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Case study: Edinburgh Napier University

Page history last edited by Rosemary Allford 9 years, 2 months ago

Initiative: Edinburgh Napier University Initiative: Edinburgh Napier University Index to initiatives Index to initiatives

Index to initiatives Initiative: Edinburgh Napier University Initiative: Edinburgh Napier University Initiative: Edinburgh Napier University 

Project Information    
Project title     Developing A Work-Based Learning Framework for the Energy Sector
Start date  May 2012 End date   April 2013 
Project URL     
Design Studio URL     
Lead institution ELRAH Articulation Hub partners - see http://www.elrah.ac.uk (Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Articulation Hub) 
Project Lead Contact Name Andrew Comrie (A.Comrie@napier.ac.uk), Rosemary Allford - project manager (energyproject@carnegiecollege.ac.uk)
Contact e-mail address  
Programme Name Embedding Benefits Category  
Programme Manager Andrew Comrie/Rosemary Allford    



1 Summary

Provide an executive summary of your project (max 200 words).

This Project was aimed at developing a programme designed to enable access to education and training through a flexible provision that develops skills capability and builds capacity for those individuals working within the Energy/Engineering sectors. In addition to developing progression routes that add value to the learner journey, the development of the specialist  Personal Development Awards have the potential to create competitive advantage for this key market sector. At the outset of the Project the objectives included:

  • Create Collaborative Partnership between Colleges, HEIs, employers, and industry bodies.
  • Embed the SCQF to underpin the Workforce Development Framework
  • Capacity building through a part-time work based learning route.
  • Gain academic credit through a cumulative approach to CPD and credit rated units
  • Articulation to degree level study from SCQF level 7
  • Technological Innovation emergent from the College, HE, Employer Partnership


However, at the end of 2012, the Scottish Government accounced its intention to increase the number of undergraduate places in Scotland by 850 to enable more articulation to take place. The announcement has specified that additional places must be delivered as a collaborative partnership between the HEI assigned the additional places and partner college(s), where the partner college would deliver the first two years. With this in mind, the project leads decided to re-configure the Energy/Renewables project so that it achieved the:


1) Re-design of the delivery of Edinburgh Napier University's existing BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering for 2+2 delivery ( 2 years College and 2 years University).

2) Re-design of the existing BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering for Work-based delivery


This represented a change to the original plans, but still ensured that the re-design considered joint delivery with college partners and employers. The re-design builds on existing qualifications offered by Edinburgh Napier University, Carnegie College, Adam Smith College and Edinburgh College including HNC/D Engineering Systems (and other relevant Engineering HNQs offered by Edinburgh College) and the BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering . Where new modules are required for WBL delivery, these will be created and validated by our HEI partner. The key deliverables changed to be:


  • Mapping of HN Units in the HNC/D Engineering Systems (and other relevant HNQs as identified by the collaborative team) to the modules offered in the first two years of the BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering.
  • Development of additional materials to be delivered as part of the first two year sof the BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering).
  • Arrange awareness and development events for the collaborative team delivering the programme (either as part of a college 2+2 programme or a work-based programme.
  • Create the design of a part-time work-based design of the programme with supporting market research for future delivery from 2014
  • Supporting the development of the new PDA Process Optimisation for blended delivery including wbl 






2  What resource(s) did you package/collate/disseminate for use by other institutions?


1. A Market Report undertaken 2011 and reviewed  in March 2013  to reflect the fast pace of change withint the market sector highlighted the need for training and awards to satisfy the workforce development needs of employers operating within the emergent markets of the Energy sector.


2. A Curriculum Framework was structured to demonstrate  part-time flexible access to education for those employees working in the Energy Sector, Engineering, and /or other related Sectors, and to develop appropriate skills and gain qualifications while in employment. The Framework was targeted at College, university and employer organisations as used as a discussion tool for analysing gaps in provision for flexible learning.


3. Curriculum Mapping of Engineering Programmes, including SQA programmes, articulation to named degree programmes and commercial courses.


4. Any PDA qualifications developed and accredited by SQA will be included within the SQA portfolio of products for delivery by all approved centres.






