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9. österreichische Berufsbildungsforschungskonferenz am 3.-5.07.2024 in Innsbruck

Abstracts 2014




The role of research in the renewal of initial vocational education and training: a comparative analysis of the Austrian and Danish apprenticeship system

Bacher, Tanja; 3s Unternehmensberatung, Österreich
Markowitsch, Jörg; 3s Unternehmensberatung, Österreich
Geiger, Gerhard; 3s Unternehmensberatung, Österreich

Paper Session: 1
Zeit: Donnerstag, 03.07.2014, 14:15 - 16:15
Ort: FH Seminarraum Promotech
Typ: Paper
Downloads:Präsentation als PDF

Globalisation, demographic changes, and the proceeding transition of most European Member States to knowledge societies requires an adequately qualified labour force in order to stay competitive in a global economy. The flagship initiative ‘An agenda for new skills and jobs’, a constituent part of the Europe 2020 strategy, calls for more effective anticipation of future skills needs, and the development of improved matching between skills and labour market needs (Council of the EU and the European Commission, 2010).

Identifying and forecasting future skill requirments and ensuring that these requirments are incorporated into education and training has long been subject of research and political discussion (Haskel und Holt, 1999). What should be forecast and how forecasting should be conducted depends on the type of education and training system and the labour market conditions within a country. Furthermore, anticipating and forecasting skill demands requires cooperation and communication between VET and the labour market to ensure continuous and systematic VET renewal according to labour market demands (Lassnigg/Markwotisch, 2004).

Previous research (Cedefop 2009) showed that the mechanisms for VET renewal may vary considerably in terms of actors involved, scope of consultation, decision-making power, resources available, and processes implemented. This paper presents the outcomes of a European-wide study investigating feedback mechanisms between initial vocational education and training (IVET) and the labour market (Cedefop 2013). In the study four types of institutionalised feedback mechanisms were identified which illustrate cooperation between education and the labour market in the renewal of IVET (ibid.). Feedback mechanisms are supposed to inform planning and delivery of teaching and learning processes according to identified labour market demand for specific skills and competences and involve the processes of identifying demand for skills and competences, the formulation of learning outcomes on the basis of this demand, the planning and delivery of teaching and learning processes and the assessment and certification of learning outcomes (ibid., p. 8-11).

The question to be discussed in this paper is ‘How feedback mechanisms make use of IVET and labour market research in the renewal of IVET?’. Research may play multiple roles in supporting the renewal of VET: forecasting and anticipating skills needs and supply, aiding implementation of VET renewals, or evaluating policy outcomes. In the study conducted three basic roles for research in feedback mechanisms have been identified:

(a) as a separate feedback mechanism;

(b) to convey information to or from the labour market;

(c) ad hoc research with a view to providing background information to support various interactions between the labour market and VET institutions.

It is evident that there are different roles for research in different models of feedback mechanisms. But can differences also be identified in the way research is organised within the same model? This question will be discussed along the Austrian and Danish apprenticeship system as both systems have similar feedback mechanisms characterised as ‚coordinated type‘ (where social partners are the drivers of the renewal process) and for which comparable research needs can be assumed. The paper investigates the role of research in the Austrian apprenticeship and the Danish Central Analysis and Prognosis (CAP) feedback mechanisms and compares the role of research in both systems. A major conclusion from the observations is that research has an impact on existing institutionalised feedback between VET and the labour marked and improves the qualitiy of change processes. The findings of the paper are based on ten expert interviews in Austria and Denmark, desk research and literature review as well as country studies.


Cedefop (2013). Renewing VET provision. Understanding feedback mechanisms between initial VET and the labour market. Research paper, no. 37. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2013.

Cedefop (2009). The dynamics of qualifications: defining and reneweing occupational standars. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2009.

Council of the EU and the European Commission (2010). Europe 2020: a European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Haskel, J.; Holt, R. (1999). Anticipating future skills needs; can it be done? Does it need to be done? Sudbury: DfEE (Skills tas force research group. Research pater 1).

Lassnig, L.; Markowitsch, J. (eds.) (2004). Qualität durch Vorausschau. Antizipations-mechanismen und Qualitätssicherung in der österreichischen Berufsbildung. Innsbruck-Wien: Studienverlag.

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