As librarians and educators we hope the teaching we do has an application beyond further and higher education. We’re aiming to help students develop their skills in such a way that they become valuable employees and active citizens in a democratic society. Often we don’t have the opportunity to put this to the test. We wave goodbye to our students at the end of their programme of study and hope what they learned in our classes will make them employable and stand them in good stead as they enter the world of work.
Earlier this month I was invited to speak at an IATUL conference in Munich where the theme was “Information literacy in the workplace”. For a few years we’ve been working with engineering apprentices at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and I spoke about some of the challenges they face and what we’ve been doing to address these. It’s taking some time to truly appreciate the context in which they work and the pressures they face – studying and working at the same time is not an easy option. However, they undertake very specific work-based projects and I do wonder – does working with apprentices provide us with a unique opportunity to help them develop the right research skills for the workplace?