Tracing the historical construction of a vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning policy space in the European Union from 1951 to present Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this study is to trace and document the emerging contours of a Vocational Training, Adult Education and Lifelong Learning (VTAELL) space in the EU via an examination of the policy framework built over time in this area over more than six decades, from the inception of todays European Union to the present day. Nineteen key primary sources were selected from the EUs legislative record forming the growing overarching legal framework on VTAELL from 1951 to present. These were subjected to a discourse and content analysis, utilizing a process tracing approach to systematically record the gradual construction of VTAELL policy. The narrative shows that policy evolution in this field can be grouped into three distinct stages: policy groundwork; programmatic operationalization; consolidation, integration and expansion. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that the convergence and cross-referencing of EUs VTAELL policy across education sectors validates the importance and consolidation of this policy space.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 11

author list (cited authors)

  • Salajan, F. D., & Roumell, E. A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Salajan, Florin D||Roumell, Elizabeth A

publication date

  • May 2023