Key skills and personal attributes in the engineering technicians' curriculum : a study of two further education institutions in Hong Kong and England
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:43 by Michele Marie Webster
There is very little published research into key skills and Further Education in the UK; nothing at all about the situation in Hong Kong. This study provides base-line data about the views and values of some curriculum stakeholders in relation to the key skills and personal attributes of Further Education students intending to work as engineering technicians after leaving college in England and Hong Kong. It explores key skills curriculum management in the context of two case study engineering departments using qualitative data collected primarily through semi-structured interviewing and card sorting activities, with the data being applied to an original conceptual model. Many engineering students at 'Northern College' take the UK key skills qualifications. At 'Asian College' Year 1 students take a 15-hour key skills introductory module and some engineering students also take the modules Key Skills for Lifelong Progress I and II. The UK system is well-established, government funded and subject to externally-driven change; a 'top-down' system. In the absence of a key skills framework (and qualifications framework) 'Asian College' have developed their own: in effect creating a 'bottom up' system. Despite quite different organisational cultures and contexts in 'Asian College' and 'Northern College' overall there were found to be more similarities than differences in the actual skills and personal attributes that curriculum stakeholders valued. From the research a key skills curriculum management checklist was developed that should be of value to those working in vocational areas other than engineering.