Rewarding vocational learning through accreditation

Cardiff School of Management’s (CSM) continued growth and expertise in work based learning enabled them to apply a bespoke solution to their client Voice Workshop UK Ltd.

Voice Workshop UK approached CSM, wishing to accredit their six month programme in vocal pedagogy, the study of the art and science of vocal instruction – a very niche area of vocal expertise. Voice Workshop’s approach to this area of expertise was to provide a programme which brought together leading laryngologists and academic vocal experts, allowing professional singers and vocal coaches, often from media and TV backgrounds, to achieve a qualification applicable to their output as professional musicians.

The role of the CSM in this case was to assess and accredit the course, allowing participants to receive a Masters level accreditation, which would bring academic benefits to their careers. Such Masters level accreditation would allow participants to conduct ‘recognisable’ research in their field, thus benefitting the singers as researchers as well as performers. The clear benefit for performers was enabling them to become multi-faceted performers, embarking on both vocal and academic projects, and provide more and further opportunities, distinguishing them from their peers.

In order for CSM to accredit the course, an element of academic research was incorporated into the programme – enabling performers to enhance or introduce quality research output into their own personal projects. Participants that completed the course, achieving 60 credits, were awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Professional Practice.

Participant Response

For the participants, the results were clear. They gained skills which would enable them to conduct high level academic research in a work based capacity, through the modular and work based project elements that the course contained.

The result of combining academic teaching, practical tutorials and assessment through written assignments into one programme, was a project which proved to be a huge success with participants:

‘It has introduced me to the procedures involved in research and has sparked my interest and enthusiasm for more knowledge in this area.’

‘I also have huge respect for the passionate and creative individuals on the course and really value the network that has formed from our participation.’

‘[I] now have to surrender to the fact that due to their sowing of the research seed I will probably be studying forever, watching it grow!’

Participants  went on to bring about a number of excellent achievements. One participant advised the development on a ‘Singing for Lung Health’ initiative for a leading lung foundation, while another was nominated for a prestigious prize based on research on vocal output and posture.

The Business Outcome

For our client Voice Workshop UK, this project was hugely successful. Forty-three participants achieved a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Professional Practice, but more importantly, the application of academic research to a vocational field enabled participants to further their careers and personal development. Debbie Winter, Director of Voice Workshop stated:

‘This programme has enabled a field of knowledge to develop which is highly relevant to the practice field.’

‘The programme has had some staggering results with real innovation taking place. The team at Cardiff Met were outstanding in their support. They understood the needs of the work based learners and were highly flexible in their approach.’

[CSM] enabled inclusive learning and it has been inspiring to watch students flourish academically. We have been able to reach out to learners who had previously pursued a vocational pathway and they have gained a valuable nationally recognised certificate.’

Where next?

Cardiff School of Management are keen to expand on the success of programmes such as these and to create other impactful projects.

Our emphasis on work based learning, which expands learners’ academic insights, has a meaningful impact on businesses and the careers of those involved. If you would like to know more about CSM’s work based learning programmes, including higher and degree apprenticeships, please contact the author below.


Sebastian Walker – School Support Office for Enterprise at Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University.