• Exploration of the key factors to enable Negotiated Work Based Learning to be accepted within HE - a case based approach

      Weston, Philippa; University of Chester (ASET, 2014-09)
      Using a case based approach, this paper will examine some key factors that appear necessary if negotiated forms of work based learning (NWBL) have any chance of being accepted into the HE provision. The case study examined here is part of a wider doctoral study examining what factors impact on how different universities perceive and locate work based learning (WBL) and particularly NWBL into their HE provision. The case study is based on the University of Chester (Chester) which is generally recognised within the wider academic community in WBL as having created one of the most flexible academic frameworks to support different forms of WBL and NWBL. The study focuses on the experiences, memories and reflections of three key individuals who were involved in the early stages of developing the Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS) framework at Chester which is now used extensively to support all forms of WBL both internally within the university and also in the wider external community (Major, Meakin, & Perrin, 2011). The flexibility and sustainability of Chester’s WBIS framework is evidenced by its ability to facilitate an increasing variety of WBL projects from the more traditional HE WBL offerings such as placements, corporate programmes and contract partnerships to projects that are more challenging for HE such as co-delivery arrangements and formal partnerships (Talbot, Perrin, & Meakin, 2014). Drawing on the work of Major, Perrin, Talbot, Wall and Meakin who are all practitioners and researchers of NWBL and WBL at Chester, together with prominent researchers within the wider field of NWBL such as Portwood, Costley and Gibbs, the paper identifies some key factors, such as the need for a champion, the influence of the university’s culture, the relevance of the word ‘integrative’ and the importance of timing. In addition it will highlight that for such initiatives to be effective and sustainable, WBL and in particular NWBL must be underpinned through strong organisational and governance capabilities to ensure the resultant programmes meet the criteria from a quality assurance perspective. The paper concludes by drawing together and evaluating whether the factors which appear key in enabling the WBIS framework at Chester could be embraced by other Universities in their pursuit of WBL initiatives (Talbot et al., 2014).