The purpose of this paper is to address a gap in the comparative research literature on vocational education and training (VET) and skill formation systems. It examines the impact of international technical standardisation and regulation on the design, organisation and delivery of apprenticeships in the aeronautical and aerospace sectors in England and Germany.
The research design was informed by insights from economics, workplace and work-based learning and comparative education. Academic experts in the fields of aerospace and aeronautical standardisation and regulation, VET, human resource development and business organisation were consulted. The generic occupation of “aircraft mechanic” was selected as being the closest match for comparison. Interviews and non-participant observation in workplaces and training centres were carried out involving three companies in England and four in Germany.
Findings show that there is considerable convergence across the pedagogical approaches to apprenticeships in England and Germany related to fostering the capacity to take responsibility for the quality of one’s work, to work in and lead teams, and to respond to and work with customers. Increasing international regulation and technical standardisation underpins a shared language about learning through practice in technologically advanced workplaces.
This paper is original because it turns the lens of inquiry to workplace processes to reveal the level of convergence in training philosophies and practices in an internationally highly regulated sector. It shows how international technical standardisation and regulation is leading to pedagogical innovation. The findings have implications for VET and apprenticeship policy at the national and international level.
Lahiff, A., Li, J., Unwin, L., Zenner-Höffkes, L. and Pilz, M. (2019), "Industrial standardisation as a driver for cross-national convergence in training processes: Aviation apprenticeships in England and Germany", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 43 No. 7/8, pp. 752-766. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-11-2018-0112
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