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World class computing and information science research at Strathclyde...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Flowers in the desert: the impact of policy on basic skills provision in the workplace

Finlay, I.J. and Hodgson, A. and Steer, R. (2007) Flowers in the desert: the impact of policy on basic skills provision in the workplace. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59 (2). pp. 231-248. ISSN 1363-6820

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Abstract

In this paper we argue that learning in the workplace can bring considerable benefits for learners and employers. It draws on data from in-depth interviews and secondary sources from eight sites of work-based learning as part of wider research into the effects of five national policy mechanisms within the Learning and Skills Sector. We also have evidence of the positive effects of policy initiatives, in this case, Skills for Life, Union Learning Representatives and Employer Training Pilots, and of legislation such as the Care Standards Act. However, initiative-based resources cannot substitute for longer-term, more secure funding. We have found what may be described as 'flowers in the desert' - provision that grows, develops and blossoms quickly with the injection of funding, but which is very susceptible to changes in resourcing and, like flowers in the desert, can wither as quickly as it grew. We conclude by arguing that initiatives and exhortation are unlikely on their own to ensure that the full benefits of learning in the workplace are realized. There is, therefore, a need both for more sustained funding from government and employers and for greater regulation, such as the 'licence to practise' approach taken in the Health and Social Care professions.