This article discusses the nature of vocational education and its relation to citizenship as put forward by Georg Kerschensteiner, Aloys Fischer and Eduard Spranger. The chief aim of the article is to respond sympathetically to views which many Anglophone readers may find unfamiliar, given the German context from which they arise. In particular, the article focuses on the nature of work and occupation and why this is important for developing citizenship. In order to aid understanding, the views of Hannah Arendt on the nature of work and labour are contrasted with those of the three authors. Finally, there is a brief discussion of the contents of the UK Government White Paper, "Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth."