Institute of Education


Q&A with Professor David Guile

1  What is your role and what does it involve?
I have two roles: one academic and one leadership and management. In the case of the former, I am interested in changes in the world of work and the implications of these changes for professional and vocational formation throughout the life-course. I pursue this interest through undertaking interdisciplinary research on issues such as, apprenticeship, internship, project teams, networks and ecosystems predominantly in the creative and engineering sectors because the process of digitisation facilitates creativity and design to be intertwined in innovative ways that benefit people and societies economically and socially. I use the outcomes of my research to assist employers, educational stakeholders and policymakers to better understand how to work together to support professional and vocational formation and economic and social regeneration.

In the case of the latter, I lead an interdisciplinary department of over one hundred staff, who are organised in four broad areas of activity - Education and International Development, Comparative Education, History and Philosophy, Lifelong Learning and Sociology - and who are committed to forming research collaborations with external partners to diversify the contribution that educational research can make academically, professionally and practically for individuals and communities.

2  How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
Since 1993 - initially working with Professor Michael Young and other colleagues in the long departed, but fondly remembered, Post 16 Centre for Education where I led the first work-based learning project in the Institute of Education. The aim of that project was to identify the way in which educational institutions could support teachers in Further Education and trainers in the private sector to respond to technological and organizational change - sounds just like today! Immediately prior to that I had worked for BT, via the Headteachers into Industry Scheme, on a range of projects to support closer links between educational institutions and workplaces as well as local communities and employers.

3  Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list.
Supporting the Centre for Engineering and Education and the Post 14 Centre for Education and Work to work together to assist actors in the private and public sectors to develop skills ecosystems to address local and global economic and social challenges.

4  What would it surprise people to know about you?
In 1973, I booked the first ever gig by the original Wailers in England at York University, only to discover in the week before the tour started that their agent had gazumped me by taking a booking for the night before they played York to maximise their tour income - I still remember his name!

5  What other piece of research outside your own subject area interests you?
Interests and worries - robotics: the breakthroughs are simultaneously fascinating as regards how they could improve the quality of life, and deeply troubling because they are fuelling 21st century technological determinism centred around a casual acceptance on behalf of the right and left that it's OK if the machines take over.