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Student perspectives on foundation degrees: employment skills and work-based learning

Student perspectives on foundation degrees: employment skills and work-based learning

Huntington, James (2009) Student perspectives on foundation degrees: employment skills and work-based learning. EdD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This thesis examines students' perspectives of Foundation Degrees, employment skills and work-based learning. It questions whether the primary remit of higher education should be the development of vocational skills for the workplace. It investigates: firstly, the perceived benefits to individuals undertaking a Foundation Degree in terms of developing appropriate employment related skills; secondly, whether the compulsory work based/related learning element, seen as the cornerstone of Foundation Degrees, provides students with the relevant skills for the workplace; thirdly, the assumption that the government's multiple-agendas of widening participation in education, as a means to improve social inclusion; upskilling the workforce; working collaboratively with employers and further education colleges, can be met through provision of shortened higher education degree programmes.

Results from three research studies, indicate that students felt that undertaking a Foundation Degree would improve employment prospects; improve employment promotion prospects and develop employment skills. Students also felt the Foundation Degree prepared them for the third year of an honours degree programme. However, findings relating to whether the compulsory work-based learning element of the Foundation Degree provided students with the relevant skills for the workplace were inconclusive. The studies also found that, despite its compulsory nature, not all of the Foundation Degrees from which respondents were surveyed had a work-based learning element as part of the programme. The implications of this are that the work-based learning element is not being used to promote employer engagement in the manner that the government intended. The research also revealed that employers were not engaging in formal assessment of the Foundation Degree programme, neither were they providing mentoring for employees undertaking this form of study. This represented a missed opportunity for true engagement with employers in a manner that could help to bridge the divide between academic qualification and vocational relevance. A number of recommendations are made.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: student perspectives, foundation degrees, employment skills, work-based learning, student experience, higher education,
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Education
School of Education > Department of Professional Learning & Development
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:20

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