Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

Our team

Susan James Relly


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Susan James Relly is based in the Department of Education, University of Oxford.

Her research interests include: theories of learning, school-to-work transitions, VET systems, apprenticeship, work-based learning, on-the-job and off-the-job training, and low skill/low wage work.

Current research projects include working with Ewart Keep examining models and theories of recruitment and selection (R&S) to try to understand R&S practices as a critical point in mediation and exchange between the labour market, a job and government policy.

Susan is the Principal Investigator of an ESRC funded research project (RES-000-22-4343) titled, ‘Graduates on the property ladder: Skills, work and employment in a graduatising industry’ researching the supply of graduates into the labour market and the impact on a focus profession: real estate agents. Susan has recently completed work on a study of low skill, low wage occupations, focussing on food processing operatives and room attendants in hotels in England, funded by the American-based Russell Sage Foundation. She was also involved in the second phase of this project which compared and analysed low wage work in the food processing industry, particularly meat and confectionary processing, in five European countries and the USA.

Susan supervises master and doctoral students in the areas of her research interests. Susan can be contacted by email at: or by phone on: 01865 611007.

James Robson

Associate Director

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James Robson is the Associate Director for SKOPE and Departmental Lecturer in Higher Education at the Department of Education, Oxford University. He is course leader for the MSc in Higher Education and co-impact lead for the department.

James has spent more than a decade working in educational policy and research funding. His current research focuses on the intersection between higher education, professional learning and training systems; skills supply and demand, employability, and graduate labour markets; digitalization; and social mobility.

He is currently leading a project examining Humanities’ graduates’ labour market outcomes, focusing on how individuals navigate the labour market and respond to evolving skills demands in the face of rapid technological and social change.

James can be contacted by email at: or by phone on: 01865 274044

Prof Ewart Keep

Emeritus Professor

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Ewart Keep is based at the Department of Education, Oxford University.

His research interests include: lifelong learning policy, learning organisations, training for low paid workers, the design and management of education and training systems, employers’ attitudes towards skills and what shape these, recruitment and selection activity, how governments formulate skills policy, higher education policy and the nature of the linkages between skills and performance (broadly defined).

He is currently working on the role of recruitment and selection as a source of skills and the feedback signals that employers’ patterns of recruitment send to the learner; future research priorities in the field of E&T, and how English policy makers conceive of skills policy and its linkages to other policy domains. He is a member of the Scottish Funding Council/Skills Development Scotland joint Skills Committee, HEFCE’s Strategic Advisory Committee for Enterprise and Skills, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ Policy Expert Group, and the Scottish Government’s Skill Utilisation Leadership Group. He has provided advice and consultancy for the National Skills Task Force, DfES, DTI, DBIS, H M Treasury, the Cabinet Office, House of Commons and Scottish Parliament committees, the Welsh Employment and Skills Board, Skills Australia, and the governments of Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand.

Ewart can be contacted at, Office: 01865 274045, Home: 01684 561484.

Prof Ken Mayhew

Founding Director

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Ken Mayhew is the Founding Director of SKOPE and the Emeritus Professor of Education and Economic Performance at University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Economics at Pembroke College.

He is a labour economist and has published widely in this area. His research interests include: the economics of education, with particular emphasis on higher education; organisational strategy and the choice of product specification, associated production processes and human resource management practices; the measurement and the meaning of skill; the workings of the labour market; productivity; distributional outcomes.

Currently he is working on: an international project on changing social models and their impact of change on the labour market; unemployment in OECD countries; skills, productivity and performance; the distributional outcomes of the expansion of higher education and its impact on vocational training; the alleged polarisation of the UK labour market and the implications for education and training.

Ken is chair of an Advisory Committee for the OECD’s PIAAC survey, which is currently in the field, and a member of the international advisory committee for the OECD’s LEED project. In recent years he has advised the DfES, the DTI, the European Commission, as well as a number of skills agencies at home and abroad. He is an editor of Oxford Economic Papers and of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, as well as being a member of the editorial board of the Oxford Review of Education.

Ken can be contacted by email at: or by phone on: 01865 611010.

Dr Adam Saunders

SKOPE Research Fellow

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Dr Craig Holmes

SKOPE Research Fellow

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Craig Holmes is a labour economist and Departmental Lecturer in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. Prior to that, he was a Teaching Fellow in Economics at Pembroke College, Oxford. He has previously been a research fellow in the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance at the Oxford University Department of Education and a senior researcher in the Employment, Equity and Growth project at the Oxford Martin School. He completed his D.Phil in Economics in 2012.

His recent research has focused on earnings inequality, social and occupational mobility, economic growth and the economics of education, particularly focused on higher education and skills policy in the UK. He has particularly been focusing on the impact of new technology, how this affects both the structure of occupations in a labour market and the design and requirements of the jobs that are available in the workplace, and what this means for wages, progression and skill utilization. He is currently working on a comparative project on young people not in employment, education and training alongside research teams in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan.

Dr Maia Chankseliani

SKOPE Research Fellow

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Maia Chankseliani is Associate Professor of Comparative and International Education at the Department of Education and a Fellow of St Edmund Hall.

Maia’s primary area of expertise is post-secondary education – workforce development/employability, higher education access, adult education and training.

She has also been engaged with primary and secondary education-related projects on child labour in Ghana, public-private partnerships in Africa, teacher educators’ professional development in Pakistan, civic education in Georgia, creative partnerships in England, and gender equality in Mozambique. She has worked on issues of labour market research in Georgia and civil service modernization in Kazakhstan.

She played a key role in research on Developing and Understanding Vocational Excellence (DUVE). The research incorporates two overlapping studies focusing on young people who compete in international skills competitions.

Ashmita Randhawa

SKOPE Research Officer

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Ashmita Randhawa is a SKOPE Research Officer and a DPhil candidate at the Department of Education. Her research interests include: : STEM and digital skills and the labour market; education policy; innovative models of secondary and higher education

Ashmita holds a BSc in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and an MEd in Education Policy and Leadership Studies from Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development.Prior to starting her Master’s degree, she worked as a formulator and project manager at Procter & Gamble, where she was involved in multiple outreach projects for the development of STEM skills in youngpeople.

She is near completion of her doctoral studies at Oxford’s Department of Education at the University of Oxford. Alongside her PhD, she has worked on research projects examining the impact of policy on innovation in education, and on a community outreach programme that seeks to empower highly marginalised young women to transition them into education, employment or training through the development of digital skills.