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Announcement of the Conference Volume of the 2nd International G.R.E.A.T.-Conference "Youth in Transition: Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Times of Economic Crisis"

The conference volume includes about 25 selected paper of the G.R.E.A.T.-Conference, hold at the University of Cologne in September 2014.

The book 'Vocational Education and Training in Times of Economic Crisis' appeared in the well-respected series “Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects”,edited by Rupert MacLean (Springer Publishing House): http://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319478548

Pilz, Matthias [Hrsg.] (2017), Vocational Education and Training in Times of Economic Crisis: Lessons from Around the World, Cham, Springer International

Book Reviews:

Erika E. Gericke (2017), Rezension von: Pilz, Matthias: Vocational Education and Training in Times of Economic Crisis, Lessons from Around the World. Wiesbaden, Springer VS 2017.  EWR 16: 4  (Veröffentlicht am 02.08.2017), URL: http://www.klinkhardt.de/ewr/978331947854.html

Jim Gallacher (2018) Vocational education in times of Crisis: lessons from around the world, Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 70:1, 167-169.




2nd International Conference of the German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.)

22 - 24 September 2014, University of Cologne, Germany




Review of the 2nd International Conference of the German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.)

22nd – 24th September 2014, University of Cologne

After the big success in 2010, the German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.), at the Chair of Economics and Business Education at the University of Cologne (Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz), has held the 2nd International conference. The conference under the main topic “Youth in Transition: Vocational Education and Training in Times of Economic Crisis” has taken place at the University of Cologne from September 22nd to 24th. Main objective of the conference was the exchange of experiences and knowledge between leading academics and experts in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET). The experts were from various countries all over the world, e.g. Australia, South Africa, and the United States, from China, India as well as many other Asian nations and numerous European countries.
The three-day event welcomed 135 conference participants, which have discussed international questions, problems, and perspectives on various VET-issues, such as policy and comparative research, transitions, pre-vocational education, initial and further training, quality assurance in VET and much more.

The first day started with a welcome statement of Prof. Dr. Werner Mellis, the Dean of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. Prof. Dr. Shyamal Majumdar, Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC Bonn, delivered an opening speech by introducing UNESCO’s and UNESCO-UNEVOC’s work in the field of TVET. After the keynote speeches of Prof. Dr. Lorna Unwin (University of London) with the title “From Craftsmanship to 3-D Printing: Is Vocational Education and Training Research Keeping Pace with Change?” and Prof. Dr. Robert Lerman (American University, Washington DC) with regard to the question “How and Why Do Firms Participate in Vocational Education?”, there has been a clustered session with 3 presentations in the afternoon.

Later, most of the participants joint the evening programme, by visiting a brewery with typical cologne dishes and Kölsch-beer.

The second day offered, besides the keynote speech of Prof. Dr. Paul Ryan (King's College, Cambridge University) on “Economic Aspects of Apprenticeship”, 3 parallel sessions with 8 presentations and 4 working groups with 16 presentations. During the thematic sessions and working groups, the audience has had the chance to discuss with the guest speakers as well as with other international experts. The working groups had different country-specific thematic priorities, inter alia, India and China. The Indian working group for example, was focused on skill development as well as on challenges and opportunities in the informal VET-sector, which is also part of the scientific work of the Center for Modern Indian Studies, based at University of Cologne.
At the end of the day, all moderators of the respective working groups presented their conclusion and gave so the audience the chance, to comprehend all contents of the different working groups from different countries.

After a fruitful day of discussions and insights into different VET-systems, all participants were invited to join the wine reception and to taste a choice of German wines.

Most of the guests have joint the conference dinner at the restaurant “Heising & Adelmann“- a perfect end of a successful second conference-day.

The third and last day of the G.R.E.A.T.-conference began with the keynote speeches of Prof. Dr. Tara S. Nayana (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore) on “Initiatives in Skill Upgradation: The Case of Centres of Excellence (COE) in Industrial Training Institutes”. Afterwards the discussions were resumed in three parallel thematic sessions with 8 presentations.

Prof. Dr. Philipp Gonon (University of Zurich) delivered in his keynote speech on the one hand insights into the topic “Transition Regimes and Vocational Education: A Comparative View”. On the other hand, Prof. Gonon met the challenge to end in his speech with a conclusion of all the discussions that took place during the G.R.E.A.T.-conference.

The head of the conference, Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz, completed the event with a structured summary of the contributions. He worked out that each country was touched by the economic crises in a different way, but that the crisis during the last few years has effected especially the young generation. In many countries the youth unemployment rate is still very high and the job perspectives for young people are often limited. With regard to the discussions that took place during the conference, Prof. Pilz concluded, that VET alone cannot solve these problems, but, for example, it is able to support a smooth transition from school to work. Prof. Pilz summarised: If the quality of VET is on a high level and the status and job expectations are good, VET can help to fill skill the gaps, especially on the intermediate skill level. Furthermore, VET can also become a realistic alternative in comparison to the University-track for youngsters in many countries.

More information on the 2nd International G.R.E.A.T.-conference can be found here. For further information about the activities of G.R.E.A.T., please visit our website: www.great.uni-koeln.de.


Latest publication: Review of the 2nd international conference of the German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (GREAT) in the journal "Die Kaufmännische Schule" (Vol 59, Issue 7, p.5.):
"Die Herausforderungen in der berufliche Bildung zu Zeiten der Weltwirtschaftskrise: Ein Rückblick zur internationalen Konferenz des German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.)." (German Paper)