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IER newsletter - July 2016

IER Newsletter - July 2016

In this month's issue...

IER and Brexit


Upcoming event


Conference presentations


New projects


IER and Brexit

The Brexit referendum result was a shock for many. However, on the basis of existing agreements, there is no immediate change to IER’s ability to participate in and apply for EU-funded research. A general statement underlining this position was made by the EU commissioner for research and innovation Carlos Moedas: ‘the referendum as such doesn’t change anything regarding [UK] eligibility for funding … As long as the UK is a member of the European Union, EU law continues to apply and the UK retains all rights and obligations of a member state.’ Of course, the situation is less clear in the medium term. Guestimates about the time taken to exit range upwards to six years. If that’s true, it will definitely include a UK general election in 2020 (if one hasn’t already occurred before then). At that point, depending on political party manifestos and election outcome, there will be a new UK-EU settlement – and there is the possibility that Brexit might even be reversed. Indeed as a recent Financial Times article noted, depending on the nature of that settlement, one possibility at the end of the negotiation process is a UK change of mind. In the meantime, based in one of the world’s leading universities, IER continues to work with our partners managing existing contracts and submitting new bids.

Professor Chris Warhurst, Director, IER


IER co-hosts successful inaugural early career workshop in California

At the end of June, IER co-hosted the inaugural workshop for early career researchers as part of the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE). Led by IER Director Chris Warhurst, the organising team included Sally Wright of IER. Held at the University of California Berkeley, the day-long workshop for twenty US and European doctoral candidates and post-docs had inputs from world-leading work and employment experts. As one of the researchers commented, the workshop was ‘amazing … allowing me to develop ideas and forge relationships that will be important well beyond the final event of the SASE conference.’

School Teacher's Review Body cites IER research

Recent research undertaken by IER on the impact of changes to teachers’ pay on equality in schools in England commissioned by the NASUWT has been cited in the School Teacher's Review Body 26th Report. The research found that teachers with protected characteristics had been particularly disadvantaged by the approach taken by schools. NASUWT have expressed concern about widespread retrospective alteration of school pay policies and practice. Further research will be undertaken in the future to understand the impact of the changes to teachers’ pay in the long-term. Find out more about the project on the IER website.


Upcoming event

Advance notification: The Third Midlands Youth Labour Market Forum

Following successful events at the University of Warwick in 2014 and Aston University in 2015, The Third Midlands Youth Labour Market Forum, will be held on 23 November 2016 at College Court, the University of Leicester’s leading conference venue. The forum was developed to engage with all those concerned with young people’s transitions from education to employment as part of the ESRC-funded Paths2Work research project, Precarious Pathways into Employment for Young People. Melanie Simms, Professor of Work and Employment at the University of Leicester School of Management, is hosting the event this year and further details about the forum meeting, including instructions about how to register, will be sent to you later in the summer. In the meantime, please put the date in your diary to ensure that you will be able to attend what promises to be a very exciting event, now that we have entered the final year of the research project and have a great deal of data to discuss with you.

If you have any queries, please contact



'Hard Times' report launched in the House of Commons

A new report based on IER research, by Deirdre Hughes, Erika Kispeter and Daria Luchinskaya, was launched in the House of Commons in June. Prospects, the employment, education and skills company commissioned IER to undertake a review of their work delivering the Work Programme in the south west of England, focusing on the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant group.

The report, Hard Times: Smoothing transitions in the Employment and Support Allowance customer journey, findings capture the voices of adults moving through the Welfare to Work system - many of whom are experiencing hard times due to personal circumstance or unforeseen events. There was a call for stability in government programmes and for more employers to step up and give disadvantaged adults a chance to get a foothold into work.

Beyond Balance conference

Following on from the EPSRC Balance Network seminar Prolonging working life through ICT in June this year, Sally-Anne Barnes and Anne Green led a workshop session at the recent Beyond Balance: how digital technologies are affecting our work, our homes and everything in between conference on how ICT-enabled opportunities, such as crowdsourcing, are allowing older people to extend their working lives. They were joined by Professor Leela Damodaran (Loughborough University) and Dr Simon Joyce (University of Hertfordshire Business School) who also presented.

Workshop: 'Masculinity in transition'

A Monash-Warwick Alliance workshop entitled 'Masculinity in Transition' was hosted at IER on 4-5 July, jointly organised by Clare Lyonette (IER) and Steven Roberts (Monash University). Stakeholders attended from Working Families, The Fatherhood Institute, Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council, as well as Warwick PhD students, and contributed to the development of a new research initiative. Further information will follow in the coming months.



Greening technical vocational education and training report

Following the UNESCO-UNEVOC November 2015 virtual conference on Greening TVET in the context of climate change policy developments, a synthesis report authored by Nick Sofroniou has now been published.

Adult education - Too important to be left to chance

IER was commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education to undertake a study to scope the need, reach and areas for policy and practice development for adult education concerning disadvantaged adults. This research gathered the views of key stakeholders, partners and providers on top priorities for adult learning in 2016 and over the next 5 - 10 years. The report was formally launched on 6 July 2016 at a special invitational All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education reception, hosted by Chi Onwurah MP. The report provides a detailed overview of the benefits of adult education for individuals, employers and communities focusing on what works well and what needs to be improved to make best use of scarce resources available for adult education. The research was undertaken by Deirdre Hughes, Karen Adriaanse and Sally-Anne Barnes. The report and evidence can be downloaded from the IER website.

Breaking the cycle: What works in reducing intergenerational worklessness and fragile employment?

Research on What Works in Reducing Intergenerational Worklessness and Fragile Employment undertaken for the Public Policy Institute for Wales by Daria Luchinskaya and Anne Green has been published. The research suggests that intergenerational worklessness is unlikely to be widespread in Wales. However, fragile employment – whereby individuals move repeatedly in and out of employment – is a significant problem for some households and in some communities. The report finds that a ‘Work First’ policy approach (aimed at enabling people to get into work) has had some success but many of the jobs that are secured are part-time, temporary, low skill and low paid. In an uncertain and rapidly changing labour market, there is a need to support people to develop ‘career adaptability’ (the skills and competencies they need to make successful transitions between jobs).

International literature review on careers education

The Careers education: international literature review written by Deirdre Hughes, Anthony Mann (Education and Employers Taskforce), Sally-Anne Barnes, Beate Baldauf and Rachel McKeown has now been published. This report, commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is designed to provide an overview of the evidence-base underpinning careers education and its impact on pupils’ skills and outcomes. We define careers education as: ‘Careers-focused school- or college-mediated provision designed to improve students’ education, employment and/or social outcomes.’ The main questions addressed by this report include: What intervention research has been carried out since the year 1996 measuring the impact of careers education on improving young people’s outcomes?; What is the strength of evidence of this research?; and Where are the research gaps that need to be addressed?

Soft spaces and soft outcomes: Experiences from City Strategy on local partnership working and measures of success

Duncan Adam and Anne Green have had an article published in Environment and Planning A. The article uses the concepts of ‘soft spaces’ and ‘soft outcomes’ previously developed in relation to the study of local economic development and planning and applies them to the related, but not identical, field of localised welfare-to-work initiatives. The specific example of the City Strategy initiative in Great Britain provides evidence of these concepts in action. This initiative foregrounded the importance of local partnership working whereby various stakeholders joined together to operate in soft spaces to achieve commonly agreed goals. The article considers how local partnerships operate in soft space and the appropriate measures of success to be used when assessing the efficacy of their interventions. It is argued that both ‘soft outcomes’ and ‘hard outcomes’ can be used to understand success; but that assessment of soft spaces only in terms of ‘hard outcomes’ is far from comprehensive.

The early career paths of mobile graduates

In her recently published article,'The early career paths of UK-educated intra-European mobile graduates' in the Journal for Further and Higher Education Heike Behle compares the early career pathways of mobile graduates with those remaining in the UK after graduation. She finds that the proportion of graduates working in skill-appropriate employment is higher among those who went to a different European country after their degree.


Conference presentations

Work and Family Research Network conference

Clare Lyonette presented two papers at The International Work and Family Research Network (WFRN) conference in Washington, DC, on 25 June. Her first paper presented findings from the Nuffield Foundation-funded project 'Work-family enrichment or conflict? An examination of the impact of role accumulation in student mothers'. Find out more about this project on the IER website. Her second paper 'Working conditions and work-life balance within the UK Armed Forces: the importance of gender and rank' presented findings from another recent project.

Inclusive growth in cities

Anne Green attended the Cities in Transformation: Processes, Problems and Policies conference at the University of Cambridge on 14-15 July. She co-presented on emerging findings from research funded by the Jospeh Rowntree Foundation: International policy and practice review: how do cities lead an inclusive growth agenda? You can find out more about the project on the IER website. The presentation by Anne Green, Francesca Froy, Erika Kispeter and Paul Sissons was entitled 'Inclusive growth in cities: framing the issue and formulating policies'.

Geographies of migration and mobility

Heike Behle and Anne Green presented papers at the 1st International Conference on Geographies of Migration and Mobility, at Loughborough University on 18-20 July. Heike's presentation focused on Intra-European mobility of graduates in the UK. Anne spoke about the drivers of internal migration and circulation and possible future implications, drawing on material prepared for a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume: Internal Migration in the Developed World: Are We Becoming Less Mobile?

Young people's career decision making within a combined academic and vocational education

Heike Behle has presented findings of IER's research on the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme at the International Sociological Forum in Vienna. Her presentation focused on young people's career decision making within a combined academic and vocational education. Find out more about the research on the IER website.

The scholarship of learning, teaching and organising

Milena Kremakova was invited as a discussant at one of the symposia at The Higher education conference: The scholarship of learning, teaching and organising, which took place in Amsterdam 13-15 July.


New projects

Future of skills, supply and demand. Tthe UK Skills Mix: current trends and future needs, Government Office for Science

LMI for All: Technical requirements, stakeholder engagement and data development services, UKCES

Richer information on student views, HESA

The state of sexism in UK schools, NUT and UK Feminista

Theory and Practice of Change for a World Without Poverty, Webb Memorial Trust (via COMPASS)

For information on any of IER's publications, research or other activities, please get in touch.
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