Innovation in VET: The Starting Point


By ETF expert Julian Stanley.

Innovation – in industry and work, science and technology and society – presents both opportunities and challenges for policymakers and practitioners working in vocational education and training (VET).

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Economic Forum and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) have recently published reports or case studies on Education and Innovation.

Standard definitions of innovation (for example the OECD’s Oslo Manual) focus on the application of new technologies (or processes or methods) in a business environment. There are, however, many broader definitions that apply innovation in the context of public services, social goals, as well as business.

The ETF’s working definition

Innovation is…the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.  Accomplished through more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are readily available to markets, governments and society.

Different domains


The diagram shows how we can think about innovation at multiple levels: 1) the whole economy including the public sector 2) the VET system and 3) particular organisations.

The discussion about innovation is not only about how and whether it impacts at a given level, for example, how new technologies or processes may change how the workings of the VET system (the blue box).  We also have to consider how innovation may serve as a driver for wider innovation in the economy or, maybe, be a consequence of such innovation.

Further, each of us working in our own organisations, agencies and departments (the red box) must think about how to respond or shape innovation going on outside of our organisation.

Innovation and entrepreneurship in VET is a key theme of the Torino Process conference, June 7-8. Check out the programme here. And join the discussion on Twitter #ETFTRP! @etfeuropa @julianstanley10

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