Exploring widening access through partnerships Joan Thomson, Ronald MacIntyre and Pete Cannell – The Open University in Sc...
Policy Context <ul><li>Wider Access Forums - 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Learning for All - 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Articulation...
OU in Scotland practice <ul><li>From projects to a focus on sustainable partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Partners include – ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
Working with Scotland’s Colleges  <ul><li>Colleges in Scotland are good at recruiting students from the most deprived comm...
Investigating the learning pathways of past college students <ul><li>Evidence from three studies of Scottish OU undergradu...
Transition to OU study <ul><li>From ‘narrow vocational’ to ‘personal and vocational’ (career change and progression, valid...
Complex learning   paths <ul><li>Study gap  between HN and OU study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average of 9 years </li></ul></u...
Complex learning   paths <ul><li>Significant proportion are changing direction  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>69% changed their ch...
Widening Access Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)   <ul><li>Postcode analysis of 322 students claiming credit ...
Profile of Case Study The Open University in Scotland Circa 15,000 students 70% in employment The Employer Large engineeri...
Engineering as Work & Study <ul><li>Learning in the Workplace </li></ul><ul><li>“  a lot of the members have been away fro...
Learning by Doing: The Pilot as Partnerships  <ul><li>“ I think there's a lot of open and honest dialogue and discussion a...
Engineering as Work & Study <ul><li>Study Experience (peer learning) </li></ul><ul><li>“ right as long as I am not the fir...
Learning by Doing: The Pilot as Widening Participation   <ul><li>“ it was always a case of getting out there and making mo...
Conclusions <ul><li>Partnership work is making a contribution to access at a significant scale. </li></ul><ul><li>Policy p...
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Exploring widening access through partnerships Pete Cannell, Ronald MacIntyre and Joan Thomson (The OU in Scotland)

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In this session we explore the issues that we have confronted, and some of the lessons we have learnt in Scotland, in tackling widening access work across a broad scope. Much of the impetus for this activity began through community based partnerships, however, it has now lead to major engagement with 21 of Scotland’s colleges and partnerships with several of the major unions which has opened doors into workplaces that were previously closed. We look at how it is possible to work at scale with networks of local partners and discuss how the activity aligns and interacts with important policy drivers for widening access in Scotland.

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  • . We know why the government has invested in skills utilisation, and we can see why the OU (whose mission it is) and the union (for the benefit of its members) is interested, but what can we say about the employer. The structure of the company is one where people work in teams, teams that are responsible for their own productivity, and are moving towards autonomous working. This is very much the Japanese style lean production model, the structure and the promotion of teams, autonomy, and so on is also part of high performance working practices ideas, thinking that has itself informed the skills debate within government. Within teams people can take on different roles, and use the skills they have in different ways, these are called champion roles, while we might not see clear progression routes from one grade to another, roles can and do change depending on the skills of the employee. The company is moving towards this team approach, however, these teams still sit within a fairly hierarchical workplace structure. Within this workplace avenues do exist for people who do not have a B Eng to gain a B Eng. Typically these are people who have come in or gained HNC&apos;s and HND&apos;s, (mechanical engineers) and then take a B Eng through a locally based HE institution, day release paid for by RR - essentially a contract. Not for the cohort we are working with though. Outwith independent study, their has not been a route towards a B Eng for shop floor staff. Training tends to be workbased, ongoing, non certified, where people are “skilled enough” Union did a survey and id&apos;d training needs, like a lot of life long learning or WP programmes it began with leisure style classes, over time it moved towards HE
  • So what are we doing. Lets deal with the partnership and the cohort later … What is different for the OU is that we are going into the workplace and engaging with e students get to study in the workplace. This means that we are more engaged with the workplace than we usually are. Students get support in the workplace from the OU. In addition they also get support from the Union Learning Reps. The ULR often acting as a fixer What does the employer get out of the involvement of the Union and the OU in the workplace, well they get subsidised training for the workforce What is different for the employer is the flexibility, they do not release employees, so they benefit
  • This is probably one of the most interesting aspects of the pilot. Post Leitch (2006) HEI&apos;s are expected to engage far more with employers, and tailor their offering to the economy, and this marketisation of HE is likely to continue and indeed be re-inforced and extended post Browne. At the OU we have contracts with employers, indeed with have contracts with the employer that features in this case study that follow the usual HEI private sector relationship. However, here we are doing something different, this is a Union and OU initiative that is developing into a 3 way partnership -remember our pillars from earlier. What have we learnt &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; BRUCE&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; Students get support from the OU, their employer and the Union. Regular meetings between partners mean that everyone is kept up to date with what is happening with the students, you get wrap around support. We are learning about how the employer works, and in turn the employer is learning about how we work We are building relationships, and those all important personal networks, with the employer and with the union that should lead to us expanding provision within this and other sectors. Yet another peer community.
