Higher apprenticeships in England: Professional and vocational formation

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This paper identifies how a series of higher apprenticeships projects funded by the UK coalition government in England between 2012 and 2014 are located within structures of professional and vocational formation. Factors that relate to the structuring of formation are discussed, including how notions of professionalization and legitimacy, and the political economy of skill, impact on formation processes. Using sketches of three modes of formation, and evidence from documents associated with eight developmental and capacity building projects, higher apprenticeships are perceived as providing opportunities to vertically extend formation structures 'upwards' and 'downwards', in addition to providing forms of 'horizontal extension' through the development of new alternative progression routes to professional qualification. Alterations and extensions to formation structures are engendered by the specific macro and meso context of the relevant sector or profession, and may be influenced by the involvement of further and higher education institutions, leading to the prioritization of particular types of progression, professional accreditation and qualification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-193
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Training Research
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2015


  • Higher apprenticeships
  • Professional formation
  • Vocational education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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