• A manifesto for higher education, skills and work based learning: through the lens of The Manifesto for Work

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-08-14)
      Purpose: This paper is prompted by recent professional and political events and specifically the politically oriented ‘Manifesto for Work’ recently published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), to propose a manifesto for the broad professional sphere of higher education, skills and work based learning. Design/methodology/approach: This paper utilises a unique form of political ideology critique, applied to the CIPD’s Manifesto for Work, to propose alternative directions for practice, research and policy. Findings: This paper highlights four key areas which need further research and development in the area of higher education, skills and work based learning. These are discussed in relation to: overhauling corporate governance; inclusive workplaces, flexible working, and disadvantaged groups; investment in skills, lifelong learning, and well-being; and re-balancing working practices and rights. Research limitations/implications: This paper highlights areas for further research in the broad professional area of higher education, skills and work based learning. Originality/value: This paper is a unique, time-bound political response to the current political landscape, and is the first to propose a manifesto for the professional sphere of higher education, skills and work based learning.
    • Approaches to supervising work based learning students’ workplace research

      Talbot, Jon; Lilley, Andy; University of Chester (Emerald, 2014-02-11)
      The paper describes a small research exercise designed to identify the practices of Work Based Learning tutors facilitating student research projects.
    • Creatively expanding research from work-based learning

      Scott, Deborah; University of Chester
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of creativity in work-based research and practice to yield deeper understanding of practice situations. Unexpected insights can lead one (or a team) to identify new approaches, tackling workplace issues differently, leading to unexpected outcomes of long-term impact. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on work conducted for a doctoral thesis, investigating the impact of work-based learning for recent masters graduates of a work-based learning programme. Fiction was incorporated into analysis of the data, creating play scripts to represent key aspects of the researcher’s perceptions and interpretations for each participant. Findings – Research participants experienced personal, professional and organisational impact, although there was considerable variability between individuals. Additionally, societal impact was wished for and/or effected. The approach to representation of analysis, which involved fictionalising participants’ experiences, created a strong Thirdspace liminality. This appeared to deepen awareness and understanding. Research limitations/implications – Such approaches can transform the researcher’s perspective, prompting insights which lead to further adventure and development in work-based research and practice. Practical implications – Managers and employees taking creative approaches in the workplace can prompt wide-ranging development and, with professional judgement, be constructive. Social implications – Managers and employees taking creative approaches in the workplace can prompt wide-ranging development and, with professional judgement, be constructive. Originality/value – The creation of play scripts, representing an interpretation of participants’ stories about their work-based learning experience, is an innovative feature of this work.
    • Educating for the modern world: a report review

      Rowe, Lisa; University of Chester
      Purpose This review explores the Confederation of British Industry Education and Skills Annual Report (2018), which considers the issues and challenges facing employers in managing future workforce requirements against a backdrop of unprecedented global change. The review examines the evolvement towards the broader competencies of problem solving, resilience, communication and leadership to address concerns of a growing talent shortage. The review incorporates debate surrounding the relevance of student-owned identity, work-based learning, degree apprenticeships, lifelong learning and reflective practice. The purpose of this paper is to share a practitioner’s view of the report and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and higher education institutions practice. Design/methodology/approach This review combines desk research combining an industry-based perspective with a literature review to effectively consider the implications upon current and emerging higher education institutions and employer practice. Findings There were a number of key themes which emerged from the report. These include the need for effective, employer-led curriculum design, resilience building strategies, effectively situated workplace learning, the creation of time and space for reflective practice and normalising lifelong learning. Research limitations/implications As global change and technology continues to gather pace, skills demands will shift, new programmes and competitors will enter the higher education market and opportunities, funding and resourcing will rapidly change in the context of government policy, impacting upon employer appetite and strategies for supporting lifelong learning. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this review may emerge in the near future. Practical implications There are a number of practical implications in supporting skills development in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the recommendations and include the development of flexible, innovative and collaborative curricula and effective work-based pedagogies. Social implications This review is of particular social relevance at this time because of the alarming fall in part-time and lifelong learning numbers juxtaposed with the threat of funding cuts and United Kingdom Government’s failed initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to 3m new starts by 2020. Originality/value This review is based upon one of the first published skills reports of the employers’ perspective within the new apprenticeship policy context in the United Kingdom. As a result, the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by higher education institutions and employers working collaboratively in the twenty-first century business environment.
    • Exploring the Impact of Reflective and Work Applied Approaches

