Locally rooted - worldwide linked up: Mexico – Success conditions for transfer of vocational education and dual practices

There has been an increasing interest in high-quality training in Mexico for several decades. The combination of school-based and company-based vocational education and training (VET), is important in improving practical skills, meaning that cooperation between public and private actors is essential. Dual practices help modernise the VET system, and support companies generate skilled workers. In this context, the Mexican government has introduced a dual vocational training model which they have started to implement in various regions of Mexico. International research shows that the interplay of different actors in vocational education and training is crucial for high-quality and sustainable training activities. The project therefore examines how different stakeholders in the vocational training system work together in Mexico, and in so doing, pursue a regional perspective on industry and tourism, as well as a multi-scalar approach (international, national and regional level). The project aims to answer the question: Who interacts with whom in Mexico, and what factors influence such cooperation?

The project fills a research gap in relation to internationally integrated, and locally executed vocational education and training, and combines economic geography and international comparative vocational training in an innovative way.

The project specifically addresses a research gap with regard to the regionally differentiating and comparative focus. With the regional comparative focus, the project is based on economic geography studies on regional industrial districts, and territorial innovation systems. In international comparative vocational training research, the project ties in with international comparative studies on the implementation of VET, qualification styles, control types and skill formation systems, but also from insights at the micro level, such as acquiring skills at the workplace.


The methodology comprises a cross-sectional analysis, and a qualitative approach, with the focus on expert interviews with organisations relevant for vocational education and training. In the pilot phase, 10 interviews were conducted. Approximately 20 interviews are planned for the basic survey, and around 40 interviews in the regionally differentiated main survey. The project examines how the coordination and participation of various local actors (employers' associations, schoolchildren and parents, secondary schools, chambers, ministries, authorities, etc.) is decisive for the success of vocational training. In particular, the different interests and motives (including the adjustment of these through negotiation processes) and the specific interaction of the actors, is explored. Regions examined are central highlands in and around Mexico City, Tijuana with Baja California, and Quintana Roo. Coordination with representatives (in particular from companies with Mexico activities as well as chamber representatives and experts from vocational education and training cooperation with Mexico) support the work in Germany. The findings are interpreted by means of a structured comparison, in order to make it possible to determine sectoral and regional differences and similarities. Observations of 'workplace learning settings', in-depth visits and comprehensive analyses of documents in the respective countries and regions are added as triangulative procedures. The relatively strong formal structuring of qualitative content analysis is supplemented by other, more understanding-orientated methods.


Project details and contact


2019 - 2022


Funding reference number



Project management


Prof. Dr. Martina Fuchs, Institute for Economic and Social Geography at the University of Cologne

Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz, Institute for Economic and Social Geography at the University of Cologne


Project team members

Natascha Röhrer

Beke Vogelsang


Cooperating institutions (national and international):