The purpose of this paper is to contend that collaboration between employers and universities in the design and delivery of programmes of work-based study is an effective way to align the higher-level skills needs of employers with the aspirations of individuals who wish to gain university qualifications in the workplace. In mapping the fluctuations of UK higher-level skills policy through workforce development to degree apprenticeships it is argued that the facility for employers and universities to co-design and develop degree apprenticeship standards should be extended to the development of Higher Apprenticeships in England.
The paper provides an analysis of a broad range of higher education (HE) skills related UK policy documents to map the fluctuations in policy that underpin the opportunities for employers and universities to collaborate in the design and delivery of HE programmes in England, including degree apprenticeships.
It is noted that the approach to collaborative employer-university development signalled for degree apprenticeships described in policy documents unhelpfully perpetuates the presumed distinction between “academic learning” and “on the job training”. However, it is also concluded that despite this, the rationale for co-design and delivery should equally apply to the development of all higher apprenticeships to ensure that the expertise that universities can bring in designing and assessing higher-level learning is not unnecessarily excluded from the process.
This paper provides value through its analysis of how the fluctuations of HE and skills policy has affected the basis upon which employers and universities can collaborate in the design and delivery of work-based HE including higher and degree apprenticeships in England. It also seeks to inform HE policy and practice in the development of employer-responsive provision.
Bravenboer, D. (2016), "Why co-design and delivery is “a no brainer” for higher and degree apprenticeship policy", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 384-400. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-06-2016-0038
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