  • Lets explore some study experiences &gt;&gt;&gt; insert once get interviews It is not about the stats, but we can say something about the stats &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;
  • We are learning about managing relationships, we are learning that employer engagement can be accomplished in different ways. Our core values and our mission centres around widening participation and lifelong learning. Engaging in a partnership with the Union, an organisation with similar values to ourselves allows to access the workplace and engage with employers in a different way. These are students that would not otherwise have had a route to HE, the union did the ground work in terms surveys, and work based leisure provision (supported by the employer), but the wrap around support provided by the OU and the fact that our programmes are always designed around open access mean that the progression from leisure to HE works, we can see this in the retention rates. If we look at WP discourses within this sector the major concerns are around gender and race and ethnicity, class, age, and qaulifications are largely ignored. Yet this cohort are WP students in terms of qaulifications and socio-economic background, and read in terms of WP it is working.
  • Exploring widening access through partnerships Pete Cannell, Ronald MacIntyre and Joan Thomson (The OU in Scotland)

    1. 1. Exploring widening access through partnerships Joan Thomson, Ronald MacIntyre and Pete Cannell – The Open University in Scotland
    2. 2. Policy Context <ul><li>Wider Access Forums - 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Learning for All - 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Articulation for All - 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Through the last decade funding provided to forums and to all HEIs to meet access policy objectives </li></ul><ul><li>2011/12 onwards – outcome agreements between funding council and specific HEIs (Horizon funding) </li></ul>
    3. 3. OU in Scotland practice <ul><li>From projects to a focus on sustainable partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Partners include – community based organisations, schools, colleges, unions and employers </li></ul><ul><li>We want to look at the range of partnerships, then at two specific examples and finally draw out some issues for discussion. </li></ul>
    4. 10. Working with Scotland’s Colleges <ul><li>Colleges in Scotland are good at recruiting students from the most deprived communities </li></ul><ul><li>The OU has a national role alongside the regional hubs building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainable college partnerships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common articulation and progression agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved information, advice and guidance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing new pathways to named degrees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increasing interest in shared curriculum </li></ul>
    5. 11. Investigating the learning pathways of past college students <ul><li>Evidence from three studies of Scottish OU undergraduate students registered in 2003, 2005, 2008-09 who have HN or equivalent on entry </li></ul><ul><li>Initial questionnaire and follow-up interview </li></ul><ul><li>2009 study - 1500 students received questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>- 208 valid responses </li></ul><ul><li>- 30 interviews </li></ul>
    6. 12. Transition to OU study <ul><li>From ‘narrow vocational’ to ‘personal and vocational’ (career change and progression, validating skills, personal satisfaction and role as parent) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I came back to the fact that I didn’t finish my degree, and I really wanted to.’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Physics is something which has always interested me, and I wouldn’t say that it was specifically related to my work. It wasn’t until two years ago that I thought, if I had started this years ago I’d have finished it now and be on to the next thing.’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ ..a job had come up…my manager said….unless you’ve got a degree, we’re not going to entertain it.’ </li></ul>
    7. 13. Complex learning paths <ul><li>Study gap between HN and OU study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average of 9 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ my career was quite accelerated and I moved obviously from Scotland to London and I started working in some big organisations then the focus was not learning – there was other opportunities there, and while I always wanted to do this, it does take commitment and it does take time and I think that, getting to the age I’m at now ...” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ..from a very very early age you know that there was something missing, and it was always stuck in the back of my head that I didn’t go on through to university and I didn’t do a degree …” </li></ul></ul>
