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Beyond employer engagement and skills supply: building conditions for partnership working and skills co-production in the English context

Hodgson, A; Spours, K; Smith, D; Jeanes, J; (2019) Beyond employer engagement and skills supply: building conditions for partnership working and skills co-production in the English context. Journal of Education and Work , 32 (1) pp. 36-51. 10.1080/13639080.2019.1593331. Green open access

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Abstract

Education providers and employers working together to prepare young people and adults for employment is internationally accepted as a key factor in effective technical and vocational education. In the English context, however, we argue that two related orthodoxies have prevailed – ‘employer engagement’ and ‘skills supply’ – in which education providers have striven to gain employer involvement in their programmes and meet their skills needs. The effectiveness of these twin orthodoxies has been limited by the ‘New Low Skills Equilibrium’ (NLSE) involving a symbiosis of weaknesses on both the education and employer sides. The article draws on findings of a two-year research and development programme in East London which explored the process of education-employer partnership working to support inclusive growth in key economic sectors. The research suggested that this aim was best supported by processes of ‘co-production’ that actively involved both partners in attempting to address features of the NLSE. The research also pointed to constraining factors. The article concludes by identifying the conditions required for the realisation of co-production approaches that include the development of new collaborative structures – High Progression and Skills Networks (HPSNs) – involving a wide range of social partners at the local and regional levels.

Type: Article
Title: Beyond employer engagement and skills supply: building conditions for partnership working and skills co-production in the English context
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13639080.2019.1593331
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2019.1593331
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Education-employer partnerships, further education colleges, skills, employer engagement, England
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081998
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