Bridges to Learning Lindsay Brigham and Anne Hansen (The Open University in the North)


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Anne Hansen and Lindsay Brigham report on successful partnership work between UNISON and the OU focussed on progression into higher education for employees who are low paid, low grade and stuck in dead end occupations.

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  • Possible questions to consider in groups. These form an outline of the types of considerations for the employer if they sponsor further students How might the study inform University thinking on: Benefits of working in partnership – what are they? How can the University engage in a whole organisational approach to learning rather than an individual approach to learning?
  • Bridges to Learning Lindsay Brigham and Anne Hansen (The Open University in the North)

    1. 1. A Northern Region Partnership <ul><li>      </li></ul><ul><li>    </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>Partners </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><li>Operations </li></ul>The partnership
    3. 3. <ul><li>8 workplaces / employers </li></ul><ul><li>11 ULRs </li></ul><ul><li>3 FTE staff </li></ul><ul><li>£1.07m 2009-2012 </li></ul><ul><li>Health and Social Care sector </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Target 2010 -2011: </li></ul><ul><li>28 learners from IMD quintile 1: </li></ul><ul><li>27 achieved </li></ul>Widening Participation in HE
    5. 5. <ul><li>Newcastle City Council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>13 learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Home care workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Residential care workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 – K101 only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7 – K101 + NVQ 3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recruited by Union Learning Reps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewed by ULRs and employer </li></ul></ul>Progression route
    6. 6. <ul><li>Newcastle City Council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>6 learners progressed to KYJ113 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 registered for K270 (February presentation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next course will be L3 option </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice based SW courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 nd cohort of K101 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self funding </li></ul></ul>Progression route
    7. 7. <ul><li>Newcastle City Council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Future cohorts of K101 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent progression through K101, KYJ113, K270 and optional L3 module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice based SW courses -> Social work degree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other L2 and L3 course -> Open / named degree </li></ul></ul>Progression route
    8. 8. <ul><li>Newcastle City Council </li></ul><ul><li>Eventual aim: </li></ul><ul><li>K101 and progression route to be offered to all Social Care staff </li></ul><ul><li>Funding: </li></ul><ul><li>FAF, National Scholarship Scheme, Student loans, Salary Sacrifice (?) </li></ul>Progression route
    9. 9. <ul><li>Newcastle City Council </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking for themselves </li></ul>Progression route
    10. 10. Why evaluate? <ul><li>Employer driven evaluation to establish extent of impact on practice </li></ul>
    11. 11. Evaluation <ul><li>In depth interviews with all 13 participants </li></ul><ul><li>- transcribed and analysed for key themes </li></ul><ul><li>and dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>Participant questionnaire (61% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>In depth interview with Care Services Manager </li></ul>
    12. 12. TABLE 1: OVERALL THEMES AND THEIR DIMENSIONS -Increased sensitivity to and awareness of the experience and needs of service users -More detailed approaches to care and report writing -Changes in ‘ mindset’ -More confident about own role in service user advocacy -Raised awareness of impact of contextual issues related to professional and political change -Computer skills -Numeracy skills -Cognitive skills e.g. more analytical and reflective; able to see relevance of knowledge and evidence as a basis for practice -Increased skills in time management -High sense of achievement -Increased self confidence -Increased self esteem -Increased Motivation -Positive re-evaluation of own role -More knowledgeable -Wider horizons -Future orientated -Support from tutors and face to face tutorials -On line support from helpline and student forum -Peer support Management support -Support from Bridges to Learning and UNISON -Recruitment -Course content -Integration of K101 and NVQ3 -Flexibility CHANGES IN PRACTICE SKILLS ACQUISITION PERSONAL BENEFITS SUPPORT COURSE CONTENT AND MANAGEMENT
    13. 13. It opened up my eyes It woke me up It made me think again It made me look at things from a different angle
    14. 14. Impact on practice <ul><li>“ ..we just go in, we open the door and we see what we see half the time, but it just gets you to think and just take a step back, and this person’s a wee bit angry, why are they? They’ve got just makes you think. It’s not what they are now it’s what they have been and the biggest thing that I took away is to just step back and look at the whole picture” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think sometimes you get yourself in a mindset because you’ve been doing the same thing for years and now I find I take a different approach, . Now I would be looking at it and saying ‘Oh right, mobility’s a bit poor, I’d be asking the question well what’s wrong with their mobility, do they have any aids, do they need any aids, have they been assessed by OTs, it makes you think just to ask for that little bit more information [..] So I just found reading through the K101 stuff has helped me manage it a bit better, and helped me get a bit more flow and just take a step back and look” </li></ul>
    15. 15. The management perspective <ul><li>“ You’re looking at different staff at the end of this, they walk taller, they talk with more confidence” </li></ul><ul><li>“ To have that greater understanding treats people with respect. It treats staff with respect and understanding, and if you treat people with respect they treat others with respect. They understand the context of the service user and why they may be in the situation they are in..” </li></ul>
    16. 16. The academic perspectives <ul><li>Drawing on social theories of situated learning: </li></ul><ul><li>Lave and Wenger (1991) </li></ul><ul><li>Wenger – communities of practice </li></ul>
    17. 17. The academic perspectives <ul><li>“ while education and practice settings each have both theories and practices, they have very different cultures and very different discourses” (Eraut 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>codified vs non codified knowledge </li></ul>
    18. 18. Academic perspectives <ul><li>Developing an ‘expansive’ learning environment at work. </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogical/organisation factors along </li></ul><ul><li>the ‘expansive-restrictive continuum’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Fuller and Unwin, 2003 and 2004) </li></ul>
    19. 19. The academic perspectives <ul><li>Emotional resilience: </li></ul><ul><li>Shifting the emphasis from resilience as an individual trait or acquired skill to: </li></ul><ul><li>“ a more interactional definition, incorporating wider social, cultural and organisational factors” </li></ul><ul><li>(Brigham and Smith 2011) </li></ul>
    20. 20. Recommendations <ul><li>Briefing of both managers and potential students on amount and level of study and level of computing skills required. </li></ul><ul><li>Briefing of managers about the importance of organising flexible study release time. </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of participants having a high level of personal motivation rather than being directed by line managers. </li></ul><ul><li>Lead in time for some students to acquire level of computing skills and/or other study skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of creating an infrastructure to enable peer support e.g. facilitated group work and mentoring by ULRs. </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of embedding learning from the course in supervisory and management processes i.e. as a tool to encourage reflective practice </li></ul><ul><li>Consideration of strategic priorities in relation to categories of staff selected to study K101 </li></ul>