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Sustainable Learning for Work, Life and a Changing Economy: An NTU perspective

NTU’s Head of Sociology submits evidence to Pearson’s new Commission on learning and work.

‘Work like’ experiences should be a central part of all students Higher Education experiences.

Dr Eric Baumgartner, Head of Sociology

At a recent evidence hearing of the Commission on Sustainable Learning for Work, Life and a Changing Environment NTU’s Head of Sociology outlined the positive work from across NTU which ensures learning is meaningful and relevant to work for our students. The Commission, chaired by the former head of the Education Select Committee Neil Carmichael has been exploring how learning needs to adapt to deal with the changing economy and resulting labour market in the United Kingdom. It seeks to address central questions around:

  • meaningful education pathways for everyone,
  • collaborations between the world of education and the world of work, and
  • how these may be influencing curricular across the education sector in the UK.

Dr Eric Baumgartner outlined some of the innovative work which the school engages under the university’s strategic aim of providing all its students with a ‘work like’ experience during the course of their Undergraduate degrees. Eric explained how this aim was achieved through a robust process of ‘curriculum refresh’ across the university and indeed the follow-on initiative of ‘Reimagining’ the curriculum in the Department of Sociology, which delivers degrees in Criminology, Sociology, Youth Justice, Youth Studies, and Policing as well as postgraduate courses in Career Development, Criminology, Sociology, and Policing.

Across the School of Social Sciences, academic colleagues collaborate closely with statutory and third sector organisations. Examples include local Health and Social Care providers, Nottinghamshire Police, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and a diverse range of third sector organisations. Eric outlined the BA Policing course where application and interview processes have been co-designed with Nottinghamshire Police alongside the course’s delivery. Additionally,  the very successful and popular ‘Service Learning’ programme across Criminology and Sociology, in which undergraduate and postgraduate students are provided with the opportunity to work in partnership with local organisations on small-scale research projects that combine their theoretical learning with hands-on support.   Finally, Eric shared his experiences of working alongside Criminology and Education Students from the School of Social Sciences and Prision staff who have engaged in learning with people in local prisons helping to equip students and prisoners with vital life skills, with the ability to make informed career choices.

Eric welcomed this opportunity to contribute to the ongoing and vital debate on future employment opportunities. The evidence session highlighted some of the innovative work at Nottingham Trent University, which is reflected in the number of prestigious awards received recently. It further underlines the commitment of the School of Social Sciences and the wider University to increasing undergraduate students’ employment opportunities, its contribution to the local and national economy, and its collaborative work with a wide range of organisations. The University recognises that our students and staff play a vital role within our local community and continues to expand and develop our work locally.

To hear more about the work of the School of Social Science contact Dr Eric Baumgartner through his university profile page.  Nottingham Trent University’s place-based think tank Nottingham Civic Exchange is also continuing to maximise opportunities for students and academics to share their experiences with Commissions, Parliament and Government departments. If you are interested in promoting your impactful work, please get in touch via

The Commission on Sustainable Learning for Work, Life and a Changing Economy invite evidence from relevant sectors across the UK with the aim of publishing its findings in October 2018. Find out more online.

Nottingham Civic Exchange

Nottingham Civic Exchange has been established by Nottingham Trent University to maximise research, policy and practical impact by bringing together university expertise with partners seeking to address the needs of local communities. Nottingham Civic Exchange acts as a resource to look at social and economic issues in new ways. This means facilitating debate, acting as a bridge between research and policy debates, and developing practical projects at a local, city and regional level.

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Published on 1 August 2018
  • Category: Nottingham Civic Exchange; School of Social Sciences