Author(s):Andreas Saniter (presenting), Vidmantas Tütlys (presenting)

Conference:ECER 2016, Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers

Network:02. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)


Session Information

02 SES 04 B, VET: The Challenge of Diverse Communities

Paper Session


Room:Vet-Theatre 115

Chair:Johanna Lahja Lasonen


Can Apprenticeship Be An Effective Propaedeutic Measure For Vocational Integration Of Refugees And Non-conventional Economic Migrants From Third Countries?

Vocational and social integration of war refugees and non-conventional economic migrants from third countries becomes an increasingly important question for the EU countries (EU 2015). In the same time it must be recognised, that initial VET systems of EU countries encounter different challenges and problems in providing these target groups with access to VET, skills development and qualifications. Mechanisms that increase accessibility and attractiveness of initial VET to the citizens of the EU countries (such as funding and financial support to learners, vocational guidance etc.) in many cases are not suitable or sufficient in providing access to VET for refugees and non-conventional migrants due to the different legal, economic, cultural and communication obstacles. Apprenticeship is one of the pathways of VET that has a high propaedeutic potential to attract and involve in vocational education different socially disadvantaged and even isolated groups. Modern pathways of apprenticeship in the initial VET systems are not limited to only implicit and informal learning without pedagogy, but pay a lot of attention to the acquisition of vocational and general knowledge (Guile and Young 1998). Besides, apprenticeship enhances and facilitates social and transformative learning and on the collective organisation of the „zones of proximal development“ (Vygotsky 1978). Therefore apprenticeship training should be oriented to the preparation of the skilled members of “communities of practice” (Wenger 1998) thus executing strong function of acculturation.   

These issues were analysed in the EU LLP Transfer of Innovations project APPRENTSOD (APPRENTSOD 2015). There were developed propaedeutic modules of apprenticeship based on the work process analysis and adapted to the needs and possibilities of school dropouts and NEET‘s. These apprenticeship modules are targeted to provide some core occupational skills and competencies and in the same time to enhance and motivate learners for further learning and skills development. Work process oriented training enables and enhances effective vocational integration by providing holistic competences permitting to master the dynamically changing work processes (Hupfer, Spöttl, 2014; Spöttl G., Ruth K. 2011). The goal of this research is to disclose and discuss the propaedeutic potential of work process based apprenticeship training to include and involve refugees and non-conventional economic migrants from the third countries in the vocational education and labour market of EU member states. The paper will analyse the institutional and methodological challenges of their involvement in the initial VET in Germany and in Lithuania and will discuss the potential of work-process based apprenticeship measures to respond to these challenges. 


Analysis of the institutional and methodological challenges of the involvement of refugees and non-conventional economic migrants in the initial VET in Germany and in Lithuania will be executed by reviewing existing scientific literature, analysing existing legal and strategically documents, analysing available statistical data. The potential of work-process based apprenticeship measures to respond to these challenges will be evaluated by analysing existing cases of such measures in the federal German state Bremen and interviewing related experts. The main research questions are:
1) What factors (methodological, institutional, etc.) define the suitability and effectiveness of work process-based apprenticeship for vocational and labour market integration of refugees and non-conventional economic migrants?
2) What amendments and adjustments are needed to increase effectiveness of such apprenticeship measures in facilitating vocational and labour market integration of refugees and non-conventional economic migrants?

Expected Outcomes

We have chosen to refer to Germany and Lithuania due to the fact that on the one hand Germany has a lot of experience (both: successful and dysfunctional) with measures of integrating youth from third countries and on the other hand Lithuania is traditionally an emigrant country; having only low experience and bearing consequently many uncertainties on the challenge of integrating refugees and non-conventional economic migrants from third countries.
We expect that apprenticeship-based measures offer a low-threshold vocational and social integration for refugees – as for other socially disadvantaged youth also (cp. Apprentsod 2015). But accompanying measures by social pedagogues must be adjusted to the special needs of this group, not only related to language improvement but potentially also to trauma coping or (company) culture. As many refugees have strong financial commitments to their families or obligations caused by their escape special attendance will be set on approaches that support their proceeding into the VET-system after a propedeutic measure; trying to avoid their entrance in the labour market as unskilled or low-skilled workers without mid-term perspective.


Apprentsod 2015: (visited: 15.01.2016)
EU 2015: (visited: 15.01.2016)
Guile D. & Young M. (1998). Apprenticeship as a conceptual basis for a social theory of learning. Journal of Vocational Education & Training 50(2), 173-193. DOI: 10.1080/13636829800200044.
Hupfer B. & Spöttl G. (2014) Qualifications Frameworks and the Underlying Concepts of Education and Work – Limits and Perspectives. ITB-Forschungsbericht 55. Institut Technik und Bildung (ITB). Universität Bremen.
Spöttl G. & Ruth K. (2011). ECVET- Kompatibilität von Kompetenzen im Kfz-Sektor. ECVET – Compatibility of Comepetences in the Automotive Sector. Bonn: Nationale Agentur Bildung für Europa.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978, reprint). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wenger, E. (1998): Communiti es of practice - Learning, Meaning, Identity. Cambridge: University Press.

Author Information

Andreas Saniter (presenting)
Universitaet Bremen
Vidmantas Tütlys (presenting)
Centre for Vocational Education and Research at Vytautas Magnus University, (Lithuania)