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Using the Knowledge Transfer Partnership approach in undergraduate education and practice‐based training to encourage employer engagement

Margaret Harris (School of Education, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK)
Colin Chisholm (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
George Burns (Department of Educational Studies, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 12 April 2013




The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual viewpoint which proposes the use of the post graduate Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) approach to learning in undergraduate education and practice‐based training.


This is an examination of the KTP approach and how this could be used effectively in undergraduate education and training to encourage and increase practice‐based learning and employer engagement. The methodology consists of a literature review, and a case study of the KTP approach. The literature reviewed examines the KTP approach, employer engagement in education and strategic government approaches to stimulate investment in knowledge and skills for workforce development, and the development of practice‐based learning in the UK. The KTP provides a case study to illustrate a successful model of employer engagement, which benefits all parties to it, and assists with the strategic development required by successive governments.


The suggestions are based on the authors’ investigation and their understanding and experience of: the KTP approach; practice‐based learning; undergraduate education; and learning and teaching approaches. The paper suggests that the KTP approach (normally a post‐graduate model) could be extended to undergraduate education to provide sustainable practice‐based learning that fits well with the strategies and ideologies of government, employers and academia.

Practical implications

Barriers to employer and academic engagement, such as that linked to the confused terminology used to describe practice‐based learning, and competing political ideologies, should be researched further to gain a better understanding of how to mitigate these in order to make the KTP approach in undergraduate education successful. The implications are that synergistic development of the KTP approach in an increased range of academic and workplace partnerships needs to be done before a fully tested model could be agreed.


The originality is the idea of utilising a well acknowledged post‐graduate model of learning within an undergraduate environment. The value is to increase the awareness of the benefits of the KTP and how the approach could be adapted for use in undergraduate environments for the eventual benefit of students, academics, employers and policy makers.



Harris, M., Chisholm, C. and Burns, G. (2013), "Using the Knowledge Transfer Partnership approach in undergraduate education and practice‐based training to encourage employer engagement", Education + Training, Vol. 55 No. 2, pp. 174-190.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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