This paper develops a framework for the comparative study of institutional-employer partnerships in vocational education and training (VET). A focus on partnership implies here primarily a meso-level examination of organisational relations, boundaries and issues of power and control. Bernstein’s concepts of classification (strength of insulation between categories) and framing (locus of control) are used to sketch out possible relationships between educational institutions and employers. Four models (identified A–D) are arranged, exemplifying ideal type partnership arrangements and suggesting distinct pedagogical contexts. While classification is employed as a means of identifying the boundaries between discourses and workplace roles, framing is suggested as a means of registering elements of control (i.e. sequencing, pacing, selecting) in the dynamics of work and in pedagogy. These meso-level arrangements sit within broader macro contexts which suggest specific logics of education and work, and it is important to acknowledge that partnerships may be constrained by structural or agentic forces prevalent in this macro domain. The distinctive advantage of discrete meso-level frameworks, however, is that they provide a language for comparative work on partnership in VET that can bridge national or sectoral contexts, illustrating key differences and similarities that can then be further explored on return to addressing the macro dimension. The argument is briefly illustrated comparatively with examples from VET research that include a partnership focus.
|Title of host publication||Comparative Vocational Education Research|
|Editors||Matthias Pilz, Junmin Li|
|Place of Publication||Wiesbaden|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2020|