Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 30 September 2013


Helyer, R. (2013), "Editorial", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 3 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-07-2013-0011



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Volume 3, Issue 3

Welcome to the third issue of the third volume of Higher Education Skills and Work-Based Learning (HESWBL), the official journal of UVAC (the University Vocational Awards Council). Since taking over as Editor in September I have been excited to witness the journal's growing international reputation for publishing high-quality academic and practitioner-focused papers. What we publish offers a broad coverage of activities and innovation across the higher level skills landscape, with particular emphasis upon the interface between higher education and the workplace.

The content of this issue is no exception, offering relevant and diverse reading material, including a submission from Professor Carol Costley, one of the UK's foremost authorities on work-based learning. Together with Sabina Siebert, Professor Costley's paper, “Conflicting values in reflection on professional practice” examines the use of reflection as a tool of enquiry within the context of higher education work-based learning and investigates how reflection on professional practice, brings about a review of the values underpinning that practice.

Using data gathered from undergraduate work-based students the paper demonstrates how these students are subject to pressures and demands (sometimes conflicting) from themselves, their employers and the university.

These research findings have implications for work-based learning professionals both in higher education but also in the workplace. There is some strong evidence presented for all stakeholders to work more closely together.

Staying with the theme of collaboration Karen Burrows and Nick Wragg's paper, “Introducing enterprise – research into the practical aspects of introducing innovative enterprise schemes as extra curricula activities in higher education” – discusses how graduate students, their lecturers and business can work closely together to improve graduate employability, with a focus on enterprise as a way to enhance the curriculum and allow graduates to distinguish themselves.

The paper offers an overview of government policy and other related literature, and investigates the theory/practice balance of HE level learning. The dearth of enterprise modules within degree programmes is debated and particular attention is given to the benefits of the social enterprise model. A case study about the creation of a “Student Enterprise Committee” is used to put these ideas in a real-life context. The students involved are from all stages of a BA (Hons) Business Management degree at the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education University Centre (UCG). The paper highlights how CPD and lifelong learning can be fostered.

Whilst a body of writing exists debating ways in which to strengthen the relationship between workplace learning and lifelong learning, how countries in the European Union might use lifelong learning in relation to disadvantaged groups is not so well covered. James Ogunleye, in his paper, “Workplace learning as a linchpin of Europe's lifelong learning policy” explores just this issue, with particular reference to those with enduring mental illness. The paper provides a review of relevant literature and EU policy documents together with the results of a survey of mental health practitioners.

On a connected issue Mark Richardson and Kelly McCarthy in their paper, “Understanding the challenge of a widening access framework within mental health” discusses the widespread nature of mental illness and the importance of increased learning opportunities to the recovery and future well-being of sufferers. The development of a student identity for these particular learners can act as a powerful tool in their road to recovery and especially in making individual choices towards meaningful employment, which may come via a combination of activities such as guided reflection on circumstances; taking into account experiential learning and day-to-day learning activities which lead to the building and progression of skills.

Again with a view to widening access – Irma Tikkanen, in her paper, ‘Developing a teaching restaurant as an R&D&I environment” discusses the potential for a teaching restaurant to facilitate learning across differing types of student, by focusing on a constructivist pedagogy through the four internal environments of the teaching restaurant, which are learning; development; research; and innovation. An embedded case study of one particular organisation developing a pedagogical model of “Learning by developing” is used to illustrate the method, alongside empirical data which has been collected from both students and tutors. The findings make some interesting comments on teamwork.

B.T. Sampath Kumar and G. Manjunath also question both researchers and tutors and share their findings in “Internet use and its impact on the academic performance of university teachers and researchers: a comparative study”. This comprehensive study debates the academic performance of teachers and researchers in the university environment when internet usage is deemed a crucial part of their work. The data gathered is of interest to those aiming to enhance internet facilities for effective and efficient use by lecturers and researchers. One of the suggestions of the study is the need to focus on opportunities for providing enhanced training on the use of advanced internet search skills to the academic community, especially if HE is to collaborate further with business.

I hope the collected papers are useful and interesting to you, they certainly all offer some substantial food for thought.

The UVAC annual conference “accrediting professional competence and higher apprenticeships at degree level – new models of learner recruitment and employer engagement for the 21st century” will be held in York (UK) on 26 November 2013. The conference aims to explore the latest developments in the accreditation of professional competence, for example, the technical knowledge, understanding, values and skills required to perform a specific job role, and will also particularly focus on bachelors and masters degree-level apprenticeships and work-based and vocational routes to professional job roles and professional registration and membership, across a range of sectors.

More information on the conference, including how to book, can be found on the conference webpage. We encourage, and will support, colleagues developing papers from the conference for possible submission to a future edition of HESWBL.

Since our last issue the emerald Literati awards for 2013 have been announced and the winners for HESWBL are as follows.

Outstanding paper

“An examination, evaluation and analysis of work-based learning leadership within a higher education setting” – Elda Nikolou-Walker, Hugh Curley (pp. 186-200) – Volume 2, Issue 2.

Highly commended paper(s)

“Employer responsive provision: workforce development through work-based learning” – Tracey White (pp. 6-21) Volume 2, Issue 1.

“Can work-based learning programmes help companies to become learning organisations?” – Kevin Ions, Ann Minton (pp. 22-32) Volume 2, Issue 1.

“Employability skills development in Greek higher education institutions (HEIs): implications for policy makers” – Antonios Panagiotakopoulos (pp. 141-150) – Volume 2, Issue 2.

Social impact award

“Building a bridge to the professions: establishing higher apprenticeships as a recognised alternative route to high skill careers in the professional services” – Matt Hamnett, Alexandra Baker (pp. 322-329) – Volume 2, Version 3.

Outstanding reviewer/s

Dr Helen Corkill, University of Bedfordshire

Peter Revill, University of Derby Corporate

Congratulations to all of our winners, for more details about the awards click this link: www.emeraldinsight.com/literati

Volume Four's special issue in 2014 is to focus on “Professional Doctorates” and be edited by Guest Editors Dr Gail Sanders, University of Sunderland, UK and Dr Rosemarye T Taylor, University of Central Florida, USA. Further details can be found here: Call for Papers.

I want to include our readers in the future development of the journal so please feel free to contact me at mailto:r.helyer@tees.ac.uk with any ideas or comments and please do continue to submit your fascinating work. Details of how to submit via the online portal are included inside of the back cover.

However, I am also happy to view abstracts of papers initially via my e-mail address if this would help. We are always keen to recruit suitable reviewers for the journal, if you would like to get involved please send me some details of your profile and areas of expertise.

The journal could not publish such high quality submissions without the expertise and energy of our current team of reviewers and I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have freely given their time and attention to the papers appearing in the three issues making up Volume 3, sincere thanks to:

  • Pauline Armsby

  • Lydia Arnold

  • Matthew Bromley

  • Helen Corkill

  • Carol Costley

  • Alison Felce

  • Paul Gibbs

  • Catherine Irving

  • Bill Jones

  • Madeleine King

  • Ann Minton

  • Susan Oosthuizen

  • Ann Read

  • Peter Revill

  • Sabina Siebert

  • Renata Szczepanik

  • Peter Treadwell

  • Anita Walsh

We are very lucky to have such a dedicated group of experts forming our panel of reviewers and helping us to locate and develop excellent research.

Very Best Wishes

Ruth Helyer
Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK