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PLEASE NOTE that the text below is subject to change (11.5.22)



Ms Sarah Scowcroft, Leeds Trinity University

with Ricado Barker and Syra Shakir, Leeds Trinity University.

Using Film and The Aftermath Debate to Tackle Racism.




Using Film and The Aftermath Debate to Tackle Racism, when inducting new Degree Apprentices on to their programme of study at University within the introduction of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and its importance within the workplace. The first step is accepting there are problems, then doing something about it. This training is to be used alongside the film 'Re:Tension'. It clearly outlines the role and responsibility of Peers in accepting the existence of racism, then acting on this because they know it is wrong and challenging others who perpetrate discrimination and enforce the silence upon individual people of colour in not speaking out about their experiences. 



The film 'Re: Tension' was produced and directed by Ricardo Barker, Senior Professional Practice Fellow in Media at LTU as part of raising concerns over racial discrimination at university. This was a piece of work Ricardo had proposed to the university's Race Equality Charter Partnership (of which both Ricardo and Syra Shakir are key members).


Syra Shakir Senior Teaching Fellow in the Institute for childhood and education collaborated with Ricardo Barker to design and develop a Resource Toolkit to be used with the film to provide a formal training package on tackling racism in higher education and our response to the issues raised within the film. 


Sarah Scowcroft, Senior Work Based Learning Tutor and Programme Lead for The Supply Chain Leadership Professional Degree Apprenticeship within the Centre for Apprenticeships, Work Based Learning and Skills at Leeds Trinity University identified how this film and toolkit could be utilised with new apprentices and has worked with Syra and Ricardo to implement this. 


During the session introducing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, the film is screened and this then launches into the key role and responsibilities of peers, managers and policy makers within the apprentice’s organisations and their reactions to reports/ disclosures/ experiences of racial discrimination. They are then asked to reflect on what they have learnt and experienced in the session as well as reflect on their organisation’s strategies, policies and procedures in relation to EDI and whether they are adequate, as well as suggest ways as to how these can be improved based on the discussions which have taken place during the session with their peers. 


The toolkit which has been developed includes a Model/ theory which illustrates and epitomises the position of a person of colour in being trapped into this 'Forced Silence'; not being able to speak out about their experiences for fear of a hostile reaction and of painful repercussions. The theoretical model outlines the multiple levels of discrimination and again reinforces that change can only occur if we address the issues at the Peer level first, those who surround the individual person of colour, before then affecting change at the university level. Only by creating fractures at these levels, can any change ever take place at other levels; e.g. the Community and Wider Society. The focus of the training is to put the onus on everyone else. the Peers who surround the person of colour and moving away from the typical rhetoric; it is always the abused person who has to report, speak out and be the responsible for the actions of others essentially.


Dr Yan Mao, Louise Sutton, Academy Director and Dr Paula Nottingham,
Middlesex University and Consalia Ltd 

Exploring the use of learning communities of practice within a degree apprenticeship through university and partnership provision while incorporating the use of inclusive principles and practice


Learning communities and communities of practice (CoPs) are important aspects of the degree apprentice (DA) experience within higher education. DA programming differs to mainstream higher education programmes as the apprentices are ‘employees’ that spend most of their week working within an organisational setting. DAs in the United Kingdom are formally set 20% ‘off the job’ learning hours that include tuition as well as designated studies directly related to a job roles’ knowledge, skills, behaviours and values. 


This presentation looks at how concepts of learning within communities and inclusive practice have been nurtured within a DA programme to develop sustainable curricular and extra-curricular elements. As a part of ongoing research being undertaken using the BSc (Hons) Professional Practice in Business to Business Sales DA, this presentation focuses on how academic providers and partners work together to deliver inclusive tuition while considering the importance of learning communities of practice that must consider participation of employers and professional organisations. Inclusive practice includes requirements outlined in the new university strategic plan and in the Apprenticeship Standards. Emerging findings from recent apprentice/student questionnaires have indicated that apprentices, especially Generation Y and Z (McCrindle, 2014), are interested in how the providers might incorporate their insights about inclusive practice into their studies and professional practice.