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The impact agenda is now a global phenomenon with great expectations for ‘transformational’ impacts in the wider world (Gravem et al 2017). Paradoxically, such demands can hinder discovery through the avoidance unpredictable outcomes (ibid), and problematically, there is an over reliance on very narrow conceptualisations of impact, oftentimes adopting the metrics used by research councils or governments to allocate research monies. Such metrics are fiercely debated, partly because of a disconnect with practice, and their significance in creating and shaping industries whose primary purpose it is to administer and optimise the administration of research assessment activity...
    • Global Perspectives on Profound Pedagogies

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2015-09-01)
      Welcome to the global perspectives on profound pedagogies special issue of Higher Education, Skills and Work Based Learning (HESWBL). This special issue aspires to contribute to work-based learning (WBL) scholarship and highlights two dimensions important in contemporary educational settings: global perspectives and profound pedagogy. The first of these is increasingly important in the context of the relentless internationalisation and globalisation of education. According to the latest OECD reports, the number of students “enrolled outside their country of citizenship” doubled to 4.5 million between 2000 and 2012, “despite” the global recession (OECD, 2014, p. 343), and predictions indicate that this is set to reach 7.2 million by 2025 (Altbach et al., 2009). This trend is reflected within vocational higher education more specifically, especially Luxembourg (49 per cent of vocational higher education students), New Zealand (21 per cent), Australia and Denmark (both 11 per cent) (OECD, 2014, p. 354). Globally, the OECD inform us that 29 per cent of the 450 educational policy reforms examined by the OECD between 2008 and 2014 target vocationally oriented/work-based education as well as internationalisation (OECD, 2015).
    • Guest editorial

      Scott, Deborah; Nottingham, Paula; Wall, Tony; University of Chester, Middlesex University, University of Chester
      Guest editorial for Special Issue: Creativity in Work-Applied Management. The editorial contextualises and introduces each of the articles published in the special issue. It considers the contribution creativity may make in work-applied management in the global situation at the time of publication, when extensive changes to working practices were being experienced due to strategies to control the pandemic caused by the virus COVID-19.
    • Positive emotion in workplace impact: the case of a work-based learning project utilising appreciative inquiry

      Wall, Tony; Russell, Jayne; Moore, Neil; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role of positive emotions in generating workplace impacts and examine it through the application of an adapted appreciative inquiry process in the context of a work-based project aimed at promoting integrated working under challenging organisational circumstances. The paper adopts a case study methodology which highlights how an organisation facing difficult circumstances (such as austerity measures, siloed cultures, constant threats of reorganisation, and requirement to work across occupational boundaries) adapted an appreciative inquiry intervention/method. This paper found (1) that the utilisation of appreciative inquiry in the context of an adapted work-based project in difficult organisational circumstances generated positive emotions manifest through a compelling vision and action plans, (2) that the impacts (such as a vision) can become entangled and therefore part of the wider ecological context which promotes pathways to such impact, but that (3) there are a various cultural and climate features which may limit the implementation of actions or the continuation of psychological states beyond the time-bound nature of the work-based project. The paper illustrates how an organisation adapted a form of appreciative inquiry to facilitate organisational change and generated outcomes which were meaningful to the various occupational groupings involved. This paper offers new evidence and insight into the adaptation of appreciative inquiry under challenging circumstances in the context of a work-based learning project. It also provides a richer picture of how positive emotion can manifest in ways which are meaningful to a localised context.
    • Redressing Small Firm Resilience: Exploring Owner-Manager Resources for Resilience

      Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; University of Chester; University of Sunderland (Emerald, 2019-04-24)
      Purpose: The owner-manager of small firms is recognised as having a potentially significant role in the small firm’s competitiveness, growth and failure. However, the owner-manager’s own resilience has been largely overlooked in the small firm resilience literature. The purpose of this paper is to redress this and expand the debate and empirical basis of small firm owner-managers’ personal resources for resilience. Design/methodology/approach: This longitudinal qualitative study deployed semi-structured interviews with nine owner-managers, each being interviewed three or four times. Analytical procedures were employed utilising an established framework which conceptualised four key personal resources for resilience as adaptability, confidence, social support, and purposefulness. Findings: There were four key findings: (1) owner-manager adaptability can appear in extremes including a sense of helplessness or optimism where disruptive circumstances are not sensed as problematic, (2) owner-manager confidence levels often echo their own mindset of adaptability, that is, from helplessness to positive ambition, (3) owner-managers can utilise discursive tactics with strong/weak ties for a range of affective as well as technical resources for resilience, and (4) purposefulness tended to be framed in terms of a necessity for a longer term future state related to own or family lifestyle, rather than profit. It is also noted that the owner-manager and the firm are closely interrelated and therefore enhancement of personal resilience resources is likely to positively influence their resilience, and therefore the resilience of the organisation and strategic capability of the firm. Originality/value: The small firm resilience literature typically focuses on the organisational level which de-emphasises the salient role of the owner-manager and their resilience. This study attempts to redress this.
    • The Reflective Practitioner: The challenges of supporting Public Sector Senior Leaders as they engage in reflective practice

