Work and Learning

Creating and Managing Expansive Apprenticeship: A Guide for Providers

This project is developing a guide for training providers to support them in the creation and management of more expansive apprenticeship programmes. The guide will be based on development of the ‘expansive-restrictive continuum’. This provides a new framework for the providers of apprenticeship to assess and monitor the extent to which their programmes are more or less expansive and to find ways to be less restrictive. The framework is also useful to employers as it allows them to think through how offering a good quality apprenticeship can contribute to their wider workforce and business development strategies. The framework identifies features of the learning environment (workplace and off-the-job sites) which influence the extent to which the workplace as a whole creates opportunities for, or barriers to, learning.

For more details, please contact: Alison Fuller,

Research Funder: Learning and Skills Council

Researchers: Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin

For more details please contact Alison Fuller,


Workplace Learning in Southampton University Hospitals Trust: Creating an Expansive Learning Environment in the Portering Department

Research Partner: Southampton University Hospitals Trust

The overall aim of this project is to support the Trust’s vision by developing and sustaining learning environments that will facilitate employees’ career progression through the Skills Escalator.

The aims of the project are:

  • To use the expansive-restrictive framework to analyse the expansive and restrictive features currently characterising the portering learning environment;
  • To identify ways in which the portering learning environment can become more expansive;

For more details, please contact: Alison Fuller,

Research Funder: Southampton University Hospitals Trust


Learning and Life Chances in Cities

Researchers: Alison Fuller, Lorna Unwin, Sadaf Rizvi and David Guile

Research Partners: ESRC, Learning and Life-Chances in Knowledge Economies Research Centre

The project is exploring the ‘pre-employment training’ available to disadvantaged groups in city regions (Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester). A key aim of the research is to develop ideas to improve people’s life chances and to help cities become both economically successful and socially cohesive. The research aims to understand the roles and perspectives of the various stakeholders in conceiving, designing and delivering education and training and to make suggestions for how initiatives might be improved for the benefit of participants.

Work and learning: how will people gain the knowledge and skills necessary to gain and sustain employment throughout their working lives? How do theories of learning help workplaces become more effective learning environments? How can education and training contribute more effectively to workforce development, organisational success and economic competitiveness?

For more details please contact Alison Fuller,


NEW! Working to learn, learning to work

Why do some exercise instructors have more opportunity to learn and develop than others?
How can changes to the management structures of primary care in the NHS impact on the capacity of Health Visitors to collaborate and innovate?

A new edition of Praxis, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ series of policy think pieces, which explores these questions and others is now available online.

Praxis 7: Working to learn, learning to work

Drawing on a four year investigation into the relationship between workplace learning and the organisation of work and performance; Alan Felstead, Alison Fuller, Nick Jewson and Lorna Unwin, highlight wide variances in the opportunities available to employees to learn and develop, even within jobs that are ostensibly identical.