The presentation includes reflections from the current Programme Leaders from Consalia Ltd. and Marketing Branding and Tourism and the past Programme Leader (Education) to consider practical recommendations that could be adopted within the learning communities of practice from a Sales area of practice perspective and deliberates on what more needs to be done to create a dialogue that promotes inclusion and diversity (CIPD, 2022) within the university context.

Dr Stan Lester, Stan Lester Developments

Reconsidering negotiated WBL in the digital age


The introduction and expansion of higher-level apprenticeships have had a positive effect on widening access to professional and organisational careers as well as in some fields to progression within professions (Lester & Bravenboer 2020; Lillis & Bravenboer 2022). However, this has been accompanied by a decrease in employer- and individually-negotiated programmes, as discussed by Talbot et al (2019). The reduction in negotiated work-based learning (NWBL) opportunities and decline in heutagogically-based HE raises questions about what opportunities have been closed down, for whom, and how these might be reopened in future. 


The development of NWBL in the 1990s and 2000s was fairly well-studied (e.g. Duckenfield & Stirner 1992, Stephenson & Saxton 2005, Lester & Costley 2010). These studies indicated that the main client groups for NWBL were different from those traditionally associated with either full-time higher education or apprenticeships. These were typically adults with substantial work experience, sometimes self-employed, and whose ambitions were often more associated with development within a broad role, business or organisational development, or following an individual career than formal progression in a profession or occupation. The need for individual or firm-specific programmes is also supported by more economically-focussed studies such as Burgoyne et al (2004) for managers in small firms. While there has been some use of apprenticeships to fill these gaps, the research quoted suggests that programmes based in preset standards and curricula are unlikely to be a good substitute for those in which the focus is negotiated and individually or locally driven. 


A barrier to wider adoption of NWBL is the cost associated with negotiation and support for individual learning. Early attempts at using digital means to streamline some of this – most notably the Ufi-Learndirect Learning through Work initiative 20 years ago – were only partly successful. Advances in digital technology and in its accessibility, and its widespread (if not always well-executed) use for online learning during the pandemic, suggest a way forward. Can the more intelligent use of ‘intelligent’ and accessible digital platforms make NWBL more inclusive and cost-effective for the 2020s?


Dr Rebecca Pratchett & Ms Sara Galletly, University of Swansea

Putting the human first: challenging the student-centred approach to work and learning on the covid frontline


At Swansea University, we provide part-time work-based learning programmes to registered healthcare professionals with at least 2 years' experience in healthcare. At the outset of the pandemic, our learners were thrown onto the frontline of the biggest public health crisis of the modern era. Many were redeployed to new roles, trained to manage critically ill patients, and manage new teams in new workplace settings. All the while, their wellbeing suffered as they worked long hours in covid-positive environments, living in fear of carrying the virus home to their family. Annual and study leave were cancelled across NHS Wales. To summarise, they had every reason to quit their studies and so we waited for the suspension requests to come in.


Yet, the opposite happened. Far from being disposable, their studies became a lifeline. Supervision meetings became their only opportunity to decompress outside of the workplace. It became a sanctuary, a space to reflect on their ‘unprecedented’ situation and for personal and professional growth. As a result, our approach changed, adapting to the evolving needs of our learners.


Within this talk we will critically reflect on our new approach, reviewing the ways in which our practice changed to provide a more inclusive learning environment for our learners on the covid frontline. We will outline the new humanistic approach we adopted and discuss how compassionate leadership played a key role in supporting both our learners and one another. We will discuss the role of both structure and flexibility in inclusive practice when considering how we can best support part-time learners. Finally, we will reflect on our own journey as a team, how our approach to facilitating learning has developed, and how we progress going forward with the human at the centre of everything we do.


Dr Louise Oldridge and Dr Joanna Booth, Nottingham Trent University 

“I’m doing it for me”: Supporting the experiences of ‘upskillers’ on the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.


Whilst existing literature documents experiences of mature students on traditional programmes in higher education (HE), extant literature fails to explore the unique experiences of degree apprentices in both on and off the job training (including academic study). In England, 47% of apprenticeships started in 2019/20 were by people aged 25 and over. Of particular interest are those literature classes as ‘upskillers’, that is apprentices with a diverse range of backgrounds and experience, who are seeking to advance their career through this programme. They tend to be mature students, and in the government’s evaluation of apprenticeships 2018-19 reported lower satisfaction levels than younger apprentices, with lack of support from training providers impacting this figure. 


