Access of the Initial VET and Apprenticeship to Socially Disadvantaged Youth in the Initial VET Systems of Lithuania, France, Italy
Access of the initial VET and apprenticeship to the socially disadvantaged youth is widely considered as one of the crucial factors contributing to the development of social cohesion and prevention of social polarization and poverty. This idea is reflected in the wide range of the EU policies and strategies, including Copenhagen process, New Skills for New Jobs, as well as in the national educational policies and strategies. Accesss of the initial VET and apprenticeship is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, consisting of the range of objective factors, such as existing institutional settings and legal regulation of the provision of VET and apprenticeship, funding mechanisms, matching of provided skills and competences to the labour market needs, provision of support to learners etc., as well as subjective factors, such as attractiveness of the initial VET and apprenticeship to the youth, individual learning and career pathways. Accessibility of the initial VET and apprenticeship is also structured by the different processes of provision of initial VET starting from the curriculum design (e.g., flexible competence-based modularisation leading to the acqusition of competencies versus strict subject-based curricula oriented to the acquisition of qualification), organisation of provision of training (e.g., different modes of organisation of apprenticeship and work-based learning), provision of support to learners, assessment of learning outcomes and competencies (Brockmann, Clarke, Winch 2010; Biemans et all. 2009). Despite of wide consensus of the importance to ensure and widen access of initial VET and apprenticeship to socially disadavantaged youth, there exists different institutional settings and methodological approaches in this field (Busemeyer, Trampush 2012; Saniter, Tūtlys 2012; Le Deist, Tūtlys 2012). The goal of this workshop is to compare the existing legal and institutional approaches and settings that influence access of initial VET and apprenticeship in Lithuania, France and Italy, as well as to analyse the concrete cases of approaches to increase the access of the initial VET and apprenticeship applied by the training providers in these countries. This comparison will disclose, to what extent and how the practices and approaches of accessibility of initial VET and apprenticeship to socially disadvantaged youth applied by the VET providers correlate and comply with the national strategies and policies in this field. The research consists of two main stages: 1) analysis and comparison of the existing legal and institutional regimes that define accessibility of the initial VET and apprenticeship to the socially disadvantaged youth in Lithuania, France and Italy (national and regional laws and legal regulations, activities of specialised institutions, special funding provisions etc.); 2) case studies of selected approaches applied by the VET and apprenticeship providers to include socially disadvantaged youth in the above metioned countries. There will be analysed the following cases of approaches and measures to increase access of initial VET and apprenticeship to the socially disadvantaged youth: 1) provision of the short-term apprenticeship courses for the unemployed youth in Lithuania organised by the employment training centres in cooperation with enterprises; 2) provision of the VET and apprenticeship to the socially disadvantaged youth in the Salesian VET centres in Italy; 3) accessibility of the apprenticeship training in the initial VET system of France by considering the sectoral perspective.
Analysis and comparison of the existing legal and institutional regimes that define accessibility of the initial VET and apprenticeship to the socially disadvantaged youth in Lithuania, France and Italy will be executed by reviewing existing scientific literature, analysing existing legal and strategical documents, analysing available statistical data on the accessibility of the initial VET and apprenticeship.
Case studies of the selected approaches applied by the VET and apprenticeship providers to include socially disadvantaged youth in Lithuania, France and Italy will be executed by analysing available research data of such cases, as well as by applying semi-structured interviews with the representatives of VET and apprenticeship providers, teachers and trainers and learners (apprentices). Case studies will be based on the following research questions: 1) What are the main problems and/or obstacles of access to initial VET and apprenticeship to socially disadvantaged youth targeted by the analysed measure or approach? 2) What are the main factors, that ensure (enhance) accessibility of initial VET and/or apprenticeship in the analysed case (e.g., specificities of curriculum design, adjusted organisation of training and learning activities, special pedagogical and social support to learners, etc.)? 3) How are the analysed mechanisms and approaches of accessibility of initial VET and /or apprenticeship adjusted to the local socio-economic and cultural conditions, as well as to the institutional specificities of the VET system?
The research will disclose to what extent and how the practices and approaches of the VET and apprenticeship providers to include socially disadvantaged youth fit to the existing legal and institutional regimes that define accessibility of the initial VET and apprenticeship to the socially disadvantaged youth in Lithuania, France and Italy. It will provide guidelines and recommendations on how to adjust the legal and institutional regimes of the VET systems in order to enhance and strengthen the development of effective measures and approaches of the VET and apprenticeship providers to include socially disadvantaged youth.
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