Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

Our team

Prof Ewart Keep


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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.

Dr Susan James Relly

Deputy Director

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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.

Dr Hubert Ertl

Senior Research Fellow

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Hubert Ertl is a SKOPE Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor in Higher Education at the Department of Education, University of Oxford.

He is also a Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. He directs the Department’s MSc Programme in Higher Education.

His research interests include international aspects of higher education, vocational education and training, EU educational policies, the transfer processes between education and training and the world of work, and widening participation in higher education.

Hubert can be contacted by email at or by telephone on 0044 1865 274044.

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 Maia Chankseliani

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 has 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.

Dr Emily Murphy

SKOPE Research Officer

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Emily joined SKOPE in September 2016 as part of the UK team on an international Open Research Area (ORA) for the Social Sciences project, working on a comparative study of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Her area of research is economic sociology. Current research interests are social inequality in the labour market and education systems, links between unemployment and structural change, occupational mobility, youth transitions and skill development.

Dr Stephanie Wilde

SKOPE Research Officer

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Stephanie Wilde completed a PGCE (Modern Languages), MSc (Comparative and International Education) and an ESRC-funded D.Phil at the Department of Education, and has worked as a researcher on a number of projects, including the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training, and the Vocational Excellence project (

Her most recent work was as a qualitative researcher on the Mindfulness and Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD), research project, based at the Department of Psychiatry. This project examined key factors affecting the implementation of mindfulness in secondary schools.

Her current project is a comparative study of apprenticeship in various national contexts, funded by the Qatar Foundation.