Vocational Education in the ‘Sharing Economy’, and the Changing Nature of Professionalism.

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Abstract

Architecture is a vocational programme, leading to membership of the profession of architecture. The education of Architects in the UK is conducted in Universities, institutions whose funding mechanisms value research intensity, doctoral study and academic publication. The (minimum of 5) years of university-based study require expensive facilities and technical support in order to achieve professional validation.HEI funding incentives and Industry aspirations for future professional practice are not aligned. In pursuit of funding and league-table recognition, HEIs seek to appoint PhD-qualified, specialist candidates to permanent academic posts. Meanwhile, government and Industry policy pushes in the direction of collaborative practice, requiring generalist abilities and holistic industry awareness.From this viewpoint, the widespread recruitment of the part-time tutor is at once understandable and essential. HEIs employ research-active staff, and find it difficult to deliver vocational education, as their staff have little or no contemporary industry experience in practice. The input of part-time tutors is required to deliver the industry aspirations for professional education.This circumstance is not new, but has been exacerbated by recent increased reliance on publications and REF points for HEI funding, a volatile economic and political landscape, and the rapid pace of change in the collaborative practice of architecture in industry. This situation is not unique to architecture and is affecting professions across the Built Environment, and beyond. In a still-wider forum, the impact of exponentially increasing availability of digital data, and increasingly personal, transient, and nomadic working practices, has contributed to the rose of the ‘sharing economy’ [typified by firms such as Uber, Airbnb, Zipcar and TaskRabbit]. Are ‘zero-hours’ contracts another example of this?This paper will outline recent developments leading to the current explosion in zero-hours contracts, and then further expand the argument by considering the future nature of professionalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalCharrette
Volume3
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • architecture
  • construction
  • professional learning
  • Professional accreditation
  • education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Education

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