Background: In Sweden, students who enter vocational education and training (VET) in upper secondary school can choose between 12 different programmes. Some require post-secondary apprenticeship, e.g. those who are to become construction workers and some do not, e.g. those who are to become business and administration workers. Research that handles post-secondary apprenticeship can be seen as sparse. To address vocational learning in post-secondary apprenticeship, this explorative study focus on apprentices in the construction industry. The aim is to, in an explorative study, identify how vocational learning is afforded during post-secondary apprenticeships.
Methods: This study was undertaken as a case study approach to a follow-up study of a former class of construction students that participated in project-based vocational education (author, 2014). In total, 11 semi-structured interviews that lasted between 35-55 minutes and a survey that related to 64 stated learning goals were conducted.
Result: The findings show that the development of vocational learning is closely linked to performing tasks that challenge the apprentices to think and solve problems. This approach to the performance of tasks enhances productive learning where the payroll system appears to be the trigger that affords the scope of action. Further, this study shows that, despite differences in the activities that can be performed in different workplaces, the learning outcome is dependent on personal goals as well as indirect and direct guidance.
Conclusion: Although stated learning goals are highly valued by the apprentices, they have problems relating to them. Instead, interaction and guidance from more experienced co-workers lead to the development of a learning outcome. As described herein, a vocational learning outcome by post-secondary apprenticeship is complex, and can be understood as being related to individual goals and workplace activities that interact and constitute vocational learning. Thus, this explorative study has identified four main standpoints that afford vocational learning in post-secondary apprenticeship: (a) the importance of guidance in the workplace, b) the possibility of performing complex tasks, c) the encouragement to develop new methods, and d) the possibility of being a part of the building process.
2017. Vol. 9, no 5, 1-15 p.
vocational education and training (VET), construction worker, guidance, woodworker, Sweden