Vocations and Learning

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 227–244 | Cite as

Competence-Based Vocational Education and Training (VET): the Cases of England and France in a European Perspective

  • Michaela Brockmann
  • Linda Clarke
  • Philippe Méhaut
  • Christopher Winch
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper examines the notion of ‘competence’ in the VET systems of France and England. While both countries have developed ‘competence-based’ approaches, underlying the similar terminology are distinct meanings, rooted in the countries’ institutional structures and labour processes. A key distinction is identified between a knowledge-based model in France and a skills-based model in England. Competence in the French sense is multi-dimensional and relies on the integration of practical and theoretical knowledge, as well as personal and social qualities within a broadly defined occupational field. By contrast, in England, competence refers to the performance of fragmented and narrowly defined tasks, with minimal underpinning knowledge. Thus, whereas ‘competence’ in the English VET system usually denotes functional employability for what may be relatively low-skilled employment, in France, it encapsulates the multi-dimensional development of the individual as a citizen as well as an employee.

Keywords

Vocational education and training Competence-based VET Vocational qualifications Experiential learning 

References

  1. Amadieu, J. F., & Cadin, L. (1996). Compétence et Organisation Qualificante. Paris: Economica.Google Scholar
  2. Barbier, J. M. (1996). Savoirs théoriques et savoirs d’action, Paris, PUF, collection “pédagogie d’aujourd’hui”.Google Scholar
  3. Bessy, C. (2000). La certification des compétences en Grande Bretagne, les risques d’exclusion induits par la valorisation d’aptitudes générales. Formation Emploi, n° 71, p 21–35.Google Scholar
  4. Besuco-Bertin, N., Klarsfeld, A., Quintero, N., Kogut-Kubiac, F. (1998). L’institution d’une logique compétences dans l’industrie pharmaceutique: un enjeu de redéfinition du lien branche-entreprise. Cereq, Document, no. 140.Google Scholar
  5. Biemans, H., et al. (2004). Competence-based VET in the Netherlands: background and pitfalls. Journal of Education and Training, 56(4), 523–536. doi:10.1080/13636820400200268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boreham, N. (2002). Work process knowledge, curriculum control and the work-based route to vocational qualifications. British Journal of Educational Studies, 50(2), 225–237. doi:10.1111/1467-8527.00199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouix, B. (1997). Le système de négociation et de construction des diplômes technologiques et professionnelles en France. In M. Möbus, & E. Verdier (Eds.), Les diplômes professionnels en Allemagne et en France, conception et jeux d’. Paris: L’harmattan.Google Scholar
  8. Bouteiller, D., & Gilbert, P. (2005). Reflexions croisées sur la gestion des competences en France et en Amerique du Nord/Intersecting reflections on competency management in France and in North America, Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, January.Google Scholar
  9. Brockmann, M. (2007). Qualifications, learning outcomes and competencies: a review of European divergences in vocational education and training (VET). Literature Review. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/01/57/15/literaturereview.pdf.
  10. Brockmann, M., Clarke, L., & Winch, C. (2008a). Knowledge, skills, competence: European divergences in vocational education and training (VET)—the English, German and Dutch cases. Oxford Review of Education, 34(5).Google Scholar
  11. Brockmann, M., Clarke, L., & Winch, C. (2008b). European systems of vocational education and training (VET): convergence or divergence? The cases of England, France, the Netherlands and Germany. Paper presented to the Industrial Relations in Europe conference, University of Greenwich, June.Google Scholar
  12. Brucy, G. (2006). La certification, quelques points d’histoire In Maillard F (Sld) (2006) Les diplômes de l’éducation nationale dans l’univers des certifications professionnelles, nouvelles normes et nouveaux enjeux, CPC Documents n°2006/3, Ministère de l’éducation/Céreq, 25–46Google Scholar
  13. Campinos-Dubernet, M. (1995). Baccalauréat professionnel: une innovation ? Formation Emploi, n°49, Mars, La documentation française, 3–30.Google Scholar
  14. Cedefop (2000). Vocational education and training in France. Thessaloniki: Cedefop.Google Scholar
  15. Clarke, L. (1999). The changing structure and significance of apprenticeship with special reference to construction. In P. Ainly, & H. Rainbird (eds.), Apprenticeship: Towards a new paradigm of learning. Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  16. Clarke, L. (2007). The emergence and reinforcement of class and gender divisions through vocational education in England. In L. Clarke, & C. Winch (Eds.), Vocational education: International approaches, developments and systems. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Clarke, L., & Herrmann, G. (2007). Divergent divisions of labour. In A. Dainty (Ed.), People and culture in construction. Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  18. Clarke, L., & Winch, C. (2004). Apprenticeship and applied theoretical knowledge. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(5), 509–521. doi:10.1111/j.1469-5812.2004.087_1.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clarke, L., & Winch, C. (2006). A European skills framework?—but what are skills? Anglo-Saxon versus German concepts. Journal of Education and Work, 19(3), 255–269. doi:10.1080/13639080600776870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Deauville (1998). Actes des Journées sur la Compétence. Paris: Medef.Google Scholar
