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IER newsletter - December 2014

IER Newsletter - December 2014

This month...


- IER welcomes new Principal Research Fellow
- Research Visitors
- Recent Events
- New Research Projects

- Other News

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IER welcomes new Principal Research Fellow, Dr Nicholas Sofroniou

IER is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Nicholas Sofroniou as a Principal Research Fellow. Nick's recent research has covered enterprise surveys, statistical models of skill mismatch, as well as Green and IT skills.
Before coming to IER Nick was an Expert in Socio-economic Research and Analysis at Cedefop, the European Union agency for the development of vocational education and training (VET). At Cedefop he carried out policy-relevant research and analysis on education, training and skills, including the role of VET and lifelong learning in developing individuals’ skills and careers, including the impact of these phenomena on Europe’s competitiveness and socio-economic development. Prior to joining Cedefop, Nick held posts at University of Dublin, Trinity College, the Welsh Joint Examination Committee and Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland.
Nick has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wales, Bangor and he is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Visitors to IER

Visiting Fellow Dr Thirunaukarasu Subramaniam

Dr Thirunaukarasu Subramaniam from the University of Malaya joins the IER in December 2014. Thiru is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, the oldest university in Malaysia. He was appointed as Head of the Department of Southeast Asian Studies in the same faculty in 2011. His research is focused on labour issues and economic development in Southeast Asia. His one-year visit to IER is funded by the Ministry of Education in Malaysia.

Visiting PhD Student Albert Sanchez Gelabert

During a recent visit to IER, Albert Sanchez Gelabert presented findings from his PhD research at an internal workshop on 2 December entitled: 'Students' pathways through Higher Education'. Albert has been working with Futuretrack data to define four groups of students: 'persistent undergraduate and postgraduate'; 'persistent undergraduate'; 'drop-outs'; and 'transfer'. His work shows that the four groups of students differ significantly in terms of their personal and higher education related characteristics. In the group of persistent students, there were differences between the characteristics of Spanish and UK students.


Recent Events

Launch Event for Paths2Work Project

An expert seminar was held at the University of Warwick on 13 November to launch the ESRC-funded project, Precarious Pathways to Work for Young People, known as the 'Paths2Work' project to Midlands stakeholders.
The project has raised considerable interest among those concerned with young people’s transitions from education to employment and the event was attended by representatives of the education, employer and policy communities and organisations concerned with young people’s welfare and training opportunities in the Midlands. As an intensive study on the transition from education to employment in the Midlands, Paths2Work will investigate how employment opportunities arise and how far unpaid work and precarious employment (internships, work placements, temporary jobs, etc.) leads to better opportunities and enables young people to move on to develop their careers. The project team was delighted that all seminar participants engaged with the project, providing useful insights and valuable support in accessing young people and employer organisations.

Heike Behle lectures at University of Verona

Heike Behle was invited by Riccardo Sartori, Assistant Professor at the University of Verona, to teach undergraduate Psychology students. She delivered two lectures on the different employability frameworks and the specific situation of young people, older workers and migrants on the 11 and 13 November.

IER research on vocational education at Edge Research Conference

Lynn Gambin presented a paper, co-authored with Terence Hogarth, entitled 'Vocational Education and Training for Young People: evidence of what works and for whom and how new research can complement what is already known' at the Edge Research Conference which took place at the Skills Show in Birmingham on 14 November. This paper provided an overview of currently available data and analysis on the returns to vocational pathways through Further Education and highlighted how further data collection may help to fill remaining gaps.
A second paper, 'Apprenticeships in STEM sector industries: supply and demand factors', was based on recent research undertaken by Lynn and Terence with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University and was presented by co-author Colin McCaig.
The presentations for these papers can be downloaded from the Edge Conference website.

LMI for All project receives praise at CDI Conference

Jenny Bimrose and Sally-Anne Barnes attended the CDI (Career Development Institute) conference in Glasgow on 17-18 November to disseminate work on the LMI for All project. LMI for All is an online data portal, commissioned by UKCES, being developed by IER. Jenny gave a keynote on the project and Sally-Anne engaged conference attendees in a workshop. The project attracted much positive feedback from the careers community. To find out more go to the LMI for All project website.

Career adapt-ability around the world

At the same CDI conference in Glasgow, Jenny Bimrose, in collaboration with Gill Frigerio, Career Development and Coaching Studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at the University of Warwick, also gave a workshop entitled: ‘Career adapt-ability around the world’, based on an international research study in which Jenny has been centrally involved and a recent Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded project on applying the CAAI (careers adapt-ability inventory) within the higher education context, which has been managed by Gill Frigerio.

Anne Green attends US Department of Labor-OECD Workshop in Washington DC

Anne Green was invited to participate in a US Department of Labor-OECD Workshop on 'Workforce Development and Local Job Creation - An International Perspective' in Washington DC on 18-19 November. She gave a presentation in the session on 'Evaluation, Data and Metrics', which explored the challenges and opportunities facing policy makers and practitioners in using evidence-based approaches and policies to guide decision-making.
Further details of the event are available here.

Jenny Bimrose delivers keynote at CEG advisers conference

Jenny Bimrose delivered a keynote presentation entitled 'Making careers work real: meaningful engagement with employers and using the best labour market information (LMI)' at the 17th Annual National Conference for CEG Advisers and Consultants in Schools in York on 20-21 November.

Charoula Tzanakou selected to contribute to a UK-Colombia Workshop on research and innovation

Charoula Tzanakou was selected to participate in the Workshop 'Strengthening UK-Colombia Research & Innovation Cooperation (UK-Colombia RICO): The Role of Foresight and Horizon Scanning', funded by the British Council. The event took place in Cali, Colombia on 26-28 November 2014.
As part of a coordinated effort to deepen relationships between UK and Colombia, the British Council organised this event to bring together forty early career researchers from various higher education institutions to discuss science, technology and innovation. Through this event, UK and Colombian researchers were able to identify common areas of research interest and funding opportunities that will enable comparative research proposals and publications and foster research collaboration between HEIs in both countries in the long term.

LFS/APS user group conference

David Owen jointly presented (with Anil Gumber of Sheffield Hallam University) a paper on 'Ethnicity, Neighbourhood Deprivation and Quality of Life' at the 2014 Labour Force Survey / Annual Population Survey User Conference in London on 28 November.

What next in the study of graduate skills?

With Oxford colleague Susan James, Chris Warhurst, Director of IER, gave a presentation to the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills on new research agendas for better understanding graduate skills. The presentation was based on an article, published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, that was recently nominated for the SAGE Prize for Innovation and/or Excellence: ‘What we know and what we need to know about graduate skills’.


New Research Projects

IER Horizon 2020 success

IER has been successful in the latest round of awards from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The research project, entitled QuInnE, will start in spring and run for three years. It examines the links between innovation and job quality, and supports the European Employment Strategy aim of creating more and better jobs. The €2.5m project is coordinated by Lund University in Sweden, with teams from Germany, France, Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands. The UK team led is by Chris Warhurst and includes Anne Green and Sally Wright.

Recently awarded projects

  • Developing quantitative forecasting models for countries involved in the UNESCO NET-MED Youth project - funded by UNESCO
  • Knowledge Transfer as a continuation of a project 'Support in Economic Policy Analysis using Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling in Georgia’ - funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  • Harnessing Growth Sectors for Poverty Reduction - funded by ESRC (see more)
  • Women Adding Value to the Economy Programme: Analysis of Employer case study data - funded by Cardiff University

For more information on any of these projects please email


Other News

How can people in poverty access employment and better jobs?

A framework devised by researchers at IER and colleagues at Coventry University outlining initiatives and enablers associated with connecting people in poverty to employment and better jobs has been showcased in a pamphlet produced for the 'More Jobs, Better Jobs' Partnership between the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Leeds City Council and Leeds City Regions, which sits at the heart of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's 'Cities, Growth and Poverty' research programme. The framework was produced as part of a broader evidence review due to be published in 2015. To find out more, see the Linking poverty and jobs in cities project page.

SEESAW: New research group on 'science as work' to be launched in January 2015

SEESAW (Scientists at Work: Skills, Education and Employment) is a new cross-disciplinary research group. It aims to establish a friendly forum for researchers, academics and students to share findings, research in progress, and new ideas on questions related to work, labour and employment in science and academia.

The group will strive to reach out not only to social science researchers, but also to colleagues in the mathematical/hard/live sciences, humanities and arts. The group is aimed primarily at researchers based at the University of Warwick, but external members are welcome to join the group's mailing list and get involved in events. SEESAW is organised by IER's Milena Kremakova and hosted by CREW (Connecting Researchers in Employment and Work), a larger network also based at the University of Warwick.

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