UCL Centre for Engineering Education


Report on Vocational Pedagogy for the Gatsby Foundation

21 June 2018

The report addresses an issue which is relevant for the current discussion about the creation of Professional and Technical Pathways to employment – the contribution that excellent vocational teaching and learning makes to the development of the forms of expertise that employers’ require and that facilitate learners’ continuing employability.

Its finding in the report is that vocational pedagogy is different from academic pedagogy because it serves a dual purpose: to prepare someone with the occupationally-relevant or occupationally-related knowledge and skill to make the transition to employment (clear line of sight to work) and to succeed with the academic elements of their programme of study.

The report identifies that colleges can enhance vocational pedagogy by:

  • co-designing with employers and, where feasible, co-delivering vocational programmes;
  • using modularisation to reflect changing employer demands;
  • using the term – practice-theory – to think more creatively about the relationship between theory and practice in vocational programmes;
  • using mobile learning as a resource to support learning within and beyond a college;
  • involving employers in assessment allows to incorporate the assessment cultures of different occupations and sectors, and also enhance learners occupationally-specific employability skills.