  21. Delamare le Deist, F., & Winterton, J. (2005). What is competence? Human Resource Development International, 8(1), 27–46. doi:10.1080/1367886042000338227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. DfES (2001). Meeting the sector skills and productivity challenge. DfES.Google Scholar
  23. DfES (2007). Raising Expectations: staying in education and training post-16. Norwich: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  24. Eraut, M. (1994). Developing professional knowledge and competence. London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  25. Ertl, H. (2000). Modularisation of Vocational Education in Europe. Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  26. Farvaque, N. (2002). The French ‘Rights and Responsibility’ system for young people in a european perspective: The balance between national coherence and European employment strategy. Reforming Social Protection Systems in Europe. Oslo: unpublished.Google Scholar
  27. Fuller, A., & Unwin, L. (2003). Creating a ‘Modern Apprenticeship’: a critique of the UK’s multi-sector, social inclusion approach. Journal of Education and Work, 16(4). doi:10.1080/1363908032000093012.
  28. Green, A. (1998). Core skills, key skills and general culture: in search of the common foundation in vocational education. Evaluation and Research in Education, 12(1), 23–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grugulis, I., et al. (2004). What’s happening to ‘skill’? In C. Warhurst, et al. (Ed.), The skills that matter (pp. 1–18). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Hanke, B., & Soskice, D. (1997). De la construction des normes industrielles à l’organisation de la formation professionnelle une approche comparative. In M. Möbus, & E. Verdier (Eds.), Les diplômes professionnels en Allemagne et en France, conception et jeux d’acteurs. Paris: L’harmattan.Google Scholar
  31. Hayward, G., et al. (2006). The Nuffield review of 14–19 education & training-annual report 2005–6. Oxford: University of Oxford, Dep of Educational Studies.Google Scholar
  32. Hoff, F. (2004). From business to game. In R. Mulder, & P. Sloane (Eds.), New approaches to vocational education in Europe. Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  33. House of Lords (2007). Apprenticeship: a key route to skill. 5th Report of Session 2006–07. Select committee on economic affairs. London: The Stationery Office Limited.Google Scholar
  34. Jessup, G. (1990). Outcomes. Brighton: Falmer.Google Scholar
  35. Keep, E. (2002). The changing meaning of skill and the shifting balance of responsibility for vocational education and training—are employers calling the shots? Paper presented at the Conference on Training, Employability and Employment, Monash University Centre: London.Google Scholar
  36. Keep, E. (2007). The multiple paradoxes of state power in the English education and training system. In L. Clarke, & C. Winch (Eds.), Vocational education: international approaches, developments and systems. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Kerschensteiner, G. (1968). Produktive Arbeit und ihr Erziehungswert (1901). Ausgewählte Pädagogische Texte, Band 2. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh.Google Scholar
  38. Labruyère, C., & Teissier, J. (2006). La place de la certification dans la construction et la reconnaissance zdes qualifications par les partenaires sociaux. In Maillard F (Sld) Les diplômes de l’éducation nationale dans l’univers des certifications professionnelles, nouvelles normes et nouveaux enjeux, CPC Documents n°2006/3, Ministère de l’éducation/Céreq, 311–329.Google Scholar
  39. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Lecourt, A. J., & Méhaut, P. (2007). La validation des acquis de l’expérience: entre poursuite et inflexion du modèle français du diplôme. La revue de l’IRES, 55, 17–41.Google Scholar
  41. Lisbon European Council (2000). Presidency Conclusions, 23 and 24 March 2000, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/00100-r1.en0.htm
  42. Maillard, F. (2003). Les référentiels des diplômes professionnels confrontés à leur critique: une mise en valeur de leurs enjeux sociaux. Revue Française de Pédagogie, 145, 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Maillard, F. (2005). Pour un regard sociologique sur la formation et les diplômes professionnels, Habilitation à diriger des recherches, Université de Picardie.Google Scholar
  44. Méhaut, P. (1997). Le diplôme, une norme multivalente? In M. Möbus, & E. Verdier (Eds.), Les diplômes professionnels en France et en Allemagne, conceptions et jeux d’acteurs (pp. 263–273). Paris: L’harmattan.Google Scholar
