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Title: "All the world's a stage" : acting out the government-supported apprenticeship programme in England
Author: Laurie, Ian
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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Since ‘Modern Apprenticeships’ were first introduced in England in 1994, government supported apprenticeships have gone undergone a series of transformations leading to them being underpinned since 2009 by statute and taking a central role in the current UK Government’s state-led vocational skills and education programmes for England. Accordingly, the numbers of people starting and completing apprenticeship programmes each year has increased rapidly, but these increases have also seen expansion in the support structures provided by central government, organisations and businesses. It is these ‘support structures’ that are the focus of this thesis; uncovering who the actors are and what roles they perform in the provision of England’s government-supported apprenticeship programme. Conducting interviews with a variety of people and organisations from government through to employers, this thesis considers apprenticeship in England by way of the public and private organisations that perform these varying roles. Beginning with two quotations which between them offer ideas of structure (‘script’) and agency (‘improvisation’), the research introduces an innovative use of an ancient symbol called a ‘triquetra’ (‘three cornered’) to create an ‘Apprenticeship Triquetra’. In the ‘Apprenticeship Triquetra’, three initial groups of actors – government, employers and training providers – and the many other organisations and businesses that operate in the spaces between them, are juxtaposed with their functional counterparts of governance, employment and education. The Apprenticeship Triquetra then explores the relationships between these ‘actors’ and ‘factors’ through sociological theories of Foucault’s (1978) governmentality thesis and Actor Network Theory (Latour, 1987; Law, 1987). By adding a historical lens to the concepts and theories and drawing a Ii distinction between the apprenticeship ‘programme’ and the apprenticeship ‘system’, apprenticeship is shown to be a site of complex social interactions and vested interests. This multifaceted research presents a unique critique of apprenticeships in England and concludes with three findings. The first is that there appears to be a concerning level of commodification that has developed in the apprenticeship system. The second finding relates to the way in which the power of the government has been used to direct the apprenticeship programme and system. The third finding constitutes that of an observation born out of this thesis’ historical and contemporary narratives: apprenticeship acts as a social barometer reflecting broader social contexts
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General)