School of Education

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Volker Wedekind

Deputy Head of School, Director of Research Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Professor Volker Wedekind is currently Deputy Head of School and Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of Education. He has spent most of his professional life working in South African universities and joined the University of Nottingham in 2017. He started working in the early 1990s doing teacher development work at a time when South Africa and the education system were undergoing major transitions. His teaching and research has focused on the intersection between societal and policy changes and how these affect the people working in the system. He has also been directly involved in policy processes at national level, serving on a number of ministerial committees, government task teams, statutory committees and consultancies. Within the universities he has served in various capacities including as Head of School and Deputy Dean. His previous position was the Research Chair in Vocational Education and Pedagogy at the University of Witwatersrand.

He is Convenor of the UNESCO-UNEVOC Centre in Nottingham and is actively involved in the UNEVOC Network. The Centre currently leads the Migration strand of the BILT: Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET project.

He is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of Witwatersrand in the Centre for Researching Education and Labour.

Teaching Summary

My teaching currently focuses on postgraduate research and supervision in fields related to education policy, vocational education and education and development. I also coordinate the doctoral… read more

Research Summary

My current research focuses on the role of vocational education within development discourses, the relationship between education, social policy and economic development. Current projects include the… read more

Recent Publications

My teaching currently focuses on postgraduate research and supervision in fields related to education policy, vocational education and education and development. I also coordinate the doctoral training programme and teach research methodology. My undergraduate teaching includes a focus on comparative, international and history of education, as well as the sociology of education.

Current Research

My current research focuses on the role of vocational education within development discourses, the relationship between education, social policy and economic development. Current projects include the history of skills development in South Africa, innovations in vocational education in Africa (VET Africa 4.0), vocational teachers, and migration, migrants and vocational education.

Past Research

My past research has focused in various ways on education policy and how this impacts on the people in education systems, particularly the teachers. I have explored this intersection through life histories, policy analysis and sociological analysis of classroom and school/college practices.

Future Research

The first line of future research focuses on the issue of migration and the role of vocational education. Migration is a major concern across the globe. There are a wide variety of reasons why people choose to or are forced to migrate - economic, safety and security, environmental or combinations of these. Whether the migrants are refugees, internally displaced people or voluntary migrants, there are many risks and challenges they face. One critical area relates to their ability to secure their livelihoods through productive work. Education, and vocational education in particular can potentially play an important role in helping migrants to access the labour market and integrate into their new home or return to the place they migrated from. My future research will focus on a range of issues related to migration, education and work.

The second strand of work relates to the major changes that are taking place in the economy that impact on skills and employment. Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, longevity, climate collapse, increasing inequality and a host of other developments pose major challenges to the nature of work, and many of the current approaches to vocational education take little cognizance of this. What is the purpose of vocational education in this context? My research attempts to contribute to this debate.

The third strand of work focuses on agricultural education and agricultural extension in developing countries. This is a crucial part of sustainable development and ensuring food security.

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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