Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

Phase 4 research programme

An over-arching aim of this Phase 4 research programme is to help formulate a ‘better set of questions’, and to re-frame policy problems within a wider context.

We will achieve this by building on our Phase 3 research programme  and through maintaining and extending our tradition for comparative research. We regard this as essential to any meaningful analysis. A key element to achieving the Phase 4 research programme is fostering research to be undertaken via PhD students and our post-doctoral researchers. It also remains our firm intention to develop new teaching offerings that can capitalise on the Centre’s research expertise, and which can help support a talent pipeline to help attract new doctoral students. As such we are offering two modules on the MSc Education (Higher Education) course in the Department of Education: Higher Education and the Economy; and Vocational Education and Training and Skills Policy.

Our Phase 4 research programme is guided by seven questions:

  1. What are the roles of, and preconditions for, trust within the design, governance and management of E&T systems?
  2. What constitutes ‘good’ performance within an E&T system (or any sub-component thereof), and what are the reasons for and consequences of multiple and sometimes conflicting definitions of performance and how it might best be measured and reported?
  3. What does skills policy, particularly as it pertains to post compulsory E&T, look like in an era of constrained resources – public and private?
  4. How can excellence in vocational learning be identified, nurtured, replicated and generalised in ways that are cost effective and possible within the broader context of the English/UK’s labour market, employment regime and E&T system?
  5. Within the skills system, where does higher education fit into wider policies and models of E&T’s interactions with economic success and social equity and mobility
  6. What is the nature, extent, and causes of the ‘STEM crisis’, and why does the labour market show few if any signs of adjusting to apparent ‘shortages’ by raising the rewards to study and working within STEM areas?
  7. Where do skills fit into broader policies around economic development, growth and innovation, and why is the approach adopted by the UK/English government so distinctive?

Among our current research projects that address one, or several, of these questions include:

  • The Developing and Understanding Vocational Excellence (DuVE) suite of projects lead by Susan James and Ken Mayhew;
  • Mapping the Skills Industry – Marketisation and Private Training Providers lead by Susan James and Maia Chankseliani
  • What happens now the funding has gone? lead by Ewart Keep
  • Skills and economic development in Oman lead by Ken Mayhew
  • The hourglass labour market and occupational mobility lead by Craig Holmes and Ken Mayhew
  • The nature of the UK graduate labour market lead by Gerbrand Tholen