The paper addresses workplace learning; vocational pedagogy, education and knowledge; and the transformation of practice. It draws upon discussions of vocationalism, vocational pedagogies as well as the constitution of vocational knowledge(s), debates which are set within particular historical and socioeconomic as well as national contexts. It points towards the limitations of analyses of workplace learning and in so doing draws upon conceptualisations of 'really useful knowledge' and subject-based disciplinary knowledge. Workplace learning can easily fold over into an instrumentalism concerned with enhancing variable labour power. The paper argues for a recognition of the articulation between practice-based and employer interest in vocational education and training, set against wider disciplinary understandings and access to powerful and transformative knowledges. It is suggested that disciplinary knowledge when allied to workplace experiences can be appropriated by oppressed and marginalised groups, thereby becoming 'really useful knowledge' to be marshalled in the struggle for social justice. This then is the pedagogic challenge - to open up possibilities that themselves presage not only the transformation of practice but also social relations.