Is there a higher level skills gap that colleges can fill?

Reeve, Fiona and Gallacher, Jim (2018). Is there a higher level skills gap that colleges can fill? In: Gallacher, Jim and Reeve, Fiona eds. New Frontiers for College Education: International Perspectives. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 120–136.



Colleges in both Scotland and England are providers of higher education level learning, although the extent to which they make a significant contribution to mass higher education varies by country as well as by college. This chapter examines the extent to which this contribution is, and may be, vocational. It looks at the current and potential roles for colleges in providing occupationally relevant learning. The development of apprenticeships at higher education level is examined as a context where national policy is driving colleges towards engagement, but where a market ideology in England and a centrally-managed approach in Scotland may lead to diverging practices. While national agendas may be pressing colleges to participate in these new initiatives we note the challenges that they face in carving out a distinctive role. In assessing these challenges the importance of local understandings of sustained need and the value of relationships with employers are acknowledged.

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