Friday, 18 May 2012

Employer responsive provision: workforce development through work-based learning

an article by Tracey White (Business School, Middlesex University) published in Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Volume 2 Issue 1 (2012)


The purpose of this paper, from a work-based learning practitioner perspective, is to present an insight into some of the challenges, benefits and impacts associated with workforce development and employer responsive provision (ERP). The focus is learning, which is designed to meet an organization's needs and intended for groups of learners to develop their skills, whilst bringing tangible benefits to their organization.
Focusing upon experiences of managing an employer engagement, action research project, which worked with over 40, small and medium-sized enterprises and more recently working with three major corporate organisations, this paper provides a personal perspective of engaging with organizations. It draws upon primary data from personal experiences and action research of working with employers and learners, and secondary data, such as the Higher Education Impact Study (2008) and the Higher Education Regional Development Agency's Skills for Growth report (2009). After setting the context, this paper will consider ERP and its challenges, in terms of organizational needs meeting academic tradition. This is supported with case study anecdotes, before a consideration of the impacts and benefits of ERP from an organizational perspective.
This paper provides insights into effective ERP and the elements needed to support its success. With probable continued growth in ERP, it is imperative that HEIs with ERP strategies understand the associated challenges and benefits. It suggests that in order to promote sustainable ERP activity, HEIs will need to consider a more strategic approach concerning the staff engaging in ERP activities.
Practical implications
From a work-based learning practitioner perspective, this paper presents an insight into some of the challenges, benefits and impacts associated with workforce development and employer responsive provision (ERP).
This paper draws together current thinking on ERP with practice-based application and understanding in order to inform and develop practice. It offers practical insights and experiences which build upon various bodies of literature to present identified elements necessary for successful engagement with employers. As the literature around ERP at present is fairly small, this paper offers a valuable insight into successful practice, building usable models for people working in this field.

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