Issues Arising from a Study of Workforce Development Policy in Higher Education

Jim Hordern


Initiatives to develop workforce development educational provision at the institutional level are widespread within UK Higher Education and have been increasingly encouraged by policy makers through HEFCE funding streams since the publication of the Leitch report in 2006. These activities aim to bring employers and Higher Education institutions together to develop work-based programmes that will meet sectoral skill requirements with an orientation towards knowledge that emphasises contextual specificity rather than ‘vertical’ disciplinary structure (Bernstein, 1999). The research project outlined here aims to explore key unresolved issues which relate to the relationship of workforce development provision to other institutional activities, how such provision achieves validity, and the dynamics of relationships between employer, employee and institution. As policy outputs are continually iterated by the contexts in which they are implemented (Barrett, 2004), the research approach focuses on sites of implementation, the intentions of policy actors, and the norms that characterise the environment into which policy is introduced.


Workforce Development, Knowledge, Policy Implementation

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