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Social mobility and professional development: A study of two pathways in higher education

Knapton, H and Diver, AR (2019) Social mobility and professional development: A study of two pathways in higher education. In: The Annual Conference for Research in Education – ACRE 2018 Conference Proceedings . pp. 20-24. (10th Annual Conference for Research in Education, 27th September 2018, Edge Hill University, Lancashire, UK).

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The main purpose of higher education is to deliver social mobility via acquired qualifications and a variety of ‘employability skills’. Government priorities bear this out, reflecting its policy of linking degree success to the UK’s future economic growth (Wolf, 2002) and highlighting how increased social mobility offers public and personal benefits. Moreover, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals require HEIs to consider ethical impacts upon the wider community, in terms of alleviating poverty and promoting social inclusion and equality1. In England, this is most clearly evidenced by the new Teaching Excellence Framework, with Student Outcomes used to help measure quality and ‘value’ of a University education. ‘Graduate employment’ is a key metric, so that the ability to generate ‘work-ready’ (Dhakal, et al. 2019), professionally ‘employable students’ and ‘ideal’ future employees (Allen et al, 2013) has become an over-arching concern within the sector. However, there is no generic blueprint that can deliver employability: ‘whole person models of experiential learning’ instead frame employability as ‘integrative, reflective and transitional’ (Eden, 2014: 266). As Newcombe and Moutafi (2009) argued, many employers now seek more than traditional ‘CV’-based displays of academic ability, seeking instead some evidence of professional ‘belongingness’ (Yorke, 2016) or ‘work attachment’ (Knight and Yorke 2003:5). Despite shifts towards the integration of employability within undergraduate study, the defining, embedding and delivering of evidenced employability continues to be difficult.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: higher education; social mobility
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Law
Publisher: Edge Hill University
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2019 10:54
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 15:17
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10916
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