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University of Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg


Luxembourg has a dual system of initial vocational training, inspired by the German model, where training takes place alternately in enterprises as well as in schools. Since 2008, a competence-based reform of vocational training is being implemented in the upper level of secondary education in Luxembourg. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with the relevant actors to analyse their strategies and perspectives during and after the reform. It appears that one major difficulty in the implementation of the reform is the difference between schools’ and enterprises’ understanding of what competence-based training is. The majority of teaching staff disagreed with training through competences as it was considered a more difficult and less manageable approach for them than the previous knowledge-based methods. When they adopt the prescribed approach albeit reluctantly, they often attribute it a meaning which is mostly school-based, where competences are seen as skills in exercises based on books and programs and not in professional situations. Enterprises were in favour of curricula based on competences, as they are more suited to the practical work expected in the professional domain. Pupils are confronted directly with practical professional situations at the workplace, but enterprises have problems in implementing explicit, systematic and progressive modular training. Coordination between these two main actors in the training system is poor and problematic; especially with regards to collaboration within the curriculum teams that are expected to develop and update the training modules. A general fatigue with the reform has spread, even if most actors agree, at least verbally, with its general philosophy; and this at a moment when the Ministry wants to implement new changes to the law. In order to make the reform viable, a newly negotiated agreement based on the interests of the different players, especially between enterprises and schools, should be achieved.


competences, vocational training, secondary education, interviews

Cite this paper

Raymond Meyers, Anne Pignault, & Claude Houssemand. (2016). Competences as Seen by Teachers and Employers in an Initial Vocational Training Reform. Psychology Research, 6(7), 426-429.


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