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Vocational Education and Learners' Experienced Workplace Curriculum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
JournalVocations and Learning
Early online date8 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


There has been a growing emphasis on providing students in vocational education and training (VET) with workplace experiences. School-based VET and apprenticeship training have been parallel routes in the Finnish VET system, but relatively little is known of their characteristics regarding students’ experiences. This study addresses this research gap by investigating these two VET pathways and addressing the following research question: How do learners experience workplace learning on various learning pathways? This study further investigates three different vocational fields: social and health care, business and administration, and construction. The study was based on semi-structured individual interviews (N= 33): 18 of the participants were students in school-based VET, and 15 were apprentices. The interview data were analysed witht hematic analysis. The themes highlighted how the VET pathway builds a frame for participation that is then shaped by work practices and social practices and how, eventually, individuals alter boundaries to participation. The study implies that the two VET pathways, school-based VET and apprenticeship training, have significant differences. However, in the construction sector, differences between students’ experiences of workplace learning seem to be less visible. Based on learning experiences, it seems that apprenticeship training and school-based VET cannot be considered parallel or interchangeable routes. This should be acknowledged because the recent reform of vocational upper secondary education aims to advance a flexible combination of school- and work-based pathways, and it can also be considered when discussing the coherence of VET systems.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland

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