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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School
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Dr Michaela Brockmann 


Dr Michaela Brockmann's photo

Dr Michaela Brockmann is a Lecturer within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.

Michaela joined Southampton Education School in October 2012.

Michaela has worked on a wide range of national and international studies on vocational education and training (VET) with funding bodies including the Nuffield Foundation and the EU Erasmus+ programme. She has recently completed research on on-the-job training in apprenticeship in England, funded by the Gatsby Foundation, which informs the UK government’s reform of technical education.

Michaela’s work encompasses a number of cross-national ethnographies to examine the construction of young people’s (learner) identities in different life domains and educational contexts. This included a British Academy study on the learner identities of young people on high-quality engineering apprenticeships in England and Germany which links in with her previous work on retail assistants and motor mechanics.

Her research interests are in the area of sociology of education and include: youth transitions; learner identities and the interaction with representations of class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality; the construction of learning cultures in general and vocational education; interdisciplinary approaches to understanding youth transitions and learner identities; and social inequality in education. Michaela welcomes PhD students in any of these areas.

Research interests

  • Sociology of education
  • Biographical and ethnographic approaches to understanding youth transitions and learner identities
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to understanding youth transitions and learner identities
  • Education and VET policy
  • Social inequality
  • Comparative vocational education and training
Current projects:

What do IT Technicians do? The roles and qualifications of IT professionals at intermediate level, funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation (April to December 2016)

A European cooperative framework for Dual Learning (EuroDuaLe), a European ERASMUS project to promote transnational cooperation for the provision of dual learning programmes in higher education (September 2015- August 2018).


Recent projects:
  • Learner identities and high-quality apprenticeships in England and Germany', an ethnography exploring the construction of learner identities of young people on engineering apprenticeships, funded by the British Academy/Sir John Cass Foundation (2013-2015).
  • Retail sector competencies, EU Leonardo-da-Vinci (2011-13)
  • Bricklaying Qualifications, work and VET in Europe, EU Leonardo-da-Vinci (2008-10)
  • A European skills framework: cross-national equivalence of vocational qualifications – Nuffield Foundation (2006-2009)

Affiliate research group

Centre for Research in Inclusion

Research project(s)

On-the-job training in apprenticeship in England

This was a small-scale study into the extent and quality of on-the-job training received by apprentices in England. The research was funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, London.

A European co-operative Framework for dual Learning in Higher Education (EuroDuaLE)

Learner Identities and High-Quality Apprenticeships in England and Germany

Key roles:

Deputy Doctoral Programme Director and Academic Selector

Associations :

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Vocational Education and Training
  • Editorial Board Member, Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
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Book Chapters

BSc Education
MSc Education Practice and Innovation

PhD and EdD supervisions

Dr Michaela Brockmann
Southampton Education School University of Southampton Building 32 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 32/2031

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