Expertise, Project Work and Internship: the limitations of the novice-to-expert trajectory and the challenge for ‘skills policy’

LLAKES Research Seminar

Tuesday 20 October 2015, 4.15-5.45pm, UCL Institute of Education, Room 675

“Expertise, Project Work and Internship: the limitations of the novice-to-expert trajectory and the challenge for ‘skills policy’

Professor David Guile, UCL Institute of Education

This presentation will introduce a new conception – the trans-epistemic and relational – of expertise to reflect changes in the organization of work in the global economy and their implications for students’ development of expertise. The presentation will argue that project work: (a) is becoming the organizing principle for work in many sectors of the global economy, and (b) provides decentred, distributed and discontinuous conditions for the development of expertise. It will exemplify this argument through a case study of internship in client-facing inter-professional project teams to: (i) show how companies use internship as a situated strategy to develop trans-epistemic and relational expertise; and (ii) highlight why this process of development is radically different from the classic perspective on expertise as a liner movement from novice to expert which underpins national and trans-national bodies’ views about how students make the transition from education to work.

The presentation will conclude that: (i) the development of expertise is begun in education but completed at work; (ii) work creates different conditions for the development of expertise; and (iii) the challenge for policymakers and trans-national bodies is to reassess how ‘skills policies’ can take account of the above developments, rather than focus on the ways in which degrees can be made to match or map onto employment opportunities more effectively.

David Guile is Professor of Education and Work at UCL Institute of Education, University College London, and Head of Department for Education, Practice and Society. His research interests focus on Social Theory about knowledge economy/culture/society; Social Philosophy about mind, reason and action; and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory about knowledge, learning and pedagogy. He also leads a LLAKES project on “Inter-professional learning in the creative and cultural sector”.

The seminar is free to attend, but prior registration would be helpful: to register, please contact  to book a place.