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Past event

Knowledge and expertise in technical and vocational education

This event has now been postponed. To be kept updated on when this will be reschedule for, please email

The knowledge that students engage with in vocational courses and settings is among the most central issues facing educational research. What counts as valid or appropriate knowledge and expertise is not only a question for education in colleges and workplaces but for the whole range of educational settings, as these are increasingly shaped by economic perspectives. Debates include whether and to what extent education should prepare young people for employment or for citizenship; how it attends to the needs of those whom school education has prepared insufficiently for either, or whether vocational settings aim for ‘parity of esteem’ with general education; whether it provides new opportunities for situated or practical learning, or denies young people and adults access to powerful knowledge.

The range of answers to these questions reflects competing and contested aspirations for this field. Educational research has provided important conceptual tools and empirical evidence to inform these debates. In this session some of the leading thinkers in this field draw on important theorisation of vocational knowledge and on their own empirical studies to address key questions facing post-16 and lifelong education, and the wider setting for which they have significance.

The unusual forms of vocational education in Britain have led many researchers to examine international policies and practices that have informed more successful systems. Yet interest in competency and performative frameworks developed in Britain has now spread further afield. This event draws on international experiences and perspectives to explore the place of knowledge and expertise across national jurisdictions.


10.30 Registration, followed by tea and coffee
11.00 Chair’s welcome and opening remarks
11.10 Christopher Winch, King’s College London
11.40 Joerg Markowitsch, 3S
12.10 Questions and discussion
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Gerard Lum, King’s College London
14.00 Jim Hordern, University of Bath
14.30 Questions and discussion
14.55 Completion of evaluation form
15.00 Close of event