Literature (Fragoso et al, 2013) on mature students generally in HE describes them facing barriers to participation, including paid work, family/caring responsibilities, confidence, institutional and social class concerns.  However, care must be taken not to homogenise mature students.  Smith et al (2021) explored trajectories into apprenticeships across six universities in Scotland, including ‘upskillers’, and reported mature degree apprentices often have more complex support needs and that a larger gap between previous study can lead to imposter syndrome.  Research (Fabian et al, 2021) has found that those not specifically recruited as apprentices reported challenges in learning and balancing work-life-study and calls have been made for universities to better understand their experiences.   


Inspired by a paper at last year’s conference presented by Iro Konstantinou and Elizabeth Miller of Pearson College, this paper will report back on initial findings of focus groups conducted with mature degree apprentices on the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. The outcomes of this exploratory project will provide an opportunity to understand the lived experiences of mature degree apprentices, benefits and challenges, their identities as both employees and students, and identify appropriate support mechanisms.  This will act as a basis to inform a more targeted learning and teaching policy, curriculum design and teaching practice. Indeed, we will also discuss some of the initiatives we have undertaken in seeking to support such apprentices specifically in the last 12 months, including appointing a dedicated apprenticeship Disability Officer, and study skills and Academic English support. 


Dr Helen Pokorny, University of Hertfordshire

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as a specialised pedagogy: inclusion and Degree Apprenticeships


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as a specialised pedagogy: inclusion and Degree Apprenticeships. Helen Pokorny, University Campus St Albans. It is interesting to note how the profile of RPL waxes and wanes with initiatives to bring together the world of work and academia. In 2007, HEFCE declared APEL [RPL] a national priority area in the context of provision developed with employers and employer bodies (Kewin et al., 2011). Originally, APEL [RPL] was a key feature of Foundation Degree frameworks. However, to date it remains a marginal practice in Higher Education even though the most efficient and effective route through Higher Education for a large proportion of adult learners would be one that recognises the considerable skills, knowledge and expertise gained through work. Perhaps as Bravenboer (2019) commented ‘…the incentive of meeting the ESFA apprenticeship funding rules will encourage universities to ensure that the entitlement to RPL is placed more centre stage.’ 


Introducing an individualised process into a system of mass higher education is problematic and RPL has traditionally been developed as an individualistic assessment process. More recently there has been a move to conceptualise RPL as a specialised pedagogy (Cooper et al., 2017; Brenner et al., 2021). Such a conceptualisation can support access to fast-track Degree Apprenticeships by cohorts of experienced learners seeking career development opportunities. It is also a move away from a tick box RPL exercise to that of academic judgements made within a pedagogical framework. 


This presentation discusses how a Degree Apprenticeship open to cohorts of mature learners, provides a specialised pedagogy that not only puts RPL centre stage but also creates a community of learners. For mature learners with complex lives Apprenticeships pose significant potential risks of time and self-esteem. Key to promoting successful engagement and progression has been the strong sense of learner identity gained through the recognition participants get from others as well as from assessors through this process (Pokorny and Fox, 2019).

Dr Elda Nikolou-Walker, Middlesex University 

International Dimensions Of Mediation /Inclusivity & The Workplace


This paper will examine the development of concepts and models in Mediation with particular reference to their international relevance and inclusive application in Professional Practice The content of the paper is drawn from the experience and expertise that Mediation as a pedagogical tool can offer, and will be concerned to examine ways in which new thinking and scholarly innovation can be applied in a paid, unpaid, and/or voluntary inclusive, work-based landscape. Mediative tools can offer a learning approach which can help focus on the relevance of the learning to participants in their work (paid/unpaid/voluntary). Thus, the participants can learn methods and methodologies for ‘connecting’ their (existing and/or potential) employment to wider societal and ultimately global networks and support systems that will improve inclusive delivery within their own professional practice, work-based context.

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