Understanding the role of higher education in a system of high participation is becoming more important to providers and policy makers internationally. In this system, whereby increasingly higher education is taking place in vocational institutions, there has been renewed focus on the distinct nature of this provision, and the benefits it may hold for participants. This paper explores the experiences of mature students participating in higher education in a vocational institution in England. Using data from a multiple case study, four narratives are presented to illustrate the conceptualisation of employability by those students and the notion of academic capital and graduate identities is used to frame them. Reconsidering employability in this way challenges a competency-based model of employability reflected in skills-centred policy discourses. In doing so, the paper argues that HIVE is distinct and holds benefits for its participants, but for in different ways than those purported by policymakers.
- Department of Initial Teacher Education - Senior Lecturer in Lifelong Learning
- Huddersfield Centre for Research in Education and Society - Member
- School of Education and Professional Development