Vocational higher education - does it meet employers’ needs?

Little, Brenda; Connor, Helen; Lebeau, Yann; Pierce, David; Sinclair, Elaine; Thomas, Liz and Yarrow, Karen (2003). Vocational higher education - does it meet employers’ needs? Learning and Skills Network, London.


This report is the outcome of a study funded by the Learning and Skills Council, the Department for Education and Skills, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Council for Industry and Higher Education. The study was undertaken at a time when government policies for higher education included a new ‘push’ towards work-related higher education, and educational policies more generally were seeking to redress the balance between academic and vocational qualifications at various levels within the compulsory and post-compulsory education and training systems in England.

One part of the study re-analysed existing data sources to explore the size and nature of vocational higher education provision in England. The main part of the study was an exploration of employers’ views (in a limited number of employment sectors) on the value of vocational higher education for recruitment and workforce development purposes. To complement the ‘employer view’ a limited investigation of the ‘direct consumer’ view (i.e. students on vocational higher education programmes) was also undertaken.

The report highlights a series of key issues for policymakers, and also makes recommendations for improvements to data collection.

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