    8. 14. Complex learning paths <ul><li>Significant proportion are changing direction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>69% changed their chosen area of study from their HN when they commenced study with the OU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ so I started doing the initial science based subjects, level 1 courses and because it’s a few years on since I’d done some ... ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Significant number commence study at Level 1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Level 1 (76%), Levels 2 & 3 (24%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Cos obviously I’m changing to an entirely different system. And I didn’t want to … I wanted to start at a level 1 course so that I was in the way of it properly and into the OU system before I could start at a higher level.” </li></ul></ul>
    9. 15. Widening Access Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) <ul><li>Postcode analysis of 322 students claiming credit transfer with a Scottish HN qualification showed a much closer SIMD distribution to that of college HE than for all OU undergraduates </li></ul>
    10. 16. Profile of Case Study The Open University in Scotland Circa 15,000 students 70% in employment The Employer Large engineering firm (global) 2 sites engaged in partnership employs 40,000 people in more than 50 countries. The Union Unite the Union 1.5 m members Largest TU in UK Students 22 OU students on the project currently Blue Collar
    11. 17. Engineering as Work & Study <ul><li>Learning in the Workplace </li></ul><ul><li>“ a lot of the members have been away from learning 10, 20, 30, 40 years … bad experiences would never get them back into an educational establishment …. shift friendly times and in an environment in which they are comfortable” (The Union) </li></ul><ul><li>“ the OU gave us flexibility in terms of … study method and time away from work” (The Employer) </li></ul><ul><li>Support Structures </li></ul><ul><li>“ the reps [Union] are really important in terms of collective [emphasis added] learning, and … developing peers that can support each other, [and] then we have [names OU staff member] being able to give expert advice … but also those extra support sessions ..” (The Union) </li></ul>
    12. 18. Learning by Doing: The Pilot as Partnerships <ul><li>“ I think there's a lot of open and honest dialogue and discussion and debate that happens which probably wouldn't have happened … if we'd sent these guys onto a standard degree... [Names institutions, where you] don't really get that detailed interaction” (The Employer with the OU) </li></ul><ul><li>“ [the union] wanted to carry out a learning survey which obviously overlapped with the information we are keen to understand as a business” (The Employer and the Union) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The partnership provides an opportunity to help to create a supportive learning environment in the workplace” (OU) </li></ul>OU Union Employer Students
    13. 19. Engineering as Work & Study <ul><li>Study Experience (peer learning) </li></ul><ul><li>“ right as long as I am not the first one to drop out” </li></ul><ul><li>“ ... there's three boys on the course in my cell, we talk about that [study] regularly … mainly Maths [laughs] … some of the boys been starting new courses actually approached some of the guys on my course just asking …. how do you go about doing this … so they're getting help from us ...” </li></ul><ul><li>Retention and Progression </li></ul><ul><li>Not about figures but … </li></ul><ul><li>Across UK 58.14% on course retention (completion) comparing with 94% within this small cohort , </li></ul><ul><li>Across UK progression rate from is 78% of those who passed the course comparing with 100% in this small cohort </li></ul>
    14. 20. Learning by Doing: The Pilot as Widening Participation <ul><li>“ it was always a case of getting out there and making money … I never ever thought anything about higher education … I've actually got three brothers and two of them had already left [school] … I just followed their lead..” (Student) </li></ul><ul><li>“ I did all my city and guilds qualifications and I got married quite young … I always looked at the Open Uni, I remember, looked years ago, but I could never have afforded it, and I didn't have the time, …. working a lot of overtime, and just looking after my family ...” (Student) </li></ul><ul><li>“ They have effectively hit a glass ceiling and they've got skills, knowledge and experience, but they want to progress” (The Union) </li></ul>
    15. 21. Conclusions <ul><li>Partnership work is making a contribution to access at a significant scale. </li></ul><ul><li>Policy priorities and funding has helped the development of partnerships but making partnerships that deliver results takes time. </li></ul><ul><li>Is it possible to operate in partnerships with a ‘fixed’ curriculum and still meet partners needs? If so how? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we conceptualise Open and Distance Learning in relation to Widening Access – is large scale and local engagement possible? </li></ul>

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