The fragmentation of work environment training in Swedish vocational education and training

Year: 2019

Author: Bjorklund, Erika

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Research indicates that contemporary work environment training in Swedish vocational education and training (VET) is insufficient in terms of students’ learning. In 2011, the Swedish government implemented the current curriculum and syllabi, replacing the older one from 1994. One of the changes made was the restructuring of work environment training (WET) in VET. The reform was played out by breaking apart the former cohesive course of WET into different subjects and courses. An apparent risk with this new ‘integration’ of WET into different subjects and courses is that WET within a program may become fragmented and disorganized, not only in the policy documents but also in the daily education practice. Based on these notions, the paper will firstly develop an understanding of the thinking behind the current syllabus for WET, secondly exemplify the distribution of WET within various subjects and courses, and thirdly illustrate how the current syllabus may be played out in daily education practice. Based on these initial observations, the study will explore how notions of a ‘good work environment’ is framed and constructed within the newly re-organized context of WET. Accordingly, the study aims to explore how WET is made intelligible within the new curriculum and syllabi for VET in upper secondary school and how notions and expectations attached to a ‘good working environment’ is part of this discourse. The empirical material is the 2011 curriculum and syllabi for the upper secondary school Electricity and energy program. By systematically reviewing and analyzing the various course syllabi, the study will contribute with a comprehensive view of the current syllabus for WET and additionally and knowledge about what a ‘good work environment’ is conceived to be within these policy documents. This will provide a better understanding regarding what kind of knowledge of work environment that young people are expected to be equipped with before entering the labor market. Finally, consequences for students’ ability to learn effectively by distributing a specific content into different subjects will be discussed and elaborated on. Even thou the specific example here is WET, the results have a potential to be universal.