Research cluster: The Relation between Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education in Germany

Start of the project: 01-May-2016

The relation between Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education (HE) in Germany is changing. Indicators for this change are the expansion of dual modes of study, the implementation of a coherent legal framework enabling individuals with only vocational qualifications to apply for higher education, the development of professional academies into universities, the debate on employability of HE graduates, as well as the differentiation between part-time studies parallel to work and continuing higher education. The change affects educational pathways, the institutional order of the two education sectors and the relationship between education and the labour market.

Currently, the relevance of the subject is demonstrated by increasing amounts of research on access opportunities, study progress and success of vocationally qualified persons without the traditional higher education entrance qualification from school, the ‘Abitur’. Little attention is paid to dual modes of study and continuing higher education; the prevailing research focuses on students and graduates with a so-called ‘normal biography’. There is also a dearth of studies on the changes to social orders, e.g. of hierarchy and difference in VET and HE

To address these research gaps, the cluster will further develop its research agenda in 2017. As a first step, it will focus on the organisation of workshops on two thematic complexes:

  • The first thematic area aims to analyse the change in skill formation processes from the perspective of VET and HE. The main concern is the question of how far the two types of qualification function for occupational activities and the possible impact on social orders.
  • The second thematic area aims to analyse available data in order to examine e.g. educational returns on different qualification types (VET, ‘hybrid’ and HE), to better understand the study interests of vocationally qualified persons or aspirations to gain ‘hybrid’ qualifications.
Show more Show less

Beruflich Qualifizierte im Fernstudium.

Be¨irović, A., Dahm, G., Freitag, W., Kerst, C., & Völk, D. (2018, November).
Beruflich Qualifizierte im Fernstudium. Organisation des Workshops des DZHW-Forschungsclusters "Verhältnis von beruflicher und hochschulischer Bildung", DZHW, Hannover.

Head of Research cluster

Walburga Katharina Freitag
Dr. Walburga Katharina Freitag Head of Research cluster +49 511 450670-392
Christian Kerst
Dr. Christian Kerst Head of Research cluster +49 511 450670-141


Gunther Dahm Daniel Völk