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Managing Degree Apprenticeships through a Work-Based Learning Framework – Opportunities and ChallengesThe Higher Education Institute (HEI) employer interface has attracted much attention in recent years, particularly in light of current dissatisfaction with graduate work-readiness. Concurrently, pressure upon new entrants to the workplace is accelerating through an unprecedented pace of change in technology, requiring currency of employability skills and resilience for individuals to adapt, thrive and perform effectively in an increasingly unpredictable global environment. In 2014 a new form of apprenticeship was proposed in England to simultaneously address these skills shortages whilst offering a genuine alternative to undergraduate degree programmes. Hailed as “the greatest opportunity ever seen for anyone concerned with skills and employment” (Jeffrey 2016, p.1) early HEI adopters have already successfully collaborated with employers to launch business management degree apprenticeships with initial cohorts nearing completion of their first year. The chapter proposed here is therefore highly significant for two reasons. The first is to inform HEI practice and pedagogic development, particularly in terms of work-based learning degree apprenticeship design and delivery within the new political apprenticeship reforms, which are attracting renewed interest across the globe. This is one of the first evaluations to be published upon this type of programme, affording a unique opportunity to explore how pedagogic approaches to building graduate employability can be improved. Secondly it considers the effectiveness of the emerging generation of work-based business degree apprentices in terms of performance, retention and engagement as a result of well-developed employability skills. This degree apprenticeship challenges academically led, full time provision with a 20% off the job learning model. An explicit employer led focus cumulates in a separate synoptic end point assessment, altering the fundamentally traditional approach to embedding employability skills into something far more tacit in nature, through negotiated projects, reflective learning and employer mentoring. In order to examine the effectiveness of this new pedagogic approach, the chapter focuses upon the design and development of a business management degree apprenticeship. It explores current literature concerning work-based learning pedagogy and reflective practice, the role of the employer as a mentor and the development of employability skills. It incorporates an exploratory case study based upon one of the earliest cohorts in England, collectively identifying a complex range of themes and issues for each stakeholder in designing and developing degree apprenticeships. The chapter concludes with recommendations for HEIs who wish to take advantage of this new and fast changing political agenda through their own development of similar, highly innovative and lucrative initiatives.
Research Policy and Practice Provocations – Towards Research that Sparks and ConnectsThe Research Policy & Practice Provocations reports offer a forum to engage in cooperative curiosity and to question some of the underlying assumptions our profession may hold about itself and about coaching and mentoring research. We hope you find some new energy, sparks, creative insight and connectivity by engaging with this new series. We extend a warm welcome to another opportunity to co-create our future profession. The first in the series, the June 2016 Research Policy & Practice Provocations Report aims to influence how we think about and how we conduct coaching and mentoring research. This report shares: 1. A snapshot of a study to investigate the perceived ‘gap’ between scholarly research in coaching and mentoring and the reality of everyday practice, and 2. Provocative ways of potentially responding to and dealing with the results of the survey – in terms of EMCC, researchers, and practitioners...
The challenges of managing degree apprentices in the workplace: a manager’s perspectiveThis 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.