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24 May 2023

Event highlights: Launch of NSI 08 The Education-Training-Work Continuums: Pathways to Socio-Professional Inclusion for Youth and Adults

Wednesday 21 June 2023

13:30 – 15:00 CEST


In collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the NORRAG Special Issue 08 on the Education-Training-Work Continuums was launched on Wednesday, 21st June 2023 during an online event.

This NSI focuses on the discontinuities that currently exist between education, training and decent work, arguing that existing discontinuities between these three fields create and reinforce exclusions and inequalities for already marginalised groups. The authors argue that treating the three fields as a continuum would improve the inclusion of people who continue to be excluded from the “standard” journey between education, training and work. The Guest Editors, Michel Carton and Christine Hofmann, have compiled 28 contributions from 25 countries on 5 continents to address these questions.

At the start of the Launch event, Moira Faul, NORRAG’s Executive Director, welcomed everyone and opened with a presentation of NORRAG’s work on Education and the SDGs and of the NSI series. The NORRAG Special Issues aim to expand the debate and foster dialogue, bridge the gap between theory and practice, as well as stimulate new research, advocacy and policy innovation in international education development.

Sangheon Lee, Director of the Employment Policy Department at the ILO, followed with his welcoming remarks. He thanked the co-editors for the diverse list of authors giving a rich and complementary selection of contributions, as well as the wide range of the topics covered in this edition. He also highlighted the importance of the element of continuum in linking work, education and training.

Then, Christine Hofmann, from the Skills and Employability Department at the ILO and co-editor with Michel Carton, Senior Advisor at NORRAG, took the floor. She reminded the audience about the fluidity and non-linear aspect of the concept of continuums as well as the interconnections between the three spheres of education, work and training. She also went over the six parts of this issue, listing the different contributions and how they are interlinked.

The first author’s presentation related to the first part of the NIS 08, on the Education-Training-Work Continuums in Historical Perspective. Tengandé François Niada, Senior Advisor, Education, Vocational Education and Training with HELVETAS, shared his views on intergenerational models in the improvement of the relation between education, training and work. His contribution, based on field research in Mali, covered the existing knowledge transmission models in both traditional and modern societies. He also discussed the deconstruction or transformation of these models through digitalisation and how an intergenerational approach can benefit different parts of the population.

The second part of the issue focuses on the 1990s and looks at Solutions to Education Training and Work Discontinuities. For this part, Claudia Jacinto, Principal Investigator of the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas in Argentina, presented the results of a research vocational training in Argentina. She presented the evolution from remediation to complementarity with secondary education, with the aim to improve youth integration in the labour market. Claudia also highlighted some challenges to the developments of new interactions, for instance the devaluation of vocational training. Overall, thanks a new approach, connecting education to professional integration, she found that vocational training has more impact and relevance in the integration of youth in the labour market in Argentina.

The third presentation by Clément Kouadio Kouakou, an Associate Professor at Félix Houphouët Boigny University, related to the part of the issue on Youth (Un)employment, NEETs and the continuum. He started by presenting the context of the research conducted in Cote D’Ivoire, and then highlighted the link between NEET rates evolution and the Education-Training-Work continuum. For example, he showed the connection between dropout rates and NEET rates. He also presented some projects initiated by the government and the operational and funding challenges they faced for their implementation.

For the fourth part of the issue on Education-Training-Work continuums and Professional Experience, Deb Carr, Principal TVET Consultant and Skills Recognition Expert at Think About Learning, spoke on the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Australia. Her presentation focused on success factors, benefits and system enablers, in the context of Early Childhood Educators in the country. She highlighted for instance that RPL can improve formal education participation as well as increase confidence, motivation and productivity for the workers, as well as staff retention for employers.

The fifth part of the NSI08 on Education-Training-Work Continuums as a Transitional Way Out of Crisis was represented by Jamelia Harris, Research Fellow at the Institute of Employment Research (IER), University of Warwick. She laid out the connections between development initiatives and the Education-Training-Work Continuum in Sierra Leone, in the post-war context. She highlighted the direct impact of development initiatives, such as the intervention in higher education and in TVET programmes, and their unintended consequences on the integration into the labour market. She also mentioned the case of entrepreneurship, promoted by the development initiatives, with a “missing middle”.

Finally, for the sixth part of the NSI on Future-Oriented Perspective and Challenging Current Narratives, Gideon Arulmani, Director of the Promise Foundation, asked the question of the need for a great re-think of the Education-Training-Work continuum. Taking the approach of worker well-being, he focused first on the evolution of practice of occupation, from livelihood to careerist occupation, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes in work approach it triggered. He mentioned a widespread loss of equilibrium coming from deeper frustration with the careerist approach to occupation. These frustrations with different elements of the careerist approach, such as location or timing restrictions, have created a gap between livelihood and work. What Gideon suggests is a reframing of work environment focused on welfare, comfort and security.

The launch was concluded by Moira Faul, who thanked the participants for the questions shared during the event and encouraged the speakers to respond in the Q&A box due to limited time left. She also thanked the authors and editors for their work on this landmark publication that is now available for consultation in the resource library.

The Education-Training-Work Continuums: Pathways to Socio-Professional Inclusion for Youth and Adults
Edited by Michel Carton, Senior Advisor at NORRAG, Emeritus Professor, Development Studies, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland; and Christine Hofmann, Skills and Employability Specialist, Team Lead on Skills for Social Inclusion, Skills and Employability Branch, International Labour Organization, Switzerland

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