Understanding the relationship between learning and work is a key concern for educational researchers and policy makers at the local, national and international level. The way that learning and the economic environment are framed impacts upon policy and funding decisions and has significant implications for the HE sector. The purpose of this paper is to explore how internships have become a key site in which policy and funding mechanisms seek to address concerns about graduate employability and graduate skills in relation to Scottish national economic plans and perceived business needs.
Drawing from five years data generated from the Third Sector Internships Scotland programme, the authors adopt an approach to the analysis of policy and internship experiences based on a spatial perspective. The authors explore two spatial arenas in play; the conceptual space where discussion and policy making occur and the physical places of education and the workplace where learning takes place. The authors trace shifts in the policy and funding of higher education internship and work placement schemes and consider how these shifts respond to internship experiences of the workplace.
The authors argue that changes within the conceptual and physical spaces intersect and that identifying contrasts and overlaps helps them to focus on particular questions about how internships develop learning for students.
Taking the national approach within Scotland as a bounded case offers a unique opportunity to explore the ways in which internships have played an increasingly significant place as a pedagogic device operating at the borderlands between educational organisations and the physical spaces of employment.
Funding for the development and delivery of Third Sector Internships Scotland (2010-2015) was provided by Scottish Funding Council. The SCF funding also included support for project-related evaluation, scholarship and dissemination activity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Scottish Funding Council or represent their views.
Pegg, A. and Caddell, M. (2016), "Workplaces and policy spaces: insights from third sector internships Scotland", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 162-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-07-2015-0039Download as .RIS
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