|Institution:||University of Birmingham|
|Department:||School of Education|
|Keywords:||LB Theory and practice of education|
|Full text PDF:||http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5786/|
This thesis seeks to establish the merits of engaging in skills competitions and the requirements for further education colleges to consider in doing so effectively. This study uses qualitative methodology based on data gathered from two case studies, each being a college of further education in the West Midlands. The case studies produced transcripts from 22 semi-structured interviews with staff employed at these colleges, and responses from 28 vocational teachers from the case study colleges to an on-line questionnaire. The perspectives of the respondents are considered against themes emerging from a review of relevant literature on skills competitions, quality assurance, vocational teaching, change management, vocational identity and continuous professional development within further education. Following an analysis of the findings it is suggested that skills competitions can be used to enhance vocational education. This is enabled through embracing the 'craft' of vocational teachers and their students, within a corporate approach to the introduction and use of skills competitions by colleges of further education. This approach is sustainable where colleges encourage the development of environments that are defined as 'expansive', but is less likely to sustain enhancements in vocational education where environments are seen as 'restrictive'.