      Rowe, Lisa; Moore, Neil; McKie, Paul; University of Chester (Emerald, 2020-10-13)
      This paper explores the challenges, issues and benefits of reflective practice faced by work-based practitioners undertaking negotiated experiential learning. The study focuses upon the case of a ground-breaking UK based Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) programme which requires learners to develop and apply reflective practice skills through comprehensive work-based learning and research activities. Degree apprenticeships represent a significant opportunity for providers and employers to become more closely aligned in the joint development and promotion of innovative learning opportunities, yet the efficacy of individually negotiated, experiential learning and reflective practice for senior leaders within a challenging healthcare environment remains relatively unexplored from a tripartite perspective. This paper investigates the role of reflective practice within a leading degree apprenticeship programme which embraces this pedagogic approach and considers the potential barriers and benefits for learners and their organisations. The paper begins by discussing the nature of reflective practice in the workplace and explores the growing importance of this activity in contemporary organisations. Theoretical and conceptual foundations relating to experiential learning and reflective practice are analysed and discussed. The SLMDA programme and NHS case organisation are described in detail. Qualitative data drawn from semi-structured interviews undertaken with learners, employers and Personal Academic Tutors (PATs) is then analysed to identify the key issues and challenges encountered. The study identifies the benefits of reflective practice, explores the challenges and issues that act as barriers to reflective practice and highlights the importance of the role of the Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) and that of employers in supporting and developing reflective practice in one of the first SLMDA programmes to launch within the UK. Although reflective practice and work-based research have attracted considerable scholarly activity, investigations have overwhelmingly been focused upon professions such as teaching and nursing and have explored challenges and issues from the perspective of the provider. This study explores reflective practice from the viewpoint of learners, employers and PATs and thereby seeks to compliment and expand current understanding by developing a more holistic approach. This work will inform future programme design, practitioner skills development and employer support procedures as learners plan and prepare to facilitate work- based research projects within their organisations.
    • Revisiting impact in the context of workplace research: a review and possible directions

      Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; Evans, Vicky; Hopkins, Sandra; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The purpose of this paper is to revisit the scholarly impact agenda in the context of work-based and workplace research, and to propose new directions for research and practice. This paper combines a contemporary literature review with case vignettes and reflections from practice to develop more nuanced understandings, and highlight future directions for making sense of impact in the context of work-based learning research approaches. This paper argues that three dimensions to making sense of impact need to be more nuanced in relation to workplace research: (1) that interactional elements of workplace research processes have the potential for discursive pathways to impact, (2) that presence (and perhaps non-action) can act as a pathway to impact, and (3) that the narrative nature of time means there is instability in making sense of impact over time. The paper proposes a number of implications for practitioner-researchers, universities/research organisations, and focus on three key areas: the amplification of research ethics in workplace research, the need for axiological shifts towards sustainability, and the need to explicate axiological orientation in research. This paper offers a contemporary review of the international impact debate in the specific context of work-based and workplace research approaches.
    • Reviving the Ubuntu Spirit in Landscapes of Practice: Evidence from Deep within The Forest

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2016-12-01)
      Contemporary being is framed and marred by commodification and individualism according to many scholars (for example Žižek, 2015; Furedi 2006, 2010). Walk around any large city and you will see advert, upon advert, upon advert, targeting individuals, with commodified items or experiences which aspire to make the individual feel better. Adverts for family health insurance do not target the collective family unit – they target and appeal to the concerns, values, or feelings of the purchaser to act as a responsible individual towards their family. You can walk past a faith establishment and find how they have been commodified – “Church for Hire!” (see Wall and Perrin, 2015: p16)...
    • Risk management and cultural virtue in HE co-delivery arrangements

      Talbot, Jon; Perrin, David; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (Emerald, 2014-04-01)
      The paper is a case study of how risk assessment principles are used to quality assure delivery of higher education programmes by third parties. A three level system of Quality Assurance is described- external, university level and tutor level. In contrast to some who view QA as a constraint on traditional academic autonomy, the validity of each layer is recognised as performing an essential function but that quality has no meaning unless it is embedded in day to day academic culture and practice.
    • Service-learning and academic activism: a review, prospects, and a time for revival

