Journal of Vocational Education & Training Welcoming submissions for an upcoming special issue

Vocational education and workers with disability

Journal of Vocational Education & Training

Guest Editors
Timothy Bartram, RMIT, Australia,
Jillian Cavanagh, La Trobe University, Australia,

There are over one billion people across the world with some form of disability, representing over 15 per cent of the world’s population (World Health Organization, 2016). This issue is seeking contributions from researchers who are interested in empirical and intervention studies that examine vocational education and training (VET) and workers with disability (WWD). VET programs are designed to deliver education that enable individuals secure employment.  In this special issue, we adopt a broad approach to disability as inclusive of intellectual, mental health, physical impairments and neuro diversity. We aim to extend arguments in the journal on workers with disability from Tomblin and Haring (2010) who examined alternative certification programs, Anuncibay (2007) who examined the constraints to employment and Angus, Golding, Foley and Lavender (2013) who explored ‘learner voice’, and social equity and economic disadvantage.

The World Report on Disability (World Health Organization, 2011) documents the prevalence of disability is increasing with over 110 million people experiencing acute difficulties in functioning. In the majority of countries, workers with disabilities have lower average incomes than the general workforce, as much as a 15-30 per cent difference in earnings (OECD, 2009; 2010). Moreover, securing employment presents significant challenges for many people with disabilities (Donelly & Given, 2010; R. Lewis, Dobbs, & Biddle, 2013; Yang & Konrad, 2011).  This is despite the fact that many countries, such as Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom and many others, have ratified the United Nations (2006) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes principles for inclusion and participative rights and have enforced legislation to prevent discrimination (Harpur, 2012). Despite greater public awareness regarding the ethical rights of workers with disability (WWD), it is still important to know more about how organisations can promote and facilitate the education, training inclusion and full participation of workers with disability (Houtenville & Kalargyrou, 2012; Jasper & Waldhart, 2013).  Organisations have a moral responsibility not to disable people in the workplace, but to ensure they have full participation in work (G. Lewis, Thoresen, & Cocks, 2011; Barclay & Markel, 2009) and VET plays an important role in achieving positive outcomes for WWD. This special issue seeks to take an international perspective on examining VET and WWD in a range of organisations and industries across the world. 

In the context of this current call for papers, there needs to be more research on the vocational education and training of workers with disability in Western and non-Western settings if we are to increase the workplace participation of WWD.  We argue that this is an important research agenda, which needs urgent attention. The objective of this special issue is to advance the theoretical, conceptual and empirical base regarding the use, implementation and impact of training and development interventions within the context of workers with disability. Papers may include some of the following list of topics:

Possible Topic Areas

  • The impact of VET on WWD performance, their wellbeing outcomes, as well as organisational outcomes including organisational performance and social performance
  • VET and WWD with specific impairments e.g. Intellectual Disability
  • VET practices across the range of sector organisations that employ WWD
  • VET and organisational commitment to diversity
  • The role of management, VET and WWD
  • VET and ethical practice in organisations that employ WWD
  • Online VET learning for WWD
  • Teaching and assessment for WWD

Submission Instructions

All papers will be reviewed in accordance with the Journal of Vocational Education and Training. Manuscripts should be formatted in accordance with the Journal of Vocational Education and Training publication guidelines. Any enquiries should be directed to:

Important Dates

Manuscripts to be considered for this special issue should be submitted electronically through manuscript central no later than 17 September 2018.
Publication Date – Special Issue April 2019


Angus, L., Golding, B., Foley, A., & Lavender, P. (2013). Promoting ‘learner voice’ in VET: Developing democrativ transformative possibilities or further entrenching the status quo? Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 64(4), 560-574.

Anuncibay, R.F. (2007). Social, peprsonal and educational constraints on access to employment among groups at risk of social exclusion: Contributions from an employment observatory. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59(4), 333-345.

Barclay, L.A., & Markel, K.S. (2009). Ethical fairness and human rights: The treatment of employees with psychiatric disabilities. Journal of Business Ethics, 85, 181-189.

Donelly, M., & Given, F. (2010). Employment programs and professionals with a disability. Work, 36(2), 217-225.

Harpur, P. (2012). Embracing the new disability rights paradigm: The importance of the convention on the rights of persons with disbilities. Disability & Society, 27(1), 1-14.

Houtenville, A., & Kalargyrou, V. (2012). People with disabilities: Employers’ perspectives on recruitment practices, strategies, and challenges in leisure and hospitality. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 53(1), 40-52.

Jasper, C. R., & Waldhart, P. (2013). Employer attitudes on hiring employees with disabilities in the leisure and hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 25(4), 577-594.

Lewis, R., Dobbs, L., & Biddle, P. (2013). 'If this wasn't here I probably wouldn't be': Disabled workers' views of employment support. Disability & Society, 28(8), 1089-1103.

Lewis, G., Thoresen, S. H., & Cocks, E. (2011). Successful approaches to placing and supporting apprentices and trainees with disability in Australia. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 34(3), 181-189.

OECD. (2009). Sickness, Disability and Work keeping the tract in the economic downturn. High-Level Forum, Stockholm 14-15 May 2009.

OECD. (2010). Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers: A synthesis of findings across OECD countries. : OECD Publishing.

Tomlin, M., & Haring, E. (2010). Alternative routes to teaching for vocational educators. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 51(4), 507-520.

World Health Organisation. (2016). World Report on Disability. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

World Health Organisation. (2011). World Report on Disability. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

Yang, Y., & Konrad, A. I. M. (2011). Understanding diversity management practices: Implications of institutional theory and resource-based theory Group Organization Management, 36(1), 6-38.