Abstracts of ECER 2015

1. Daniela Reimann, IBP/KIT (11.00- 11.20) Introduction and
The Concept Of Visual ‘Vocational Biography Design In The Framework Of Digital Media And German VET Research


In the presentation, the visual approach to ‘vocational biography design’ based on VET research, visual culture and media education are presented. The concept aims to drive interest of participants in pre-VET measures and projects through creative processes and arts-based learning. Experiences of projects with playful concepts linked to media practice in pre-VET and vocational orientation are discussed. Examples of research projects such as MediaArt@Edu (BMBF), BerufBV as well as BerufReal are presented.

2. Fernando Hernandez, Juana Maria Sancho, Rachel Fendler, University of Barcelona
Visual Biographical Narratives As Living Inquiring Process (11.40-12.00)

Abstract: We want here to explore the concept of living inquiry that could contribute to contextualise and understand the contributions made by the young people.

We have explored the notion of living inquiry as part of our position as researchers and educators (Fendler, 2013; Miño & Sancho; 2014). This notion comes from Merleau-Ponty (1962) who conceived research as an enactive space of living inquiry. In a/r/tography, per example, “living inquiry is an aesthetic encounter, where the process of meaning making and being are inextricably connected to an awareness and understanding of art” (Springgay,   Irwin, & Kind, 2005: 902). From this perspective, what the “Show your Own Gold” project  is offering to the youth is the opportunity of being engage in a living inquiry experience as “an embodied encounter constituted through visual and textual understandings and experiences rather than mere visual and textual representations” (idem: 902).

By taking a living inquiry position we are able to offer youth the possibility of visualizing their biographical experiences and reflecting on new personal and professional alternatives for their vocational trajectories. This means that the process promoting by this project  could promote “a disruption of established ways of knowing, through learning events” (Atkinson, 2012: 10).

3. Liliana Voicu,  SC AxA Consulting 99 SRL:
Targeting Youth Unemployment Through Financing Of Vocational Preparation – A Case Study From Romania


The papers draws on the conclusions of the desk study planned in the first stage of the project, describing contextual supports and challenges for our approach, relying in the situation of the vocational preparation organised and embedded in the VET and employment systems. It stresses on the importance of the financing aspects, because the way in which the vocational preparation measures are financed acts as a strong regulator of the system, stating abundance or scarce of training and career development opportunities, often shaping content and drivers and imposing selection and evaluation criteria. Romania’s case may be illustrative for how this leverage of the public policies targets correctly or not the ones that need mostly the public support: when the general unemployment rate is low (5,2) and the youth unemployment rate is huge (25,7), this leverage is not properly used.

4. Graham Attwell, Jenny Hughes, Pontydysgu (11.20-11.40)
New Skills And New Jobs: Developing Vocational Biographies In A Time Of Precariousness And Austerity


Following the economic recession and the imposition of austerity policies, school to work transitions have become increasingly problematic in many European countries. On some countries this has resulted in very high levels of youth unemployment, whilst for those in employment, jobs are increasingly perilous. At the same time, the rapid introduction of new technologies is having a major impact on labour markets, both in terms of numbers employed in particular occupations but also in terms of the composition of jobs in skills and knowledge.

The European Union has launched the Youth Guarantee, an ambitious EU-wide reform aiming to help all jobless people under 25 to find employment, although it remains unclear how this can be practically implemented.

The paper examines a number of ground up projects undertaken by Pontydysgu with UK and European funding and aiming both to improve careers guidance, improve the skills and recognition of skills for those in precarious employment and to explore new routes for transitions including entrepreneurial activities.

It is suggested that such bottom up and community based projects offer a new route to developing and sustaining vocational biographies for young people, and provide research and practice based evidence for implementing the Youth Guarantee.