The role of education, training and skills development in social inclusion: The University of the Heads of the Valley Case study

David Pickernell, Gary Packham, Christopher Miller, WILLIAM JONES

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose – The objective of this paper is to examine the initiation of the University of the Heads of the Valley Initiative (UHOVI) project and evaluate the development of its focus, materials and structure.

    Design/methodology/approach – The methodology employs interviews with a purposive sample of local employer stakeholders. The rationale for this approach is that it allows identification of the key requirements that UHOVI will need to fulfil if it is to be successful in this endeavour, within a reasonable timeframe. The in‐depth interviews also allow increased clarity in terms of the conclusions that can be drawn, particularly in terms of the recommendations for the next stages of UHOVI project.

    Findings – UHOVI's aim is to encourage social inclusion, through vocational education and training programmes explicitly suited to non‐traditional learners in an area of high social deprivation. UHOVI is a strategic partnership backed by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Social Fund, between the University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport. The purpose of the project is to alleviate the long‐term problems inherent within the Valleys area of Wales, which include low levels of professional and managerial jobs, limited qualifications and educational progression and high levels of economic inactivity, sickness and disability.

    Practical implications – This study can also act as a case study for other similar policies undertaken in similar economic geographies in the future. It also provides an important and original insight into the underpinning design of a large scale social inclusion educational project which will be of interest to policy makers, academia and enterprise support agencies.

    Originality/value – The paper provides an in‐depth study of the significant UHOVI project, examining the requirements for such an initiative in terms of both content and delivery of vocational education, and how this can affect the role that an education and training programme can play in meeting a social inclusion agenda.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)638 - 651
    Number of pages13
    JournalEducation and Training
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


    • social inclusion
    • barriers
    • access
    • United Kingdom
    • vocational training
    • education
    • training
    • Wales


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