VET recruitment and retention challenges

Submission Deadline Date: 28 February 2023

Overview of the Special Issue:  

Across the globe we are facing a recruitment crisis in education with the number of people choosing to teach falling and those who do only staying for a few years. This is the case for schools but also for VET. It comes at a time when training is vital, both for young people and for adults, those entering the workforce and those already in it. 

We are undoubtedly in a time of great economic challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic and more recently, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are having significant impacts on our economies worldwide, and the ‘new normal’ is not yet in sight. At the same time, ongoing changes such as Industry 4.0 practices and shifts to sustainable practice are continuing, with all of these having implications for VET.

At the same time, governments are trying to be more inclusive of all sectors of society, and VET is a form of education that had traditionally provided for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Yet recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers, particularly attracting new candidates to technical and vocational teaching roles, continues to be a critical issue. Indeed, a report from the United Kingdom’s Association of Colleges highlights the worst staffing crisis in two decades in England’s colleges. This crisis is echoed in other countries. The ongoing issue of the low status of VET itself (CEDEFOP, 2017) appears to translate into VET teaching being regarded as low status. The relative remuneration of VET teaching, or perceived relative remuneration, compared with comparable positions is also a debating point.

Boosting sector recruitment and retention
Some initiatives are assisting in the staffing crisis. For example: 
•    The UK Department for Education’s recruitment campaign launched earlier this year to boost the number of teachers into FE and Training is a welcome development. Other initiatives and programmes offered by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) are already having a positive impact on teacher recruitment. For instance, the ETF’s ‘Taking Teaching Further’ initiative, which has just launched its fifth round, aims to attract high-quality teaching professionals from industry into FE and Training. 
•    In Australia, the government in the State of Victoria is offering scholarships and free basic training for industry practitioners wanting to make the switch to VET teaching. Further examples of recruitment strategies are provided in the OECD’s Teachers and Leaders in VET study (2021)

As well as recruitment, retention of VET teachers is often a problem. Changing careers is risky and new VET teachers need tailored support (Francisco, 2022). In some countries, the COVID-related transition to online teaching put additional stress on TVET teachers (Cedefop, 2020) and sometimes leading to greater turnover in the VET workforce (Smith & South, 2022), exacerbating the staffing crisis. 


List of Topic Areas:

  • How the political landscape in VET operates across the globe and in varying countries/contexts
  • The ability to recruit and retain high calibre teachers and trainers
  • The need to support teachers and trainers in developing their teaching, learning and assessment capabilities for rapidly changing contexts in industry and in VET
  • Challenges in the status and rewards of teaching in VET


Submission Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title VET recruitment and retention challenges at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.


Key Deadlines:

Submission opens: 01/09/2022

Submission closes: 28/02/2023