3  How did you go about embedding your resources / outputs / outcomes into the wider community?

Give details here of:

  • the story of what you did and how you achieved it
  • how you engaged your stakeholders
  • Project Methodology: 
  • any dissemination activities that you undertoo


Project methodology was in line with the requirements of ELRAH and its management stakeholders. This included at a pre-approval stage of the project, the development of a project scoping document including a Market Review, for approval in line with the governance process and procedures for ELRAH. Once funding approval had been given, and a project manager appointed, the principal challenge was stakeholder engagement, including employers, colleges, universities and other agencies and bodies. Employers were keen to progress the work based learner profile within their organisations and employer bodies were respresented within the make-up of the Project Board. This was in line with employer drive to achieve increased capacity within their organisations through up-skilling and workforce development. Colleges were keen to develop their commercial profile and the opportunities for delivery to employer organisations. However, the funding models within colleges for the delivery of SQA programmes presented challenges for the development and the delivery of a work-based curriculum and this impacted on the economies of scale and the development of the proposed PDA development. In addition, the evidencing of a market demand was complex given the requirement of business models for guaranteed student numbers. This limited the development of a Framework as originally scoped. However, discrete awards/units are being developed that can then be offered by flexible means and meet the objective for commercial employer-led curriculum development. Dissemination of the project has occurred within the CAMEL group meeting and the QAA Scotland work based learning forum. 







4  What impact has your embedding benefits project had and who are the beneficiaries? Include evidence of impact wherever possible (e.g. survey results, evaluation, cost benefit analysis etc.)

Give details here of, for example:

  • increased awareness of your resources/outputs from your previous  e-learning programme project
  • greater take-up across “non-native” institutions (non-native institutions are institutions not involved as lead or partners in the original project or any subsequent JISC funded benefits realisation activities).
  • how your resources are being used in other institutions / within project partners
  • details of any self-sustaining community of interest that has been formed etc.
  • refer to any supporting evidence documents such as evaluation reports, where appropriate.







5  What outputs has your project produced?

  • Curricular Mapping of HN Units in the HNC/D Engineering Systems (and other relevant HNQs as identified by the collaborative team) to the modules offered in the first two years of the BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering. 
  • Raise awareness and lead collaborative development events for the  teams delivering the programme (either as part of a college 2+2 programme or a work-based programme).
  • Market Review of Energy (Renewables) Market 2011 (2013 Refresh)
  • Supporting the development of 4 new SQA units (within new PDA Process Optimisation) for blended delivery including wbl.






6  How will the embedding benefits activity be developed further/sustained?


It is intended that  new curricular products will be developed such that delivery means may be work-based, blended or by attendance (where necessary), and that the use of the wbl toolkit will enable flexibility to be built into design of the curriculum and during any review activity.


There is work still be be done on the work bases aspects of the project including the creation of the design of a part-time work-based design of the programme with supporting market research for future delivery from 2014. This is intended to support progression and articulation from upskilling or employment, College and University and to improve flexibility to learn in the workplace with accredited provision.







7  Summary and Reflection

An early version of the proposed 'energy' project was initially presented  to the CAMEL group. Since then, there have been a number of iterations to the project plan, which reflect the complexity of the relationships with key stakeholders. In line with the project, there has been an increased numbers of partners due to interest in the development of the curriculum based development. This reflects some of the key objectives of the operation of the wbl toolkit and reflects the diversity of engagement with the stakeholders and the period of engagement.


The Project Board was set up and a project manager confirmed soon into the Project, in line with project methodology. The  initiative was supported by employers, employer bodies, Scotland's Colleges, and SCQFP. These stakeholders reinforced of the demand for employer-led curriculum development for learning in the workplace. In order to achieve the proposed Framework for the WBL HNC/D Energy it was necessary to make changes to existing HN frameworks that are accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). The prosed changes would require a) introduction of new units to address deficiencies in maths ability to enable seamless progression to relevant degree provision in engineering/ renewables and b) the creation of small "chunks of accredited learning" better suited for work-based learners which have been defined as Professional Development Awards (PDAs). The project team met with SQA to discuss the proposed new framework in December. SQA felt that there needed to be a stronger business case to support the development of the Framework.

The Greater Glasgow Articulation Partnership (GGAP) and the Energy Skills Partnership agreed to fund the development of additional maths units (identified in the work-based learning model as a PDA in Maths) to address the gap in maths identified when HN students use HN qualifications in Engineering to articulate to degree study. This development will be fed into other work progressed by SQA to identify enhancements to HN qualifications needed to articulate to degree study ( both work-based and for campus-based learners). This has been time consuming, but is unlikely to have been achieved in a lesser timescale due to the number of stakeholders involved at local and national level. Similarly, the implementation of the Scottish Government's post-16 education strategy, including the Regionalisation of Scotland's Colleges has meant that the project has been progressed during periods of intense organisation change on a national level and this is impacted on the ability to deliver on the original objective set. The awarding of 'additional funded places' at Scotland's universities then directed the further Project change, as the emphasis within the proposed curriculum Framework changed towards named HE qualifications.

Key messages around Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Establishing effective Partnerships with multiple stakeholders at a national level is extremely complex and resource must be given to monitor and manage these relationships
  • Establish a model for partnership working including governance arrangements.
  • Manage Effective Communications though multiple channels - do not assume that communication means is common within and across organisations.
  • Manage Stakeholder Expectations - there is a need to develop strategic alliances to ensure that win-win solutions can be delivered.
  • Manage dissemination of work across partnership boundaries - promote best practice and feedback to stakeholders.









Additional Information for QAA Case Study



Discipline and occupational field 

Engineering (Renewable Energy) 

Name of module/programme/course 


SCQF level (Scotland only) 

SCQF Level 7-10 

Model of WBL 


Can you describe how WBL is integrated into your curriculum? How does this impact on curricula structure and development? It would be useful to estimate the proportion of the curriculum WBL contributes to (100 words)

Aspects of WBL covered in case study

(see Notes at the bottom of this page)


Please indicate which aspects of WBL you will cover as part of your case study and why you have decided to cover them. These are listed in bold in the Notes at the bottom of this page. You may find that your practice maps against more than one, but you need not cover all of the aspects.  You may find that your provision maps onto several aspects, and we would expect you to cover more than one.  The structure of Work Based Learning Maturity Toolkit has been used to inform the type of aspects we wish to cover. The Notes below give the full list of the aspects along with some prompts against each one.  These have been cross-referenced with the appropriate section in the WBL Maturity Toolkit and are there to hopefully stimulate thinking rather than being prescriptive.    Note if you do cover particular aspects then they should be made explicit in the main case study text where the aspect is discussed.   





Please describe the practice you are presenting. It would be useful to focus on the ‘how to’ messages that comes from your practice.  

As mentioned above please make explicit reference to the aspects of WBL you are describing.  Include any details that would be useful to colleagues; in particular we are very interested in details about how the practice was developed and implemented. Some questions that might be useful are:


  • What were the drivers for the development of the practice?
  • What were the aims and objectives?
  • What did we actually do when delivering these aspects of the provision?
  • What obstacles got in the way and how were these overcome? What was learnt? What helped and how? 
  • Has this practice been evaluated and by whom?  What would we do differently next time?
  • How do you see this practice being developed in the future – what will happen next?



Please use the Harvard referencing system.  







Aspects of Work Based Learning

  • Quality enhancement and quality assurance – including how employers and employee/students are informed of, and involved with quality enhancement mechanisms, including course feedback (6-3), employer and professional body input into programme approval, validation and programme review (6-3)
  • Staff development – acceptance of WBL by wide academic community as being a valid mode for higher education learning (1-7), development opportunities for staff engaged in WBL (1-7)
  • Working with employers – development of strategic partnerships with employers (2-2 and 5-3), supporting staff to work with employers (2-3), how programme was aligned with employer/employee needs (3-1), how learning outcomes were developed/linked to employer goals and employer input into curriculum (3-9), managing the relationship with employers (4-2), development of learning contracts (4-3), tripartite agreements (2-2 and 5-1)
  • Training and support for employers and workplace tutors/mentors – induction, training courses, involvement in quality enhancement/assurance processes (2-4)
  • Supporting students in the workplace- including access to learning materials and resources (3-10) particularly given employee commitments (4-4), the role of workplace tutors (4-2), the role of academic tutors (4-2), role of institutional support staff (4-4) development of learning contracts (4-3), supporting students with disabilities (4-4), arrangements for supporting students through transitions (4-4 and 6-6), support for study skill development (6-6), tripartite agreements (2-2 and 5-1), negotiating with  learners and employers learner developmental needs  (6-1), support outside traditional term-times (6-4)
  • Development of flexible programme design – could include incorporation of RPL and considering alternative means of accessing the programme (3-5 and 6-3), accreditation of employer provision, or adapting existing modules to better meet needs of a WBL programme/students, reducing the time taken to obtain a qualification, creating learning outcomes and programme structures appropriate for employer and employee needs (6-3)
  • Transition and induction – including issues around managing these for students who may/will be off-campus (4-1), pre-entrance guidance (6-1), induction (6-2)
  • Delivery – How does the programme integrate learning from academia and work?  If this is through reflective learning or PDP how is that integrated with the curriculum? (4-2), could also include integration of RPL (4-2), innovative uses of technology (7)
  • Assessment – means and models of assessment (4-3), use of formative feedback, use of assessment methods that reflect/use workplace outputs/activities and quality assurance implications of these (6-4 and 6-5), use of technology (6-5), how achievement of learning outcomes is evidenced (6-5).



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