Staff profile

Dr Bill Esmond

Associate Professor Education and Employment

Bill Esmond stood in a classroom.


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education

Research centre

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Research Cluster




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I research the relationship between education policy and practice, especially in technical, vocational, adult and professional fields, and their relationship with changes to employment and society.

I'm interested in the role of learning at work in young people's transitions to adults, its differentiating social effects, and the possibilities of rethinking its place in educational practice.

I support others researching in these areas, including by supervising doctoral studies, either by students based in the UK or internationally. Please get in touch if you think you might want to research in this area.

Teaching responsibilities

My most important work is the development of new researchers and I supervise the following doctoral students: 

I teach on the taught modules of the University's Doctor of Education programme and contribute to other postgraduate programmes by invitation. 

I examine doctorates in other universities across the UK, Australia and South Africa.

Research interests

Membership of professional bodies


Postgraduate qualifications

Recent conferences

Experience in industry

Before joining the University, I taught in the Further Education sector for twelve years, including teaching on the University's teacher training programmes in a partner college. Prior to this, I worked in various industrial roles, including construction supply and vehicle manufacture.

International experience

Recent International Conferences

Additional interests and activities

Reviewer for academic journals:

Editorial Board & Editorial Management Committee member:

Journal of Vocational Education and Training

I am currently part of a team editing a Special Issue for this journal on vocational knowledge and expertise, alongside colleagues from the Universities of Bath, Leicester and Witwatersrand.

In the media

I write, and my work is referenced in news media for the field I research, including well-known publications Times Educational Supplement and FE Week.

I aim to share research with wider audiences using a range of media and social media. You can follow me on Twitter at @bill_esmond.

These videos are 'video abstracts' in which I discuss recent work with academics and practitioners:

Recent publications


Esmond, B., & Atkins, L. (2022). Education, Skills and Social Justice in a Polarising World: Between Technical Elites and Welfare Vocationalism. Routledge. OA chapters at

Peer-reviewed articles in international journals 

Hordern, J., Shalem, