Kubiak, Chris; Rogers, Anita M. and Turner, Annie
The learning experiences of health and social care paraprofessionals on a foundation degree.
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 29(3)
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Foundation degrees have been developed in the UK as a means of meeting the learning needs of paraprofessionals in health and social care and the services within which they work in a cost-effective fashion. Workplace learning is an intrinsic component to these degrees. Taking a socio-cultural perspective, this paper examines how the students' workplaces, life circumstances and sense of career trajectory shaped their learning experience and motivation. A small-scale evaluation study, using semi-structured interviews, focused on the learning experiences of a group of paraprofessionals enrolled in a foundation degree in health and social care. Data revealed fragmented employment patterns, underpinned by consistent vocational drives. While the study resonated with vocation, participants were ambivalent or lacked information about career progression. Workplace conditions, relationships and limited time shaped learning and coping strategies. A strategic and focused approach to student learning is required and includes attention to career pathways, workforce development strategy, the requirements of a range of stakeholders, workplace supervision and support for learning.
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