The aim of this article is to explore methodological issues related to scenarios on vocational education and training (VET). In particular, we examine the extent to which VET scenarios depend or build on generalizable future expectations (“myths of the future”) or archetypes of the future. The analysis builds on a review of recent methodological literature on scenario building applied to three international scenario studies on VET carried out by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), in which the authors were partly involved.
We argue that neither scenarios on a particular issue (“issue-based”) nor on the future of a particular society (“area-based”) do justice to diverse VET systems but that scenarios in VET need to be “institution-based”. Hence, both the relative independence of VET systems and their path dependency – especially in transnational projects – need to be taken into account. In conclusion, we propose that the regular application of the scenario approach could be a useful complement to various other prospective approaches used to guide European employment and vocational training policies.