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Co-genT Project Frameworks Assembly

26 January 2010

The Co-genT project team hosted a face-to-face workshop on frameworks at the University of Gloucestershire (UoG) Oxstalls campus on 26 January 2010. The event was organised in collaboration with the University of Wolverhampton’s ePPSME Project team, and we were also joined on the day by colleagues from UCLAN’s Telstar Project.

The event began with a context-setting presentation from Professor Stephen Hill (Director of Teaching and Learning Innovation, UoG), focusing on the impact of Government policy directives within the sector and how institutional frameworks have been developed by UoG in partnership with other bodies to facilitate employer engagement and a ‘demand-led’ marketplace in HE (http://resources.glos.ac.uk/tli/lets/projects/cogent/index.cfm). The assembly moved on to discuss the theoretical and practical issues of relevance to the Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development strand of projects which need to be addressed if HEIs are to be able to meet the expectations generated by national initiatives.

The assembly considered in detail how key factors impact on the negotiation process with employers, such as the definition of co-funding, the need for standardised contract terms, flexibility to accommodate changes in circumstances and the requirement for a clear return to the employers on their investment. From an academic viewpoint, there is also a need to add value rather than simple aggregate credits, and ensure that the quality of provision is consistent across both work-based learning and standard course modules in terms of the depth of learning appropriate to HE level. The assembly also discussed structural and cultural factors within institutions, and the imperative to ensure sustained financial viability of teaching and learning models within a context of substantial and continuing cuts in public funding.

It was recognised that employer engagement is still a relatively new venture in many areas of HE. A pedagogy needs to be established for work-based learning to define and discuss its principles and values, and a solutions-orientated approach is required to address the many practical issues involved. The assembly suggested that the Higher Education Academy Subject Centres could take a lead role in facilitating progress, eg by providing seminars and publications to support employer engagement across the sector.

A full report on the Frameworks Assembly is available on the Co-genT project website at http://resources.glos.ac.uk/tli/lets/projects/cogent/

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