  45. Méhaut, P. (2004). Competencies based management: what consequences for the labour markets? Economia & Lavoro, XXXVIII(1), 165–180.Google Scholar
  46. Méhaut, P. (2007). Quick Scan Paper-VET in France. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/01/57/15/FranceQuickScanNov071.pdf
  47. Merri, M. (coord), (2007) Activité humaine et conceptualisation: questions à Gerard Vergnaud, Toulouse, Presses universitaires du Mirail, Collection “Questions d’éducation”.Google Scholar
  48. Möbus, M., & Verdier, E. (1997). Les diplômes professionnels en Allemagne et en France, conception et jeux d’acteurs, L’harmattan, Paris.Google Scholar
  49. Monaco, A. (1993). L’alternance école production.Entreprises et formation des jeunes depuis 1959, Paris, PUF, collection “L’éducateur”.Google Scholar
  50. Mulder, M., Weigel, T., & Collins, K. (2007). The concept of competence in the development of vocational education and training in selected EU member states: a critical analysis. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59(1), 67–88. doi:10.1080/13636820601145630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nuffield Review (2008). Apprenticeship II: A high-quality pathway for young people? Nuffield Review of 14–19 Education and Training, England and Wales.Google Scholar
  52. Oakeshott, M. (1962). Rationalism in politics. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  53. Pailhous, J., & Vergnaud, G. (1989). Adultes en Reconversion, Insuffisance de la Formation ou Difficultés d’Apprentissage?. Paris: La Documentation Française.Google Scholar
  54. Pouget, M., & Osborne, M. (2004). Accreditation or validation of prior experiential learning: knowledge and savoirs in France-a different perspective? Studies in Continuing Education, 26(1), 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pring, R. (2007). 14–19 and lifelong learning. In L. Clarke, & C. Winch (Eds.), Vocational Education: international approaches, developments and systems. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Rabardel, P., & Duvenci-Langa, S. (2002). Technological change and the construction of competence. In N. Boreham, et al. (Ed.), Work process knowledge pp. 55–73. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  57. Roe, P., Wiseman, J., & Costello, M. (2006). Perceptions and use of NVQs: a survey of employers in England, BMG Research, Dfes.Google Scholar
  58. Rose, J. (2006). Diplômes et certifications, les termes du débat, les lignes d’un programme de recherche. In Maillard F (Sld) Les diplômes de l’éducation nationale dans l’univers des certifications professionnelles, nouvelles normes et nouveaux enjeux, CPC Documents n°2006/3, Ministère de l’éducation/Céreq, 91–120.Google Scholar
  59. Ryan, P., Gospel, H., & Lewis, P. (2006). Educational and contractual attributes of the apprenticeship programmes of large employers in Britain. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58(3), 359–383. doi:10.1080/13636820600955807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ryle, G. (1949). The concept of mind. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  61. Schwartz, B. (1981). L’insertion sociale et professionnelle des jeunes: Rapport au Premier Ministre. Paris: La Documentation Française.Google Scholar
  62. Smith, A. (1976). An enquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  63. Stanton, G. (2007). The governance and organisation of 14–19 learning. Open lecture. London region post-14 network. London: Institute of Education 13.3.07.Google Scholar
  64. Steedman, H. (1992). Mathematics in vocational youth training for the building trades in Britain, France and Germany, NIESR discussion paper No. 9, London.Google Scholar
  65. Steedman, H. (1998). A decade of skill formation in Britain and Germany. Journal of Education and Work, 11(1). doi:10.1080/1363908980110105.
  66. Treasury, H. M. (2006). The Leitch review of skills: Prosperity for all in the global economy-world class skills. Final Report. Norwich: HMSO.Google Scholar
  67. Troger, V. (2004). Vocational training in French schools: The state/employer alliance. European Journal of Vocational Training, 31, 10–14.Google Scholar
  68. Veneau, P., Charaud, A.-M., & Personnaz, E. (1999). Les certificats de qualification professionnelle concurrencent-ils les diplômes? Formation Emploi, 65, 5–12.Google Scholar
  69. Winch, C., & Hyland, T. (2007). If you can understand it, you deserve an NVQ level 5—The structure and funding of vocational education in England. Guide to vocational education and training (essential FE toolkit). London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  70. Winterton, J., et al. (2005). Typology of knowledge, skills and competences: clarification of the concept and prototype. Thessaloniki: Cedefop.Google Scholar
  71. Zarifian, P. (1988). L’émergence du modèle de la compétence. In F. Stankiewicsz (Ed.), Les stratégies d’entreprises face aux ressources humaines. Paris: Economica.Google Scholar
  72. Zarifian, P. (1991). La nouvelle productivité. Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaela Brockmann
    • 1
  • Linda Clarke
    • 1
  • Philippe Méhaut
    • 2
  • Christopher Winch
    • 3
  1. 1.University of WestminsterLondonUK
  2. 2.LEST-UMR6123Aix en ProvenceFrance
  3. 3.King’s CollegeLondonUK

Personalised recommendations