Higher and degree apprenticeships in English higher education: : a policy implementation study

Graham, Sue and Tight, Malcolm (2019) Higher and degree apprenticeships in English higher education: : a policy implementation study. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The period 2010-19, which is the focus of this research saw several key policy developments in the skills and education arena which were to have a considerable impact on the higher education sector in England. These included an expansion of the apprenticeship programme to include higher (level 4 +), and then degree apprenticeships, a new employer-led method for designing the content and assessment and a major shift in the way the whole programme was funded. This research set out to identify the drivers, tensions and opportunities presented by government policy on higher/degree apprenticeships and how this affected universities in England. This was prompted by the increasing number of universities that decided to register and deliver apprenticeships – something that would have been unheard of at the start of 2010. As of 31st December 2018, 97 English universities had registered to deliver apprenticeships. The approach taken in this work was a qualitative study that used thematic analysis of relevant policy documentation triangulated with semi-structured interviews with policy informants (individuals holding a role related to policy production) and participants working in higher education responsible for delivering the policy. The themes that were identified related to policy intention and implementation, policy levers, programme design, learning, teaching and assessment and finally perceptions and attitudes. These themes were analysed drawing upon policy implementation theoretical frameworks including top-down and bottom-up implementation (Sabatier, 1986, Trowler, 2014a), policy networks and principal-agent theory (Gunn, 2015), change management (Fullan, 2003) and Saunders’ policy implementation staircase (Saunders and Reynolds, 1987, Saunders and Sin, 2014). The research found that tensions existed around the increasing role of neoliberalism, the purpose of HE in the 21st century, academic identity and resistance and cultural and systemic clashes. Opportunities and benefits identified included market opportunities for higher education, pedagogic and curriculum innovations and improved civic engagement and business partnerships.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? higher apprenticeship, degree apprenticeship, policy implementation, work-based learningeducation ??
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Deposited On:
18 Dec 2019 16:30
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:49