GOVPET: Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training


Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) systems are attracting increasing attention once again due to their stellar economic performance. Also Switzerland is more and more the destination of "study visits" of foreign observers interested in learning how VPET systems work in real life. However, dual vocational training systems are difficult to maintain and even more difficult to create from scratch. The reasons for these difficulties lie in the collectively organised structure of VPET systems, in which a multitude of firms, intermediary associations and public authorities cooperate in the provision, financing and administration of skill formation. In particular, VPET systems presuppose that private actors agree to voluntarily cooperate at a decentralised (i.e. regional/sectoral) level. While states may be able to adopt laws premised on such cooperation, states typically lack the means to enforce it. The challenge of maintaining decentralised cooperation becomes even more vexing if one considers that states have a strong interest in getting private actors to consider societal goals in decentralised cooperation. However, while private actors might have a clear interest in skilled workers, their interest in providing training to disadvantaged labour market participants is less straightforward.

Careful governance strategies are needed in the case of collectively organised training systems. However, the strategies used to maintain decentralised cooperation are not very well understood, not least because most research so far has focused on so-called cooperation dilemmas, i.e. situations in which cooperation fails because private interests are at odds with collective interests. However, in case of VPET systems, decentralised cooperation is working surprisingly well in the collectively organised VPET systems of Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Hence, the analysis of these VPET systems provides the unique opportunity to understand why and how private actors maintain cooperation and how states can get these private actors to consider societal interests in their decentralised cooperation.

This Leading House Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (GOVPET) focuses on the governance of VPET systems. More concretely, it focuses on two central research questions that are, however, strongly connected. First, we analyse how decentralised cooperation in skill formation is made possible given the many "neuralgic points of contention" (Busemeyer and Trampusch 2012: 16) and the ever-present threat of cooperation breakdown, and ask what stakeholders can do to get private actors to cooperate. Second, we examine how public policies can get private actors to consider societal goals in decentralised cooperation that are not necessarily in the interest of these private actors using the case of the inclusion of disadvantaged labour market participants in the systems of (initial and continuous) vocational and professional training.

We examine these two research questions in eight projects. To answer research question 1, we scrutinise cooperation and conflict in skill formation at the regional and sectoral level. Hence, in contrast to existing research that mainly focuses on the national level, we disaggregate the different layers of cooperation. More concretely, we conduct a fivefold comparative analysis: the analysis of decentralised cooperation in various Swiss regions with a special focus on the role of cantonal authorities (project 1.1); the analysis of decentralised cooperation in various economic sectors in Switzerland with a special focus on the role of professional organisations (project 1.2); the cross-national comparison of decentralised cooperation in regions with similar economic profiles (project 1.3); the cross-national comparison of decentralised cooperation in the same economic sectors (project 1.4); and the cross-national comparison of decentralised cooperation in multi-national firms (project 1.5).

To answer research 2, we examine how governments can get private actors to consider societal goals in decentralised cooperation using the case of the inclusion of disadvantaged labour market participants in the system of skill formation. We do so in three projects: Project 2.1 analyses existing tools to promote an inconclusive VPET system in Switzerland and other countries with a collectively organised training system. Project 2.2 examines employers' recruiting practices and attitudes towards accessibility of the VPET system. Finally, project 2.3 explores targeted programmes (so-called "second chance" training programmes) that aim at providing vocational training to young people who have not managed to obtain a qualification through the standard channels.

Overall, the Leading House promises to generate insights that will help improve our understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and conditions of decentralised cooperation and analyse how the needs of disadvantaged people and the goal of social inclusion are considered in the governance of the VPET system, which is crucial for maintaining a thriving VPET system and for improving social integration. With regard to the further development of the VPET system, the permeability between different systems and the attractiveness of the VPET system are among the most important challenges. The Leading House contributes to solving these challenges.

