The DUVE suite of projects, one of the five legacy projects funded by the National Apprenticeship Service, shows significant investment and intention to use evidence-based research to further develop and ground high quality WorldSkills practice. It is the intention that the findings from these projects will have real, practical recommendations for WorldSkills UK practice and to potentially inform the VET system more broadly.
The current education system in the United Kingdom is struggling to meet the demands of the workforce and the needs of many young people. Often, the vocational education and training system’s shortcomings are highlighted. In particular, vocational or ‘practical’ education continues to be less valued in relation to academic learning. The Wolf Review underscored the already substantial evidence regarding the low quality of some vocational education courses, the emphasis on ‘tick box’ assessment, and the low return on investment for qualifications below level 3, to name a few problems. While there has been much examination of the problems with vocational education, fewer studies have focussed on understanding vocational excellence. Gaining such an understanding is the primary aim of the DuVe projects.
The starting point for the projects is the understanding that individuals develop vocational skill and knowledge in the milieu of a workplace, school and/or college through the direct and indirect guidance of more experienced others. It is the attributes, attitudes and values of individuals and their interactions with these environments that underpin the development of vocational excellence.
The Developing and Understanding Vocational Excellence (DuVE) projects address the following over-arching questions:
- What are the characteristics of individuals who excel?
- What kinds of support enable the development of high-level vocational skills?
- How can vocational education be structured to aim not just for minimum standards of achievement but for high achievement that reflects world class standards?
- Can broader societal benefits to developing vocational excellence be identified?