The importance of vocational education institutions in manufacturing regions: adding content to a broad definition of regional innovation systems
In this paper Henrik Brynthe Lund and Asbjørn Karlsen explore the importance of vocational education institutions in regional innovation systems, and the role skilled workers have in implementing new technologies in manufacturing industries.
The case study is founded on a broad conceptualisation of RISs, emphasising the importance of all relevant parts of the industrial and institutional system. The authors analyse the collaboration between industry actors and vocational education institutions in two Norwegian manufacturing regions. The analysis demonstrates how, in developing new education programmes tailored for contemporary and future manufacturing, vocational education institutions are essential for manufacturers’ competitiveness. The paper adds empirical content to the hitherto highly theoretical concept of broad RISs, emphasising the key role of skilled workers and engineering technicians when implementing new manufacturing technologies. Furthermore, the authors explain how the vocational education institutions and RISs are co-evolving with emerging technologies in terms of changed knowledge demands in the industry, prompting new education programmes in vocational education institutions.
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