Additional Informationsunspecified
Commencement Date1 July 2015
Contributors Emmenegger, Patrick (Project Manager); Bonoli, Giuliano (Project Worker); Trampusch, Christine (Project Worker); Baumeler, Carmen (Project Worker); Graf, Lukas (Project Worker); Di Maio, Gina (Project Worker); Pisoni, Delia (Project Worker); Schraff, Dominik (Project Worker); Seitzl, Lina (Project Worker); Strebel, Alexandra (Project Worker); Wilson, Anna (Project Worker) & Unterweger, Daniel Franz (Project Worker)
Datestamp 14 Jun 2017 08:10
Institute/School ?? STUDENT ??
University of St.Gallen
SEPS - School of Economics and Political Science
Completion Date 30 June 2020
Publications Graf, Lukas & Tröhler, Daniel: Berufsausbildung in Luxemburg: historische Ursprünge, institutionelle Struktur und aktuelle Herausforderungen. In Lenz, Thomas & Bertemes, Jos (ed.): Bildungsbericht Luxemburg 2015. Band 2: Analysen und Befunde. Luxembourg : Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale, de l'Enfance et de la Jeunesse, 2015, S. 103-108.
Graf, Lukas: Hybridisierung von Berufs- und Hochschulbildung in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. In Banscherus, Ulf; Engel, Ole; Mindt, Anne; Spexard, Anna & Wolter, Andrä (ed.): Differenzierung im Hochschulsystem : Nationale und internationale Entwicklungen und Herausforderungen. Münster : Waxmann, 2015, S. 163-176.
Bernhard, Nadine; Graf, Lukas & Powell, Justin J. W.: Stratifizierung von Berufs- und Hochschulbildung in Europa: Deutschland und Frankreich im Spiegel klassischer Vergleichsstudien. In Dietzen, Agnes; Powell, Justin J. W.; Bahl, Anke & Lassnigg, Lorenz (ed.): Soziale Inwertsetzung von Wissen, Erfahrung und Kompetenz in der Berufsbildung. Weinheim : Beltz Juventa, 2015, S. 144-159.
Developing Advanced Work-Based Higher Education - What Germany and the U.S. Can Learn from Each Other (2015), 8 April 2015, S. 1.
Graf, Lukas: The European Educational Model and its Paradoxical Impact at the National Level. In Tröhler, Daniel & Lenz, Thomas (ed.): Trajectories in the Development of Modern School Systems : Between the National and the Global. New York : Routledge, 2015, S. 227-240.
Graf, Lukas: Germany: Stability and Change. In Corner, Trevor (ed.): Education in the European Union. Pre-2003 Member States. London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2015, S. 125-154.
Graf, Lukas: Book review of Krone, Sirikit (ed.) "Dual Studieren im Blick. Entstehungsbedingungen, Interessenlagen und Umsetzungsverfahren in dualen Studiengängen". In: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis (2015),
Graf, Lukas; Powell, Justin J.W.; Fortwengel, Johann & Bernhard, Nadine: Die Internationalisierung dualer Ausbildungsformen im Tertiärbereich. In Faßhauer, Uwe & Severing, Eckart (ed.): Verzahnung beruflicher und akademischer Bildung : Duale Studiengänge in Theorie und Praxis. Bielefeld : W. Bertelsmann Verlag, 2016, S. 97-114.
Durchlässigkeit als mehrdimensionale Aufgabe. Bedingungen für flexible Bildungsübergänge (2016), - ISSN 978-3-95861-458-1.
Graf, Lukas: Die Governance dualer Studiengänge. In Jungkamp, Burkhard & John-Ohnesorg, Marei (ed.): Gerechtigkeit fängt bei der Bildung an. Berlin : Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2016, S. 60-62.
Graf, Lukas (2016) Betrieblich-hochschulbasierte Ausbildungsformen in Deutschland und den USA: Eine (Re)Konzeptualisierung. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 62 (3). 323-339. ISSN 0044-3247
Graf, Lukas: Book review of Leemann, Regula J., Christian Imdorf, Justin J. W. Powell & Michael Sertl (Eds.)"Die Organisation von Bildung: Soziologische Analysen zu Schule, Berufsbildung, Hochschule und Weiterbildung". In: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 42 (2016), 3, S. 605-607.
Bills, David B.; Graf, Lukas & Protsch, Paula: Vocationalism. In Furlong, Andy (ed.): Routledge Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood. New York : Routledge, 2017, S. 113-120.
Graf, Lukas; Powell, Justin J.W.; Fortwengel, Johann & Bernhard, Nadine (2017) Integrating International Student Mobility in Work-Based Higher Education: The Case of Germany. Journal of Studies in International Education, 21 (2). 156-169. ISSN 1028-3153
Graf, Lukas: Expanding Work-Based Higher Education: Policy Lessons from Germany and the U.S. In: HSG Focus - Das Magazin der Universität St. Gallen 3/2016 (2016),
Graf, Lukas (2018) Combined modes of gradual change: the case of academic upgrading and declining collectivism in German skill formation. Socio-Economic Review, 16 (1). 185-205. ISSN 1475-1461
Graf, Lukas (2017) Work-based higher education programmes in Germany and the US: Comparing multi-actor corporatist governance in higher education. Policy and Society, 36 (1). 89-108. ISSN 1449-4035
Graf, Lukas & Powell, Justin J.W. (2017) How Employer Interests and Investments Shape Advanced Skill Formation. PS: Political Science & Politics, 50 (2). 418-422. ISSN 1049-0965
Graf, Lukas: Cross-Border Economic Cooperation and Skill Formation in the Trinational Upper Rhine Region: Where Germany, France and Switzerland Meet. 2017. - 29th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. - Lyon, France.
Graf, Lukas: Economic Cooperation at the Crossroads of France, Germany, and Italy: Collective Skill Formation in Switzerland. 2017. - 24th International Conference of Europeanists (CES). - Glasgow, UK.
Di Maio, Gina; Graf, Lukas & Wilson, Anna: Between Economic Cooperation and Social Policy: Short-track Dual Training in Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. 2017. - Governance von Bildung. - Basel.
Di Maio, Gina; Graf, Lukas & Wilson, Anna: Between Economic Efficiency and Social Equality: Short-track Apprenticeships in Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. 2018. - 25th International Conference of Europeanists. - Chicago, Illinois USA.
Seitzl, Lina & Emmenegger, Patrick (2019) How Agents Change Institutions: Coalitional Dynamics and the Reform of Commercial Training in Switzerland. Business and politics : B&P, 21 (2). 145-171. ISSN 1369-5258
Seitzl, Lina: Cooperation without partners: ICT training in collective skill formation systems. 2019. - 6th Congress on Research in Vocational Education and Training. - SFIVET Zollikofen.
Seitzl, Lina: How corporatist economies innovate: ICT training in collective skill formation systems. 2019. - 26th International Conference of Europeanists. - Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
Keywords vocational and professional education and training, governance, dual education systems, political economy, employers, interest groups
Methods Data collection, qualitative and quantitative data analysis including survey data, interview data, archival research
Funders External Financing
Partners Universität Lausanne, Universität zu Köln, Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Berufsbildung
Principal Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation
Id 242141
Project Range HSG Internal
Project Status ongoing
Subjects political science
Topics vocational and professional education and training, governance, dual education systems, political economy, employers, interest groups
Project Type fundamental research project
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