Baker, Tina (2018) Vocation for Vocations Sake. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

Under the Coalition Government the Education system within the UK was subject to much change and the Further Education section was among the most affected. With the funding strategy changes, the move from established National Qualification Framework (NQF) courses to Qualification Credit framework (QCF) caused disruption and the end to the traditional vocational model in some disciplines. It is on course model changes in IT and the attempt to identify the delivery of robust vocational skills that this dissertation will focus. This research will present a curriculum model that maps to a teaching framework for developing computing practical or computer / Information Technology (IT) / network engineering (vocational) skills at level 3, which has developed in response to external levers. This study compares the experiences of learners within the context of their Level 3 IT vocational course from two Further Education Colleges in the North of England. This research is based upon empirical research and experience conducted while teaching the curriculum, is a theoretical model of best practice and identifies a holistic view of skills development throughout the IT curriculum in response to changes in college, Government and economic policy. The paper will critically assess this Vocational Education and Training (VET) model, using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative data including survey data, interview findings, examination of qualifications frameworks material also the student experience, success rates etc, to determine the success or otherwise of this IT VET model.

This research aims to contribute to existing knowledge in the following areas:

• The study will examine Government Education policy interventions and initiatives from 2010 to 2014 which are directly related to the provision of VET at level 3 for 16+ learners.
• It will further attempt to identify coherence through courses by the exam boards pre and post the policy changes in terms of assessment methods
• The case study will present a report on an empirical enquiry undertaken in 2010-2015 under the Coalition Government which examines the relationship with VET in IT at level 3 and skills transfer at two Further Education Colleges in the North.
• The intention is to establish if the evidence of skills transfer on the vocational level 3 IT programs support the theory of improving the economic market in supplying a skilled workforce and looks at the interaction and interface between the level 3 IT provision and progression

The paper will consider how the identified external levers affect the structure and delivery of vocational curriculum so that a deeper understanding may be reached.

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