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Annual Conference 2018

PLEASE find the programme and presentations via this link

Key notes: Professor David Boud and Professor Ulf-Daniel Ehlers, Vice-President of EURASHE

Thanks to Prof Carol Costley for this reportage on the UALL Work and Learning 2018 Annual Conference


Creating Relevant Learning Experiences; employers’ involvement with higher education

Leuven, Belgium, 14 - 15 Jun 2018

The conference was a collaboration between EURASHE, the UK Universities Association for Lifelong Learning, Work & Learning network and the BEEHiVES project

Raimund Hudak’s Beehives project, with its newly completed project on cooperation and collaboration barriers between HVET/PHE institutions, employers/labour markets and students  contributed to our thinking on how to develop students with the knowledge and skills relevant for employability and personal development. The Work and Learning UK network with its 23 years of developments in research, learning and teaching in PHE courses and EURASHE with its European overview of PHE, came together in a unique event where we shared ideas, practice and a keen grasp on how we can develop future h.e. activity with employers and professional education with and for graduates and lifelong learners.

Different media helped us come to our understandings in a variety of ways. The Beehives workshop running through the first day, a broad set of papers within the themes of the conference, our stimulating speakers, a roundtable discussion on “Balancing expectations over Higher Education”, presentations from 6 the top 50 European University Business Collaboration projects, and opportunities for networking provided a thoughtful, well researched and useful  stimuli for delegates.   

There were two excellent two keynote speakers; Professor Dr David Boud with his wide, international and well informed perspectives on work and learning. Professor Dr Ulf-Daniel Ehlers with his engaging take on future skills needs in a fast changing world where there are constant changes and a need for flexibility.

One of the themes that ran through the two days of the conference were discussions about the kinds of knowledge needed for ‘work’. Trans or cross-disciplinary knowledge rather than disciplinary knowledge by itself were often referred to.  “Problems do not have disciplinary boundaries” said Ulf-Daniel. Rather than the conventional mode 1 disciplinary knowledge, Mode 2  knowledge (Nowotny et al 2003) is concerned with knowledge that is socially constructed,  transcending disciplinary boundaries, reaching beyond inter-disciplinarity and causing a need for university structures to change.

Skill sets for our ‘future-ready graduates’ involve not only knowledge of facts but also ‘a way of being’ in the world. Colleagues posed questions such as -How can this be taught or facilitated or advised?  What pedagogies and curriculum approaches are involved ? We had some stunning ideas and examples of the how and the what of these questions.

There were both national and institutional structural difficulties in implementing relevant learning experiences for graduates and for lifelong learners. Both sets of learners were addressed thoughout the conference. One structural difficulty mentioned were difficult financial models in Australia and in Germany. The way systems were set up were problems that were also brought up  by the Beehives project and Robert Wagenaar’s WEXHE project which found work-based learning less developed across a selection of EU countries than we might have hoped- “The infrastructure to support it is just not there”, they said.

The notion of partnerships was another cross cutting theme. Many brought up the three way connection between students, universities and businesses (or other non-h.e. organisations). Six University Business Collaboration (UBC)best practice case studies reflected some excellent examples. These were drawn from the European Commission’s top 50 cases which can be found here:

Clearly there is nowhere near enough practice of this kind going on across the sectors. There are many issues and challenges involved and as Helge from the student union pointed out “not everything is good”.

Recognition of Prior Learning – there was not a great deal on this topic which is of such significant consequence as experiential learning is key to good understanding of how we work in practice. It was however the subject of one of the papers and was also touched on implicitly quite a lot, for example with discussions about reflective and reflexive practice which would indicate a contemplation on some kind of experience.

I was heartened to see that colleagues referred to both their own publications and other literature on our field of interests.  A growing and impressive literature is being built up.  We were mainly Europe focussed but had a truly international perspective with statistics and in-depth studies from across Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, the U.S. and elsewhere.  Conference papers and presentations are on the EURASHE website and there will be a special issue of the work-based learning e-journal international.

Colleagues are expanding the field, changing and developing their own practices for both Business and Society. Of course employability is high on the agenda for people in the field of Work and Learning but colleagues were also placing their work sensitively within paid and unpaid work and reflecting the needs of society and communities. This is essential for us in this field in meeting diverse needs and that is what this conference clearly signalled.

Carol Costley

Director, Work and Learning research centre, Middlesex University


Nowotny, H., Scott, P. and Gibbons, M. (2003). ‘Mode 2 revisited: the new production of knowledge’, Minerva41, pp. 179–194. 