      Wall, Tony; Giles, Dwight; Stanton, Tim; University of Chester; University of Massachusetts; Stanford University (Emerald, 2018-08-23)
      Service-learning is an educational movement with roots in academic activism fuelled by commitments to accessibility, social mobility, social justice, community engagement, sustainable development, and learning. Reviewing the voices of the original US ‘pioneers’ and contemporary practitioners over the last 30 years, this chapter argues that (1) contemporary service learning has been ‘mainstreamed’ in various ways, and that (2) such a re-conceptualisation seems to have re-formatted educational commitments in line with contemporary economic-framings and circumstances of higher education. However, it also argues that beyond overt compliance and resistance, it is possible for practitioners and higher education more broadly to create responses and spaces where educational adaptation and transformation can emerge. To facilitate such responses, it is important to embrace the strong driving force of passion and emotion which can drive and sustain change agents in practice. This chapter aspires to revitalise and rejuvenate academic activism as a legitimate catalyst of educational transformation on a global platform.
    • Sustainability 2030: a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards Council

      Wall, Tony; Crawford-Lee, Mandy; University of Chester; University of Bolton (Emerald, 2018-08-13)
      Purpose: The policy and practice sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning has become increasingly problematic in the last few years, and the extent to which sustainability and sustainable development are embedded in policy and practice spaces is a cause for concern. This paper posits a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC), the national representative organisation for universities committed to the vocational agenda and an independent voice in the sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a reflective policy and practice piece which draws on the latest policy moves by the UK government and associated organisations and engages the latest literature to examine the issues in policy and practice that need to be tackled. Findings: This paper argues for a greater integration of sustainable development into higher education, skills and work-based learning policy and practice, and specifically in relation to (1) creating inclusive workplaces, (2) promoting social mobility, (3) a balanced approach to productivity, health and wellbeing, and (4) embedding educational approaches and methods which promote inequality in workplaces. Originality/value: The paper is the only UK policy perspective explicitly dedicated to sustainability and sustainable development in the context of the sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning. Although it is focused on UK policy context, it will be of interest to international readers wishing to learn about UK developments and the sustainable development challenges in relation to its apprenticeship, technical and vocational education system.
    • The challenges of managing degree apprentices in the workplace: a manager’s perspective

      Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; Perrin, David; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      This paper explores the issues and challenges facing employers as they manage degree apprentices in the workplace. It examines the relationship between managers and apprentices undertaking a work-based degree. This research is of particular relevance at this time because of the UK government’s initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to three million new starts by 2020 inevitably bringing a range of pressures to bear on employers (BIS, 2015). The purpose is to share early experiences of employer management of degree apprenticeships, and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and HEI practice. This paper combines desk research with qualitative data drawn from interviews with a range of cross-sector organisations to investigate the employer’s experience of developing the new Degree Apprenticeships. The data is explored inductively using thematic analysis in order to surface dominant patterns and considers the implications of findings upon current and emerging HEI and employer practice and research. There were a number of key themes which emerged from the data collected. These included the need for effective, employer-led recruitment processes, careful management of expectations, sound HEI retention strategies, employer involvement and board level motivators to ensure organisational benefits are derived from effectively situated workplace learning and a focus upon effective, empowering mentoring and support strategies. As degree apprenticeship standards and programmes are currently at the early stages of implementation, and opportunities, funding and resourcing are rapidly changing in the context of government policy, so too will employer appetite and strategies for supporting degree apprentices, along with apprentice behaviour. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this paper may emerge in the near future. There are a number of practical implications supporting managerial development and support of degree apprentices in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the findings, and include the development of flexible and collaborative processes, resources, mentor training and networks. This paper is one of the first published accounts of the employers’ perspective of managing a Degree Apprenticeship within the new policy context in the UK. As a result the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by managers working with degree apprentices in the twenty first century business environment.
    • The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship: Trials and Tribulations

      Rowe, Lisa; Perrin, David; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2016-11-14)
      Purpose: In 2014, the UK government introduced a new form of apprenticeship, the Degree Apprenticeship, which extends across all undergraduate degree and Master’s degree levels, maps to professional standards, and which is now embedded within governmental levies of large businesses. The purpose of this paper is to share early experiences of developing these Degree Apprenticeships, and consider the processes deployed to achieve it. Design/methodology/approach: This paper combines desk research with reflections on the experience of developing the new Degree Apprenticeships within Higher Education Institutes (HEI) and considers the implications of this upon current and emerging HEI practice and research. Findings: There were a number of key resources which facilitated the approval of the Degree Apprenticeship, and these included a pre-existing, flexible work based learning framework, the associated mechanisms of accreditation, existing professional networks, and a professionally oriented interface between the university, employer and professional body. Research limitations/implications: As the context is currently at the early stages of implementation, and the policy context is rapidly changing in the context of Brexit, so too will the related scholarship. This means factors others than those highlighted within this paper may emerge over the coming year or two. Practical implications: There are a number of practical implications for the development of Degree Apprenticeships from this research that are reflected in the findings, and include the development of flexible and collaborative processes, resources, and networks. Originality/value: This paper is one of the first published accounts of the development of a Degree Apprenticeship within the context of the new policy context in the UK.
    • The ignorant manager: conceptualising impact with Rancière

