Introduction In Chapter 1 , we introduced the notion of a social ecosystem for skills model and previewed its importance to our approach in this book. In this chapter, we build on that introduction by documenting the evolution of skills ecosystem research and outlining where we are trying to take it forward by expanding the approach. Although our cases are African, our expansion of the model has global salience. We argue that our approach makes a contribution to the wider project of transforming VET for a transformed economy, society and environment. We
Introduction In this chapter, we focus particularly on the mediating role of the university, in close connection with vocational institutions and informal community actors, in developing an inclusive approach to vocational education and training (VET) through an expanded social ecosystem for skills model. Here we draw upon lessons learnt from the Alice and Gulu cases on community-based approaches to establishing an expanded skills ecosystem approach to VET in Africa. The main question guiding this chapter relates to the possible mediating role of the
307 Policy & Politics vol 36 no 3 • 307–23 (2008) • 10.1332/030557308X307685 © The Policy Press, 2008 • ISSN 0305 5736 Key words: skills • productivity • skill ecosystems Final submission January 2008 • Acceptance January 2008 Skills in context: what can the UK learn from Australia’s skill ecosystem projects? Jonathan Payne For over two decades, UK skills policy has focused on boosting the supply of skilled or qualified labour. Despite significant progress on this front, British productivity continues to lag behind that of major competitors, while policy
EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.
The transition to more just and sustainable development requires radical change across a wide range of areas and particularly within the nexus between learning and work.
This book takes an expansive view of vocational education and training that goes beyond the narrow focus of much of the current literature and policy debate. Drawing on case studies across rural and urban settings in Uganda and South Africa, the book offers a new way of seeing this issue through an exploration of the multiple ways in which people learn to have better livelihoods. Crucially, it explores learning that takes place informally online, within farmers’ groups, and in public and private educational institutions.
Offering new insights and ways of thinking about this field, the book draws out clear implications for theory, policy and practice in Africa and beyond.
Vocational teachers in complex skills ecosystems At the heart of much of vocational education and training (VET) is an educational process that includes teaching, learning, a curriculum, the learner–teacher relationship and daily decisions taken by vocational teachers in response to contextual factors that affect learning in local settings. This educational process in VET is incredibly complex and often poorly understood. More significantly, VET systems are both criticized and reformed at institutional and curriculum policy levels, but the implications for
to address local challenges of water and food security among farmers who had been given back their land. The local agricultural institute, collaborating with universities in the vicinity, formed a social skills ecosystem that to this day continues its coengaged learning approach via both formal and informal means and means of boundary crossing between formal and informal learning institutions. This provided an emergent and grounded understanding of the potential for reflexively articulating this work over time within a social skills ecosystem approach as also
reach and/or reimagining its purpose in ways that can respond more substantively to shifting conditions. Adopting and expanding the social ecosystems for skills model Reflections on adopting a skills ecosystems approach As we noted in Chapter 1 , the purpose of this book is not simply to critique but to explore the emergence of better approaches to VET. In it, we have drawn inspiration from the skills ecosystem approach. Though not uniquely, this approach has made an important contribution by making a spatial-sectoral shift and inserting a meso level
transitions are, how and why they can be problematic, and how different groups experience them differently. We show that current vocational education and training (VET) models fail to take a broader view of work and tend to be focused on a single job. In the context of patterns of work in Africa (but also globally), we argue that a transitions approach within a skills ecosystem framing goes beyond current dominant approaches that focus on jobs or decontextualized entrepreneurship training. We explore the implications for reimagining transitions for VET graduates in skills
disparate spaces of informality that require a great deal of negotiation, coordination and rethinking of assumptions about youth, their life goals and pathways to achieve these. As noted in the previous chapter, skills ecosystems require nurturing processes to come into existence and thrive. Our argument here is that this equally applies to informal learning and work. From a social ecosystem perspective, informal learning can be seen as a space of potentially remarkable learning and innovation within networks. Learners are not simply individuals but are learning from
’ on these issues. Introducing the notion of skills ecosystems As well as reconstituting the notion of work, we must reconstitute the relational system of education and training. This must be done for broader educative purposes (see International Commission on the Futures of Education, 2021 ) but also to make VET better at providing access to knowledge, learning pathways and pedagogical encounters for a broadening concept of work. In considering this, we have looked at existing VET theories for a thinking tool that could help us start to explore what is