A consensus seems to be emerging on the usefulness of developing and strengthening relationships between work, training, and professionalization. This interest aligns with international and national recommendations increasingly present since the end of the 1990s and aiming to foster greater training and work efficiency. In several countries, this interest is reflected in the implementation of mechanisms that combine work, training, and professionalization to foster and optimize professional learning and the development of skills, individuals, and organisations. The introduction and reinforcement of mechanisms that use learning in a work situation, such as Workplace Learning in Australia and in certain Northern European countries, alternation and the dual system in various European Union countries, cooperative education in North America, or the introduction of the professionalization contract and the institutionalization of Workplace Training (Formation En Situation de Travail) in France, confirm this trend.

The main focus of this issue of the McGill Journal of Education and the intention of the articles within it is precisely to shed light on the relationships between work, training, and professionalization. This project stems from a symposium held in July 2019 at the Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès as part of the conference of the Réseau Éducation et Formation (REF).

This thematic issue aims to confront the various recent works in these fields. In this perspective, the issue brings together articles that can contribute to current debates, highlight the variety of fields, theoretical, and conceptual frameworks mobilized by researchers working in these areas, and to question the methodological aspects of conducted research.

The following questions are at the heart of the contributions:

A first article by Souad Zaouani-Denoux and Richard Wittorski studies the fact that these relationships refer to a certain number of socio-professional and scientific issues. Analyzing them amounts to answering three questions: what are the main concepts used? what are the main theories developed? what are the methodological approaches, levels, and analytical frameworks adopted to examine, explain, and understand these relationships according to the investigated fields?

In her article, Isabelle Celeri then posits the hypothesis that the research interview can impact the professional development of trainee teachers by revealing processes at the heart of the articulation of training – work – professionalization. Thibault Coppe, Simon Enthoven, Virginie März, and Isabel Raemdonck present a theoretical reflection on the articulation between work, training, and professionalization by proposing a case study for which the relationship between these three themes is particularly tenuous, that is the case of second career teachers. The article by Maria Grullon, Carine Nassif-Gouin, Nathalie Trépanier, Marie Thériault, and Francisco Loiola shares a reflection on professionalizing training in a university context according to an enactive approach to cognition. Corinne Hahn and Christophe Vignon offer the results of a study that, by linking management sciences and education sciences, enabled the elaboration of a professionalization mechanism intended for apprentices in a Master of Management. Samira Mahlaoui and Jean-Paul Cadet demonstrate the relevance of an activity-based approach to professionalization by indicating its variety of applications and its focus on the experiences and autonomy of participants, via the intersection of two studies. Solveig Fernagu proposes the capabilities framework to better understand the approaches, modalities, practices, mechanisms, or situations of professionalization, and to question the ability to professionalize.

Marion Paggetti’s article shows how the analysis of a type of inquiry can contribute to the intelligibility of the relationships between work, training, and work professionalization. Elzbieta Sanojca and Emmanuel Triby suggest that the key moment of the construction of one’s professionality occurs at an intimate individual level. Their results point to a more social use of the intimate that leads to elucidate the professional part of individuation. Marie-Eve Skelling Desmeules invites us to better understand the multiple experiences of professionalization in the circus arts field in the light of the theory of activity. Joris Thievenaz illustrates how John Dewey’s psycho-philosophical theory of experience constitutes a heuristic approach to understand the relationships between work and the training of individuals by and within an activity. Lastly, Marilou Bélisle and her colleagues are interested in teachers’ conceptions regarding the professionalization of teachers following training in the field of health.