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Regulation of Vocational Education and Training Fields in Northern Canada Open Access


Other title
northern Canada
Vocational Education
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hodgkins, Andrew, P
Supervisor and department
Alison Taylor (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Ali Abdi (Educational Policy Studies)
Jerry Kachur (Educational Policy Studies)
Ian Urquhart (Political Science)
Mark Nuttall (Anthropology)
Frances Abele (School of Public Policy, Carelton University)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Theoretical, Cultural and International Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation examines vocational education and training (VET) partnership programs designed to increase aboriginal participation in the skilled trades. Pre-apprenticeship training programs were examined in two regions: the Beaufort Delta of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo located in north eastern Alberta. Program sponsorship varied: the territorial program was federally-funded, while the provincial program was primarily funded by a mine. Drawing from a multiple case site methodology, both programs were examined over the course of a year when participants were in class (fall, 2010) and afterwards (spring 2011) when programs had ended. During both phases of the research interviews with program participants (n = 20) and program partners (n = 24) were conducted. The theoretical framework developed in this inquiry nests social theories of Pierre Bourdieu within late capitalism. Bourdieu’s concept of the field, capital, and habitus respectively elucidate the social relations, asset structures, and dispositions of program partners and participants. Findings indicate that training partnerships are brokered on contested fields involving asymmetrical power relations occurring between different partners. VET programs that are demand-driven and have a committed employment partner are more likely to lead to successful learning-to-work transitions than programs where goals and commitments are less clearly defined. Socialisation of program participants is impacted by the economic relationship characterising each region. While there have been ample studies conducted in northern Canada concerning the socioeconomic impacts of resource extractive economic developments, there remains a dearth of research examining education, training, and employment initiatives that specifically target aboriginal people. This research will be of particular use to policy makers who are interested in improving training policy and practice. The research also provides insight into the shifting nature of aboriginal-industry-state relations occurring within a postFordist regime of capital accumulation. Recommendations include improving governance structures to over-see partnership programs, as well as ensuring stable and predictable funding regimes are in place.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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