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Work-based learning in the UK: scenarios for the future

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Abstract:

Purpose ? Aims to consider scenarios created by work-based learning (WBL) providers in the Tees Valley in the UK Design/methodology/approach ? The context of WBL is examined in relation to the notion of the skills gap. The method of scenario development is described Findings ? A key task of WBL is to raise the skills levels of young people. WBL providers who deliver over 80 per cent of work-based, vocational learning across the UK. However, the future of such providers is becoming very uncertain and already their numbers are declining as funding cuts and quality inspections begin to bite. The context of WBL is examined in relation to the notion of the skills gap. Four scenarios are presented of the future of WBL with implications for the present. Practical implications ? Of major concern is the persistence of the low skills equilibrium in UK which will continue to affect the attitudes of learner and the decisions of employers. It becomes necessary to work with employers to consider how skill formation can be deepened. Originality/value ? This paper provides an insight into the views of WBL providers, caught between government requirements to tackle the UK skills problem and employers who define the skills required.

Keywords: Skills shortages; United Kingdom; Workplace learning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400910610692903

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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