The meaning of HE in developing professional identities: some reflections on workbased foundation degrees and skill utilisation

Edmond, Nadia; Little, Brenda and Reeve, Fiona (2010). The meaning of HE in developing professional identities: some reflections on workbased foundation degrees and skill utilisation. In: SRHE Annual Research Conferenc 2010, 14-16 Dec 2010, Newport.

URL: http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2010/abstracts/012...

Abstract

In a climate of financial constraint there is increasing pressure on HE to justify its draw on the public purse. Viewing HE as investment in raising the skill level of the workforce raises the question of the effectiveness of that investment and understanding effective skill utilisation is therefore critical. In this paper, the authors argue that the relationship between experience, education and skill utilisation is more complex than notions of skill acquisition suggest and skill utilisation depends not on the ‘possession’ of skills but on the dynamic interaction through social practices between individual factors and the social context. Drawing on empirical work in the context of part‐time Foundation Degrees the authors report on how HE can be instrumental in shaping and transforming identities at work and argue for the need to research the role of HE in mediating social practices in the workplace to support skill utilisation.

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