The late construction of a hybrid vocational and educational training system in Spain
Dep. of Business Administration University Rovira i Virgili Tarragona, Spain
The article analyzes the emergence and instituionalization of the technical vocational and education training (VET) system in the democratic Spain during the last decades. The argument is that the late construction of a hybrid model of VET in the last two decades has increasingly become one of the key factors in understanding the advanced industrial economy in Spain.
In Spain, training system in general, and the technical vocational and education training (VET) in particular, have been underdeveloped for most part of the 20th. century, under negative non-democratic circumstances, unbalance industrialization, and abrupt processes of economic growth. Until the 1970s and even the 1980s, VET system in Spain was dominated by three main actors: large firms with apprenticeship schools, religious educational centres in initial VET, and various public institutions managed by the labour associations from the Dictatorship. Thus, VET system was a very weak education sub-system and it was one of the main problems to develop a more balanced and founded advanced industrial economy.
In the early 1990s, both initial VET and further VET began a rapid process of change, with two main features. First, a process of governance negotiation among several public and private actors, where state and public actors increased their role in managing the VET system. Second, a growing influence of supra-national models, especially at the EU level, thereby amounting to its hybridation process. The consequence has been the construction of a highly hybrid model, where, under a general state governance, firms, social partners and markets collaborate with different roles in both VETs. Whereas initial VET has adopted a clear state-centred system, further VET has been mainly developed through bipartite arrangements by labour market partners. The model is even more differentiated if cross regional dynamics are taken into account in the regionalized federal system in Spain. Although the new VET system still presents many problems and limitations, by 2009, both initial and further VET systems have become central to the economic and educational challenges of Spain, and a critical aspect in moving towards the knowledge and learning society.