 UALL Work and Learning Network Annual Conference 2017

Leading the Way: Shaping Practice in the Workplace and the Academy

Friday 23 June 2017, Hendon Town Hall, London


Programme Agenda

9:30am            Registration and Refreshments

10:00               Introduction & Welcome                                                                    
Elda Nikolou-Walker and Paula Nottingham, Network Co-convenors, Middlesex University

                        Professor Carol Costley, Director IWBL, Middlesex University


10:15               Keynote

                        Marty Wright, Academic Head of School, Work Based Education, Glasgow

                        Caledonian University; ‘Leadership in the Academy’


11:15 - 1:00pm          Parallel Sessions


Committee Room 1

11:15 - 11:50 Sai Loo Using reconceptualization as a framework of teaching in vocational and professional education

11:50 - 12:25 Katrina Morrison Prison Officers’ learning in the Scottish Prison Service

12:25 - 1:00 Patrick Carmichael The undergraduate dissertation in the age of precocity: student enquiry in the liminal spaces between learning and work.


Committee Room 2

11:15 - 11:50 Zabin Visram (Ingrid Kanuga) A workshop exploring how intercultural competences can be incorporated within the curriculum

11:50 - 12:25 Caroline L. Smith (Sarah K. Coleman) Increasing accessibility of students to laboratory classes through the use of Virtual laboratory simulations

12:25 - 1:00 Brian Sutton and Dave Adams The Curious Practitioner... from reflective practice to critical collaborative inquiry


Committee Room 3

11:15 - 11:50 Claire Thurgate (Sarah Goodden) Working in partnership Nursing associate: a paradigm shift in partnership working?

11:50 - 12:25 Peter Critten (Carl Day) What does Business expect from an ongoing-partnership with Academia?

12:25 - 1:00 Ingrid Kanuga (Zabin Visram) Shared Leadership: what are your thoughts?


1:00     Lunch and Posters Shirley Allen/Phil Barter/Liz Beasley; Marit Due Langaas; Catherine Hayes; Mary Hartog/Chris Rigby; Marion McGowan 20 minutes for posters during lunch


2:00 - 2:50      Keynote                                                                                                 

                        Darryll Bravenboer, Deputy Director IWBL, Middlesex University;

                        'The role of Universities in developing and delivering apprenticeships'


3:00 - 4:00      Stakeholder Panel: Employer/Student/University: Elda Nikolou-Walker and Alison Felce (Chairs)


4:00 - 4:30pm Day Wrap-up and Future Planning

June 23 2017 Middlesex University

NEW UALL Work and Learning ANNUAL Conference DATE: FRIDAY June 23rd 2017

Conference will be at Middlesex University, London

First Call for Papers - email with any questions...

Information about Workshops:

Please note that workshops for the conference should be interactive with the audience. More instructions will be posted.

Information about Panels: we are planning to host two panels at the conference if possible, one with employers and one with

students/candidates. Concessions will be given for these attendees for (inc. ticket and lunch).

Information about Posters - the standard size is A1. The posters will be displayed throughout

and the authors can discuss their work over the lunch time period.

Directions to Campus:

Hotels nearby:

Hendon Hall

2016 UALL Work and Learning Network Annual Conference

Managing the diverse needs of higher education;

what are the implications of the changing nature of learning through work?

Friday 24 June 2016, University of the Arts, London

Comments/feedback from the conference:


‘Engaging, thought provoking and helpful’

‘A diverse selection of presenters from different organisations and institutions this year! Great!’

‘Clearly explained and practical application of WBL’


‘Best of all was the vibe and the discussions and exchange of ideas and support.’


‘It has been an enjoyable and insightful day and all papers were interesting and excitingly diverse’


Presentations demonstrated useful concepts and research, practical insights and thoughtful, simple challenge to paradigms.


Keynote Speaker: Professor Karen Evans

Chair in Education (Lifelong Learning) UCL Institute of Education


Keynote Title:

The Changing Nature of Learning through Work – ‘putting different forms of knowledge to work in practice’ 


Conference Themes:

  • workforce development, corporate degrees, and/or apprenticeships, as approaches that attempt to enhance prosperity and well-being by valuing people and organisations;

  • the changing role of higher education that embraces work and learning;

  • the opportunities and challenges of facilitating and sharing practice e.g. the use of technology in learning and the upcoming teaching excellence framework.


The conference included a special session on ‘Publishing in the Field of work and Learning’ from Professor David Boud and Professor Carol Costley


Improving Workplace Learning by Teaching Literature by Christine Angela Eastman (Springer) 2016


The UALL Work and Learning Network Annual Conference – previous year



Work & Learning: Innovation, Evaluation and Dissemination within the Workplace & the University

Friday 26 June 2015, Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre, London


Keynote Speaker: Professor David Boud

Emeritus Professor

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

University of Technology, Sydney


Keynote Title:

How would university courses differ if we took the needs of professional practice seriously?

Higher education courses don’t need to meet the needs of work, but many of them seek to do so. However, they are based around models derived from the academic disciplines. This presentation explores what courses might look like if we attended to the nature of work and the practices that graduates engage in and rethought our courses accordingly.

