'Working for your future': The rise of the vocationalised university

Colin Symes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Universities are at a pivotal point in their history and are undergoing dramatic changes. One of the more significant of these changes is the move towards more instrumental programs of learning, as manifest, for instance, in workplace approaches to learning. This paper argues that this trend threatens the existence of the liberal university that was isolated from the economy and where knowledge was acquired for virtue rather than utility. This university is being superseded by the vocationalised university in which the dominant educational imperative is learning for employment. It is argued that the emergence of this new form of the university is evident in the symbolic economy surrounding higher education, in its advertising and promotional stratagems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-256
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


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