Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (GOVPET)

Professor Patrick Emmenegger (University of St. Gallen) is in charge of the GOVPET leading house, which is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of St. Gallen, the University of Lausanne, SFIVET Zollikofen and the University of Cologne. Launched in July 2015, this leading house conducts comparative analyses of VET system governance in various countries. Its research findings broaden and deepen our understanding of the strengths, weak-nesses and conditions for successful decentralised cooperation, adaptability and social inclusion in VET systems.

GOVPET’s research programme examines the systemic management of dual-track VET systems. During the first funding period from 2015 to 2020, a wide range of VET system governance issues were covered. The geographical focus was quite narrow, limited to only five countries with relative-ly well-developed collective VET systems: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. For the second funding period, however, the scope of the international comparison will be expanded to include other countries (e.g. France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom). In particular, GOVPET researchers will compare the response capabilities of the VET systems of those countries with those of collective VET systems. At the same time, the range of VET system govern-ance issues considered will be narrowed down to two, namely immigration and technological change. While immigration mainly affects the supply of competences, technological change mostly affects the demand for competences.

During the first phase of GOVPET’s research programme, emphasis was placed on three interrelat-ed topics that gave rise to three corresponding research priorities to be addressed in the second funding period. GOVPET will therefore continue to pursue these topics in the second phase.

For the first topic, researchers examined how stable forms of decentralised cooperation can be established despite the constant risk of a breakdown in cooperation. Among other things, the aim is to identify ways to keep private sector players motivated in the long term to continue to provide workplace training within the framework of dual-track VET programmes and to encourage them to adopt societal perspectives even when this does not serve their immediate short-term interests. In the case of Switzerland, professional organisations, which play a vital role in dual-track VET systems, are of particular interest in this endeavour. During the first funding period, a database of all profes-sional organisations in Switzerland was created to address this first topic and subsequent research priority.

For the second topic, researchers looked at ways in which dual-track VET systems adapt to new social trends. In international comparative studies, GOVPET examined how dual-track VET systems face new and critical social challenges such as demographic change, digitalisation and globalisation. Here, emphasis was placed on various VET system stakeholders and aspects. This topic will be pur-sued as a research priority in the second funding period, with a special focus on digitalisation.

For the third topic, the GOVPET examined ways in which states are able to persuade private sector players to include societal goals in their actions, particularly with regard to the inclusion of disadvan-taged people in the education system. This topic will also be further explored as a research priority, with special attention paid to the relationship between VET and migration.