“Comparative vocational education and training research – results and perspectives from theory and empirical evidence”

Launch of a newly published collected volume


The International Handbook of Vocational Education and Training (IHBB) has celebrated its 25th anniversary. The editors marked the occasion by presenting a new collected volume to around 50 invited guests and also took the opportunity to look back at the history of this series of BIBB publications.

“Comparative vocational education and training research – results and perspectives from theory and empirical evidence”
f.l.t.r.: Dr. Philipp Grollmann (BIBB), Prof. Dr. Winch (King’s College), Prof. Dr Georg Spöttl, Dr. Lauterbach (both publishers IHBB), Sandra Mundt (BIBB, editorial team IHBB)

BIBB’s Director of Research Professor Hubert Ertl, Professor Dietmar Frommberger (Universität Osnabrück) and Dr. Philipp Grollmann (BIBB) all had links with the International Handbook of Vocational Education and Training (IHBB) whilst they were still students, and indeed the latter two now act as managing editors.

The IHBB, a BIBB series of publications which first appeared in 1995 under the editorship of Dr. Uwe Lauterbach and Professor Wolfgang Mitter (both of whom were formerly on the staff of the German Institute for International Pedagogical Research, DIPF), is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

To mark the occasion, a collected volume entitled “Comparative vocational education and training research – results and perspectives from theory and empirical evidence” has become the latest publication in the series and was showcased to some 50 guests during a “book launch” staged in hybrid form. Founding editor Dr. Uwe Lauterbach traced the history of the IHBB. The DIPF produced 20 country studies as part of a BMBF project, and this work went on to lay the foundations for the IHBB. The studies were based on reports from participants involved in international expert networking in VET and were originally commissioned by the BMBF via the Carl Duisberg Society. The information they contained was supplemented by general and historical data. The material was then validated and collated to create country studies.

IHBB has operated under different auspices over the course of time. Editorship switched from the DIPF to BIBB and the University of Osnabrück (2010). It later ceased to be a loose-leaf compilation and became a series of monographs (2018). Paid subscriptions subsequently gave way to the possibility of free downloads (2018), and the publication was also made available in the VET Repository (2020). There are now studies on more than 50 countries. The presentation focused on the history of the IHBB, which is also the subject of two specialist articles included in the collected volume, and on the contents of this anniversary edition. Professor Christopher Winch from King’s College London provided a “taster” by talking about his article, which is entitled “Transversal and transferable abilities. Understanding Worker Agency in Contemporary Advanced Economies”. He addressed the differences in the scope for action afforded to British and German skilled workers and highlighted the fact that these are also reflected at a language level. This means that there are consequences for the objectives, structuring and acceptance of vocational education and training in the two countries.

During the concluding round of questions and discussion, participants also showed interest in the future prospects of the IHBB. Several further developments are being planned. These include better coverage of the regions of Africa and Asia, an increasing number of English language translations of the country studies and more tandems with authors from the countries forming the respective object of consideration.