      Scott, Deborah S.; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to offer a response to expressions in the literature concerning the limitations of critical reflection, using Rancière’s exposition of the role of values and reasonableness to examine how forms of negotiated work based learning can support learners’ pathways to impact in their organisation. The implications for work applied management in terms of enabling these employees to make an impact are considered. Design/ methodology/ approach Vignettes illuminate and articulate Rancière’s (1991; 2010) ideas, the vignettes constructed through events experienced and narrated, perhaps imagined, tutorial conversations, assignments and work practices. Such construction of ‘multiple layers of fiction and narrative imaginings’ draws on Sparkes (2007, p. 522). They consider individuals’ negotiation of working practices using ideas developed during their studies, and personal and professional development prompted by unexpected insights into their capabilities, interests and possible roles. Findings Negotiated work based learning appears to offer the individual opportunity to take responsibility for action in their learning and in their workplace, but effect depends on several factors, and can be perceived in different ways. Students’ encounter with autonomy in their studies resonates with Rancière’s belief in equality. In the workplace (becoming ‘citizens’ alongside ‘reasonable’ individuals) their agency might, at best, lead to ‘reasonable moments’, as they encounter both negative and positive challenges of work applied management. Practical implications Successful utilisation of agency in learning prompts expectations of responsibility and equality in the workplace. Such equality can lead to diverse, unpredicted insights and consequent opportunities for changes in practice. Originality/ value This is the first paper to utilise Ranciére’s ideas to offer a critical consideration of both learning provision and workplace practice. Consideration of his profound stance on individuals’ freedom and agency provides rich (but challenging) prompts for analysis of one’s own practice, and the potential for impact when the manager is ‘ignorant’.
    • The impact of story: measuring the impact of story for organisational change

      Wall, Tony; Rossetti, Lisa; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      Purpose: The role of dialogue has recently been identified as being important in generating impact in organisations, but the purposeful use of narrative or story-based approaches to effect organisational change and service improvement is still relatively innovative. This paper documents and examines two projects in health and social care settings which aim to generate organisational development and service improvement. Design/methodology approach: The paper evaluates and compares two case studies of story based organisational development and service improvement projects in the UK. This involved developing an appropriate evaluation framework and assessing the impacts in each case using semi-structured interviews and thematic content analysis. Findings: This paper reports the diversity of impacts and outcomes that were generated by the projects. Specifically, it is argued that there is a strong indication that story-based projects best achieve their objectives when clearly linked to key organisational strategic drivers or pathways, as evidenced by robust evaluation. Practical implications: This paper recommends that researchers and practitioners, working with story-based methods, design credible and robust evaluative practices, in order to evidence how their work supports organisations to meet current sector challenges. The paper recommends a flexible evaluation framework for evaluating story-based projects in the workplace. Originality/value: This paper offers new evidence and insight into the impacts and outcomes of using story-based approaches, and a new evaluation framework for these sorts of projects.
    • What does it take for flexible learning to survive? A UK case study

      Tabot, Jon; Perrin, David; Meakin, Bob; University of Chester
      Purpose: To identify potential reasons why an innovative Work based learning shell framework has succeeded in an adverse environment Design/methodology/approach: Case study Findings: Demand-led, flexible Work based learning programmes have to overcome a number of internal cultural and institutional barriers in order to succeed. Important requirements are likely to include effective leadership, financial viability, adherence to Quality Assurance, adaptability, entrepreneurialism and a cohesive community of practice incorporating these traits. Research limitations/implications: The conclusions are drawn from shared experience and are suggestive only as they are not readily susceptible to empirical verification. The authors accept that for some the conclusions appear speculative but they suggest that in order for innovative programmes to survive more is required than sound pedagogy. Practical implications: Although lessons may not be directly transferable, the paper draws attention to the importance of managerial, leadership and organisational factors necessary for innovative Work based learning programmes to survive and develop. Social implications: Originality/value: There is some literature on why some innovative higher education programmes and institutions have failed: there is little on why some programmes are successful.