Thursday, 27 September 2012

The role of universities in higher apprenticeship development

an article by Adrian Anderson (UVAC and University of Bolton), Darryll Bravenboer (Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University) and David Hemsworth, (Haywards Heath, UK) published in Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Volume 2 Issue 3 (2012)


To date, few universities have been involved in the Government-funded drive to expand higher apprenticeships across England. Universities have a track record of expertise and innovation in professional and work-based learning that can significantly contribute to the higher-level skills agenda and could have a pivotal role in the rapidly growing initiative to develop higher apprenticeship programmes. The purpose of this paper is to outline the potential contribution universities could make to higher apprenticeship and the potential barriers to university engagement.
The paper provides an analysis of skills and higher education policy, initiatives and related research in England as the context for university involvement in higher apprenticeship. A case study is used to illustrate the benefits of and barriers to university involvement, including an uneven funding policy playing field for universities and misconceptions regarding professional competence and practice-based higher-level learning.
The paper illustrates the potential benefits university involvement in higher apprenticeship could deliver for employers and learners by supporting individual career progression and social mobility, and by providing employers and employees with clear and cost effective work-based pathways to management roles. It concludes that the current barriers to university involvement may result in a missed opportunity to maximise value from public investment in the workforce development expertise of universities, redeployed to realise higher apprenticeship innovation.
The authors believe this paper is the only academic analysis of the value of and barriers to university involvement in the current Westminster Government flagship Higher Apprenticeship programme. The case study included has not featured in any other academic journal.

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