• Effective Management of the Tripartite Relationship of Educational Providers, Participants and Employers in Work Based Learning

      Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; University of Chester
      An increasing concern amongst many graduate employers has been the perceived poor quality of graduates entering employment. Some of the most common employer criticisms include a lack of commercial awareness, unrealistic work expectations and poor work readiness (Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 2011; Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) 2014). Moreover, many of the skills shortages observed amongst undergraduate students, appear to be equally common amongst postgraduate students, particularly given the forecast that one in seven jobs will require a postgraduate qualifcation by 2022 (Wilson and Homenidou 2012). The inference here is that the UK is likely to face a significant graduate and postgraduate skills gap by 2022 unless corrective action is taken. Growing concerns about business graduate skills are likely to force many universities to re-examine and reconfigure the content of, and their approach to, business education. This chapter focuses on the increasingly problematic and challenging postgraduate marketplace where universities not only face criticism regarding the skills levels of their graduates but where they also have to work hard to attract the most talented students and graduates. Here universities are not only competing against each other, but increasingly face a growing challenge from a range of private sector providers and employer-led graduate schemes. To gain a better understanding of if and how postgraduate provision is evolving to meet the needs of employers in the twenty-first century, we have adopted a ‘360 degree’, tripartite perspective of the postgraduate marketplace, exploring the interaction between the key players—students, employers and universities/educational institutions. Arguably, it is only when all three perspectives are brought together and understood fully, that it is possible to construct a sustainable postgraduate strategy and effectively locate learning in the workplace (Boud and Solomon 2001; Raelin 1997). In addition, this chapter examines the experiences and challenges of developing and managing an innovative 12 month intensive work based Masters programme (the Chester Business Master’s—CBM), which is located in the University’s Centre for Work-Related Studies (CWRS) and draws heavily on the core principles of reflective learning based around a negotiated learning contract. Here the strengths and weaknesses of the programme are examined through the ‘tripartite lens’ of the students, employer and university perspectives. The structure and key features of the Chester Business Master’s (CBM) are explored in more detail in a longitudinal case study presented later in this chapter.
    • 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.