• Future proofing the degree apprenticeship workforce - an exploratory study of resilience behaviours, resources and risks

      Moore, Neil; Moss, Danny; Rowe, Lisa (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-11)
      The Higher Education Institution (HEI) employer interface has attracted much attention recently, particularly over dissatisfaction with graduate work-readiness. Concurrently, pressure upon new graduates is accelerating through the unprecedented pace of global change in technologies, communications and robotics, revolutionising the workplace and requiring new lifelong learning strategies which embed critical transferable skills and resilience to adapt, thrive and perform effectively in an increasingly unpredictable global environment. Degree apprenticeships developed to counter such skills issues have forced HEIs to adapt pedagogic strategies and adopt work-based learning frameworks to ensure curricula meet new political apprenticeship reforms. The extant literature reflects an increasing demand for employee resilience, yet despite widespread acknowledgement that employability is dependent upon a self-driven and evolving conceptual toolkit containing resilience and transferable skills, there remains a dearth of research into the complex, multi-faceted interrelationships between resilience and skills. Central to this research is an examination of the influence of degree apprenticeship programmes upon resilience development within this evolving generation of learners, and the potential limitations caused by wider influences that shape resilience across a range of occupational settings. The theory of resilience is therefore a highly relevant conceptual lens with which to explore the experiences of degree apprentices, their employers and the academic team within a UK Business School. This research is particularly distinctive in its adoption of a qualitative approach to investigate the impact of situational influences upon resilience by incorporating a range of settings and professions. It provides a holistic evaluation involving multiple stakeholder perspectives to produce a contemporary view of funded HE work-based learning programme provision. The use of qualitative methods has added depth to the data, through the provision of rich and thick description to illustrate correlations between the characteristics and behaviours demonstrated by resilient students, highlighting the broader influences of environmental factors upon resilience. As such, this research makes an original contribution to the extant body of knowledge over the conceptualisation of resilience, revealing new insights into the influence of background and upbringing, goal setting and leadership competencies. Previously unexplored contextual tensions emerge, revealing challenges to educational providers’ perceptions of innovative pedagogies and exposing weaknesses in current practice. Together the findings and recommendations offer the opportunity to develop effective pedagogic practice, transferable to any work-based programme across a range of disciplines, further increasing the significance of this study.