Between Economic Cooperation and Social Policy: Short-track Dual Training in Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland

Item Type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract The provision of dual (firm-based and school-based) vocational education and training (VET) to vulnerable young people is a pertinent issue. This is highlighted by the contemporary challenge to improve the integration of migrants into regular labour markets. One policy tool to facilitate integration are theory reduced apprenticeships that target disadvantaged young people more oriented towards practical training. These short-tracks are influenced and shaped by various public and private actors involved in the governance of VET. However, we still know very little about how actors in collective governance shape institutions that may serve inclusiveness for vulnerable groups. Therefore, we situate our research project at the nexus of political economy research on collective governance and social policy research on inclusiveness. In this context, we understand collective governance as the close cooperation between public and private actors and inclusiveness in terms of policy tools, rules, and interventions that aim at providing access to the training system to individuals who find it difficult to obtain an apprenticeship position if left on their own. The paper focuses on the legal introduction and implementation of short-track dual vocation-al training that lead to standardized vocational certificates. We conduct a historical-institutionalist comparison of the three main cases of short-track dual training, namely the Danish, German, and Swiss VET systems. Interestingly, these three relatively similar training countries differ in the institutionalization and governance of short-track dual training pro-grams. To explore these differences and to answer why they have occurred, we map the actors involved, their positions and cooperation, and the social and economic contexts in which these programs were reformed. We are especially interested in the differences between actors’ positions and the effect of these differences on the governance and implementation of short tracks. Our process tracing and exploration of the respective within-case variation is based on document analysis and a range of semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, representing employers’ interests, employee interests, but also national and regional state interests. Our analysis finds that in the 1990s, these VET systems experienced major problems when a lack of training places and high dropout rates weakened the apprenticeship systems. This motivated reforms in which short-track programs and their role as an inclusiveness-enhancing vocational training option were discussed intensively. While all three countries strengthened short-tracks during this “window of opportunity”, we observe significant variation in their institutionalization and governance. In particular, we find variation in the engagement and cooperation of the different actors at three key governance levels: the sectoral, occupational, and the regional levels. Furthermore, we observe that the reform processes that have led to the current institutionalization are linked to gradual change in Denmark and Switzerland but more radical policy change in Germany. Our study provides new insights on the positioning, influence, and degrees of support of the different key VET actors in relation to inclusiveness-enhancing skill formation. Furthermore, we discuss the implications of these findings for related social policy fields.
Authors Di Maio, Gina; Graf, Lukas & Wilson, Anna
Language English
Subjects social sciences
political science
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SEPS - Global Democratic Governance
Date 6 January 2018
Event Title Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association
Event Location Geneva
Event Dates 5.-6.2.2018
Depositing User Gina Di Maio
Date Deposited 14 Feb 2018 14:14
Last Modified 08 Feb 2023 01:23


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Di Maio, Gina; Graf, Lukas & Wilson, Anna: Between Economic Cooperation and Social Policy: Short-track Dual Training in Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. 2018. - Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association. - Geneva.

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