Browsing Centre for Work Related Studies by Subjects
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Sustainability 2030: a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards CouncilPurpose: 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 role of higher education institutions in sustainability initiatives at the local levelUniversities are central players and important economic actors in many regions, and many of them are, in general, nationally and internationally active in respect of matters related to sustainable development. But there is a paucity of research which examines their contributions towards sustainability efforts at the local level, i.e. in the places they are situated. This paper addresses this need, by reporting on a qualitative study deploying a Matrix, which allows an analysis and reporting of regional sustainable development initiatives of a set of 22 universities in industrialised and developing countries. Recommendations to enhance their role are provided, including the importance of pursuing partnerships and joint initiatives, understanding the need of local communities, and making their know-how more widely available. The scientific value of this research is related to the understanding of how the interaction between universities and local communities happens and by shedding light to this topic, it supports universities to improve their own actions. Its implications are two-fold: it demonstrates the potential of universities as local players and outlines the range of activities they may engage with, and which may allow them to act as pillars to local sustainability initiatives.