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Personal change, job prospects, learning to ask why: students’ reflections upon the worth of their Foundation degree

Personal change, job prospects, learning to ask why: students’ reflections upon the worth of their Foundation degree
Personal change, job prospects, learning to ask why: students’ reflections upon the worth of their Foundation degree
This paper examines how emergent themes from a qualitative study are testing assumptions within a Foundation degree in health and care. As participants reflect upon their education in relation to employment, new directions for future inquiry are emerging.

Although the programme is well positioned to address economic drivers for higher-level workplace skills (Leitch, 2006), unpredictable, often hierarchical working environments mean employer support fluctuates. We anticipated issues such as poor job opportunities and resistance from professional colleagues, as the programme attracts mainly local, female students who seek career progression from low-paid caring roles.

Instead, early analysis suggests participants use personal change as their reference point and gateway to future employment (unlikely now to revolve around one employer or skill set). A symbiotic increase in knowledge, confidence and self-worth is described as transformative. A sense of ‘taking responsibility’ has encouraged the questioning of established practices, leading to reciprocal learning through work relationships indicative of ‘communities of practice’ (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Choice of modules within a broad curriculum is also valued as a means of developing greater capability (Fraser & Greenhalgh, 2001), contradicting some employers’ (and commissioners’) encouragement of early specialisation.

Following this early analysis, we discuss how employability as defined by Yorke & Knight (2004), is likely to conflict with employers’ objectives to upskill and retain what has been seen as a stable section of the workforce
Wintrup, Julie
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James, Liz
be680e71-1c03-4ac6-8586-574c9b3e3f91
Wintrup, Julie
9f1df4c7-aae8-4d0e-9176-8e33b7417370
James, Liz
be680e71-1c03-4ac6-8586-574c9b3e3f91

Wintrup, Julie and James, Liz (2008) Personal change, job prospects, learning to ask why: students’ reflections upon the worth of their Foundation degree. Valuing Higher Education, Liverpool, United Kingdom. 09 - 11 Dec 2008. 10 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

This paper examines how emergent themes from a qualitative study are testing assumptions within a Foundation degree in health and care. As participants reflect upon their education in relation to employment, new directions for future inquiry are emerging.

Although the programme is well positioned to address economic drivers for higher-level workplace skills (Leitch, 2006), unpredictable, often hierarchical working environments mean employer support fluctuates. We anticipated issues such as poor job opportunities and resistance from professional colleagues, as the programme attracts mainly local, female students who seek career progression from low-paid caring roles.

Instead, early analysis suggests participants use personal change as their reference point and gateway to future employment (unlikely now to revolve around one employer or skill set). A symbiotic increase in knowledge, confidence and self-worth is described as transformative. A sense of ‘taking responsibility’ has encouraged the questioning of established practices, leading to reciprocal learning through work relationships indicative of ‘communities of practice’ (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Choice of modules within a broad curriculum is also valued as a means of developing greater capability (Fraser & Greenhalgh, 2001), contradicting some employers’ (and commissioners’) encouragement of early specialisation.

Following this early analysis, we discuss how employability as defined by Yorke & Knight (2004), is likely to conflict with employers’ objectives to upskill and retain what has been seen as a stable section of the workforce

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FINAL VERSION-Fd presentation paper1 Julie Wintrup and Liz James - Other
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More information

Submitted date: 28 November 2008
Published date: 8 December 2008
Venue - Dates: Valuing Higher Education, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 2008-12-09 - 2008-12-11

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 65561
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/65561
PURE UUID: 09adac87-56d0-4b1d-8035-7c624adf28d7

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Date deposited: 23 Feb 2009
Last modified: 26 Feb 2019 17:34

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