The UALL Work-based Learning Network Annual Conference – previous years



Work Based Learning: Flexible Learning Opportunities and Challenges

14 July 2014, University of Westminster, London


The conference aims to explore the notion of flexibility in the context of work based learning and to highlight the opportunities and challenges posed for by key stakeholders including learners, academic staff, higher education institutions, employers and professional bodies.



Exploring Work Based Learning through Theory and Practice

11 – 12 April 2013, Birkbeck, University of London, London


The conference is not about separating out theory and practice but about blending it in pragmatic ways which has strong academic underpinning.  It is about knowledge creation, agency and strategic imperatives. These themes concern all those involved in higher education work based learning: administrators, assessors, teachers and researchers. 


Keynote Speakers    

Adrian Anderson: Chief Executive of University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) - Higher Apprenticeship at Degree Level

Professor Carol Costley: Director of Research, Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University 


Newer Researchers Integrated Stream  

This year the conference is introducing a newer researchers stream to provide greater opportunities for individuals to network with peers and more experienced researchers and to more fully engage with the existing community of practice.

The stream has been introduced to offer candidates a way to gain experience with academic discussion about issues that have relevance to their own topic areas as well as to speak to important issues about “knowledge creation, agency and strategic imperatives” for work based learning and associated fields.



No place, or the only place, where a University can find its identity 

26 - 27 March 2012

Trent Park Campus, Middlesex University, London


Keynote Speaker: Professor Joe Raelin

Asa Knowles Chair at Northeastern University


Keynote Title:

What does the provision of WBL say about a higher education institution’s mission and is this distinctive enough in today’s higher education market?



 Work Based Learning; Community and Employer Engagement

28– 29 June 2011 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC)

The Work Based Learning and Employer Engagement Networks

of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning

Keynote Speakers:                                        


Professor Norbert Grunwald, Rector University of Wismar, Germany

‘Workplace Learning in Germany’


Professor Karen Evans Institute of Education, University of London

‘Putting Knowledge to Work;  Exploring potential for the 'sandwich placement model' of work integrated learning’


Dr Rhys Rowland-Jones, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer (Dubai)

School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University


Policy issues –national/organisational and local institutional approaches

Employers’ perceptions of WBL and working with HEIs

Working with partners/ stakeholders and the practicalities and processes of developing partnerships

Practitioner needs/ issues related to SMEs and voluntary sector

Time and logistics in working practices to engage in higher level learning; perspectives from learners, employers and academics

The added dimensions of multiple stakeholders in delivering learning

Curriculum Innovation that includes perspectives both inside and outside education

Employer based training and accreditation in partnership learning

Employer engagement; learning and teaching strategies and approaches to HE learning ‘off campus’

WBL pedagogies in the workplace - blended, flexible, distant learning? A new pedagogy?

FE/HE and private education providers; partnership opportunities

Employer Partnerships

Structures in the HE sector and realistic engagement with employers

New horizons offered by Employer Engagement- how does it affect the education landscape?

The student experience of Employer Engagement

Structures and processes between HE. and employers; issues and good practice


Critical Questions, Innovations & Practices in Work Based Learning

13 – 14 July 2010 Teesside University


Conference Key Themes:

  • The Challenges of Contemporary Developments in WBL

  • Pedagogic Practices and Curriculum Design

  • Tackling Tensions and Engaging Relationships

UALL Work Based Learning Network Conference


Teesside University


13 July 2010 00:00 - 14 July 2010 00:00

Critical Questions, Innovations & Practices in Work Based Learning

This conference, is organised by the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL).

The Work Based Learning Network has long recognised the three-way interests of Work Based Learning (WBL) set in the wider context of its commitment to a strategy for Lifelong Learning. These interests are recognised as a three-way relationship between Learners, Universities and Work Contexts, although one might also recognise the role of government-led initiatives as a potentially fourth dimension within the current conceptualisation and construction of the stake-holders. 

The conference will address the following themes:

The Challenges of Contemporary Developments in WBL

Pedagogic Practices and Curriculum Design

Tackling Tensions and Engaging Relationships 





The Impact of Work-based Learning for the Learner

13 – 14 July 2009, University of the West of England, Bristol


This conference explores the impact of work-based learning for the learner. The learner can be defined as anyone who engages in the process of work-based learning and learns. Therefore this could be inclusive of all participants in the learning relationship. Themes will cover:

  • Pedagogical implications for work-based learning.

  • Learner motivation for work experience.

  • Impacts of work-based learning on intrapersonal and interpersonal learning.

  • Impact of work-based learning on the professional development of managers, mentors and academics.



Contested Values in Work Based Learning

3 – 4 July 2008, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC)


The conference addresses the issues around the value of WBL; that is both social, economic, and inherent values within the broad area of WBL as a field and mode of study. Themes will cover:

  • the value of WBL as an educational approach/genre;

  • the value and values of WBL to students, employers and other stakeholders;

  • the nature and value of students' work-based projects and other learning activities; and

  • the cost-effectiveness of WBL as an educational approach/genre.


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