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Open Access Vocational Education in the 'Sharing Economy', and the Changing Nature of Professionalism

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Architecture is a vocational programme, leading to membership of the profession of architecture. The education of Architects in the UK is conducted in universities, but HEI funding incentives and industry aspirations for future professional practice are not aligned. In pursuit of funding and league-table recognition, HEIs seek to appoint PhD-qualified, specialist candidates to permanent academic posts. Meanwhile, government and industry policy pushes in the direction of collaborative practice, supported to some extent by institutional accreditation criteria requiring generalist abilities and holistic industry awareness. From this viewpoint, the widespread recruitment of the part-time tutor is clearly essential. The input of practising tutors is required to deliver the industry aspirations for professional education.

This paper will outline recent developments leading to the current explosion in zero-hours contracts, and then further expand the argument by considering the future nature of professionalism. Vocational education, and its professional accreditation, is predicated on the assumption that professions are static, specialised groups, operating within a defined spectrum of engagement. This presumption of stasis in future economic transactions is not logical in a rapidly expanding sharing economy. The increasingly collaborative, complex construction industry in contemporary society requires instead, the engagement of agile, networked, cross-disciplinary professionals.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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