Conference paper Open Access

'Bridging' the gap between VET and higher education: Permeability or perpetuation?

Esmond, Bill

Barbara E. Stalder; Christof Nägele

Demands for admission to higher education from vocational routes are widespread across Europe but take different forms, depending on the recognition of tertiary VET or whether sharper distinctions between VET and higher education exist. In England, alongside policies promoting more employer-responsive tertiary provision, opportunities for ‘bridging’ from vocational routes to general university education, and vice versa, have been discussed. The study reported here examined four cases of existing provision supporting transitions into higher education, potential sites of practices supporting bridging across pathways. Each case provided valued support for progression to higher levels of study; yet these practices focused on existing routes rather than transitions between more academic or vocationally-oriented sites. It is suggested, therefore, that the explicit denotation of separate tertiary provision may be more likely to constrain ‘bridging’ provision than for the latter to help students move beyond their existing route into substantially different forms of higher education.

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