Chapter 10: Vocational Education and Training: Sites for Qualitative Study
Jane Salisbury INTRODUCTION Vocational education and training (VET) can be broadly conceived as preparation and learning for the world of work. Vocational education programmes can be found in educational institutions, in workplaces and in formal training schemes run by organizations such as trades unions or private training providers. Of course professional occupations have well-regulated professional education programmes (Pugsley, Chapter 11, this volume) and the majority of these operate inside higher education (HE) where students study specialist knowledge via degrees and diplomas (Lucas, Chapter 12, this volume). Vocational training, ‘on the job’ also involves informal learning (Roth, Chapter 14, this volume) whereby participaton in tasks affords experiential learning. Whilst other chapters in this part of the volume cover qualitative research on the professions and HE, I will concentrate upon VET in post-compulsory education and training (PCET). In doing so, I will touch upon informal learning contexts briefly. This chapter is concerned with identifying the ways in which apprenticeship and vocational training have been researched using qualitative methods, especially fieldwork strategies. It is not a definitive source about apprenticeship and vocational training research but a helpful starting point for those scholars interested in locating studies which have attempted thick descriptions (Geertz, 1973). The chapter draws attention to some rich and diverse studies from around the world and offers a brief commentary on how these have progressed our knowledge and understanding. I am a committed user and teacher of qualitative research methods and keen to convince readers how exciting it can be to...
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