New VET theories for new times: the critical capabilities approach to vocational education and training and its potential for theorising a transformed and transformational VET

McGrath, Simon; Powell, Lesley; Alla-Mensah, Joyceline; Hilal, Randa and Suart, Rebecca (2022). New VET theories for new times: the critical capabilities approach to vocational education and training and its potential for theorising a transformed and transformational VET. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 74(4) pp. 575–596.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2020.1786440

Abstract

There is a growing sense that the orthodox set of theories and policies for VET don’t work. This is particularly true in the South where all such Northern theories and policies face the common problem of being constructed for other contexts and then imported. In the light of persistent poverty and inequality; widespread precarious and indecent work; continued concerns about educational access, retention and achievement; and a rising environmental crisis, VET must be transformed to address a new and challenging set of objectives. Here, we offer an exploration of a theoretical approach to VET research that has emerged in the past decade and which offers new insights into how VET can be transformed in order to contribute to the wider transformation agenda around sustainable human development. This is what we term the critical capabilities account of vocational education and training, CCA-VET. We will argue that it is one fertile route towards new thinking about transforming VET in order to support a transformation agenda.

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