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This article explores the extent to which aspiring entrants to the performing arts industry have to develop both the forms of vocational practice employers require and social capital to enable them to operate effectively in external labour markets (i.e. contract-based and networked-generated work). It focuses on the work of one college – the WAC Performing Arts and Media College – that has developed and designed together with industry partners a programme to help aspiring entrants to enter the performing arts industry. Concepts from social capital and situated learning theory are used to illustrate the way in which WAC: (i) has accumulated the expertise and networks over the years to create an integrated learning-teaching curriculum; (ii) uses this curriculum to develop participants' vocational practice and social capital and thus position them to make effective transitions into the performing arts' notoriously tricky labour market. It concludes by highlighting the implications of this analysis for UK education and training policy.
Studies in the Education of Adults is an international refereed academic journal, publishing theoretical, empirical and historical studies from all sectors of post-initial education and training. It provides a forum for the debate and development of key concepts. Studies in the education of adults is published by NIACE in association with the Standing Conference on University Research and Teaching in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), the Universities Association for Continuing Education (UACE) and the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA).