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Work, Employability and Labour Markets (WELM)

Researchers in the School are internationally recognised for research on employability, work and the labour market. WELM is currently involved in leading-edge studies on globalisation, corporate strategy and the future of skills; graduate employability, recruitment and the labour market; workforce development; comparative skill formation; workplace learning; creativity, innovation and enterprise; and the future of organisations, work and careers. We are committed to theoretically informed empirical research that advance our understanding of the lived experiences of learning, enterprise, employment and labour market policies, along with a commitment to inform evidence based policy and public debate within a local, national and international context.

The ESRC funded Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) has become a major focus for our work in this field (in partnership with Oxford University), and has recently received new funding until 2013.

Building research capacity within this group is seen as bottom-up rather than top-down. A major emphasis is on supporting doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers through regular meetings and social events. We are interested in hearing from talented and highly motivated students and researchers who are interested in joining or working with members of WELM.

Main Aims

  • To develop leading-edge theory and evidence-based policy required to understand the current transformation of education, skills, knowledge, work, and global labour markets;
  • To encourage interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the study of employability, work and global economy;
  • To provide a forum for those working within and beyond the School to discuss the latest advances in this field and as a resource to build on existing national an international research links;
  • To support research capacity building by supporting doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, and international scholars working within the School.

Research Interests

  • Higher Education, Employability and the Changing Graduate Labour Market;
  • Knowledge Economy, Knowledge Work and Knowledge Workers;
  • Corporate Strategy and the Future of Skills;
  • The Political Economy of Skill;
  • Global Workforce and the Global Labour Market;
  • UK and International Education and Training Policy Analysis;
  • Workplace Learning;
  • Post-Compulsory Education, Training and Lifelong Learning in Local, National and International Contexts;
  • Low Waged Work in Europe;
  • Devolution and the Governance of Education and Training;
  • Workplace Industrial Relations and Workforce Development;
  • Nation States, Competitiveness and Comparative Skill Formation;
  • Occupational Socialisation, Recruitment and Careers;
  • Organisational Re-structuring and the Future of Work;
  • Creativity and Innovation in Higher Education and the Workplace;
  • The Relationship between Workforce Skill and Productivity.

Recent Research Projects

  • Global Corporate Strategy and the Future of Skills
  • Recruitment from the external labour market as a source of skill
  • Learning as Work: Teaching and Learning Processes in the Contemporary Work Organisation 
  • An analysis of the post-Leitch policy agenda in the UK 
  • UK National Skills Surveys
  • A comparison of the Welsh workforce development programme and England’s Train to Gain 
  • Modelling incentive structures within the education ands training system
  • Opportunity in the Workplace - a United States-European Comparison 
  • The Political Economy of Skills
  • Competitive Strategies and Skill in the UK Fitness and Leisure Industry 
  • Employability and the Changing Graduate Labour Market 
  • Learning and Working in FE in Wales
  • Global Elites? Employability, Careers and the War for Talent

Local, National and International Links


Research Group Lead

Prof Phillip Brown

Research Group Members

Prof David Ashton

Prof Amanda  Coffey

Prof Peter  Fairbrother

Prof Alan Felstead

Prof Ralph  Fevre

Dr Martin  Jephcote

Dr Caroline Lloyd

Prof Ewart Keep

Dr Jonathan Payne

Prof Sally  Power

Prof Gareth  Rees

Dr Jane  Salisbury

Dr Sin Yi Cheung