Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 4 October 2011



Gibbs, P. (2011), "Editorial", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 1 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/heswbl.2011.50501baa.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited



Article Type: Editorial From: Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Volume 1, Issue 2.

This is the second issue of our journal and is no less exciting that the first. Since that issue was launched at the UVAC conference, some of the uncertainty over funding for higher education in the UK has been resolved in the HEFCE letter to institutions although not to the satisfaction of many in higher education. I am still amazed by the unsure data that government decisions are made on, whose only real validity is that they match the ideological decision already taken. Nor am I surprised by many institutions that rush towards the business practice of mergers, extending supply chain and segmenting marketing for products and services. This market-rather-than-education response to the economic woes seems to be the unquestioned reaction to the encroachment of extended consumerism in a world in turmoil, rather than focusing on the transformative benefits of higher education contextualised in the workplace.

It can be argued that a pragmatic approach to our economic woes is to build our workforce capacity as fast as possible and move that to market as fast as possible but, if we consider the end of education as economic efficiency, then much that has made education transformative, emancipating and important to humanity is lost and with it much of the justification for higher education institutions.

However, this is not the simple approach advocated in our commentary paper. Here, David Docherty explores how the enlightened development of skills and capabilities are much in demand by the employers of graduates. This commentary article is juxtaposed with Sabina Siebert's discussion of the role of work-based learning in trade unions. We then turn to three papers that address the changes that we face in developing workplace learning practice. Ruth Helyer, Barbara Workman and David Major reveal three approaches to recognising and rewarding workplace learning. Ruth looks at how we might better recognise skills revealed in the workplace, while Barbara talks about spreading and embedding work-based learning across all university schools and David talks about the recognition of those who deliver work-based learning through work-based learning wherever this is facilitated. From these practically based papers, we turn to Kevin Flint's conceptual aspects of our work to help us understand the mediation of “tacit knowledge” in developing professional expertise. Those anxious about Heidegger will find this article well worth their time.

We close the paper in this issue with two papers from Canada and Greece. These important contributions keep the blend of domestic and international contributions balanced, which is an important aspect intended for the journal. Lillie Lum and her colleagues offer us their insights into bridging education programmes that have been developed to enhance the ability of internationally educated professionals to access professional employment in Canada. Vasiliki Brinia offers us reflections on an empirical study that highlights the importance of the experience in the training process and links training with the social life of trainees. As in the first issue, we offer three book reviews on three new books by Paul Gibbs, Ron Barnett and Joe Raelin, each in its own way worthy of your attention.

As is the editorial policy of the journal, we close with reports from the keynote speakers at the 2010 UVAC conference and an early notification of this year's conference. We welcome other such notification of upcoming events.

All of us concerned with the publishing of the journal are grateful for the kind comments on the first issue and we hope to gain momentum with each issue but could not do this without our contributors and the willingness of our reviewers. Thank you.

Paul Gibbs

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