the VET Forum: Internationalisation of VET Research as the first public event of the Network. The session served to raise awareness of international trends in VET. There are 7 universities participating.
The Emerging Researchers Conference was reported as having good sessions.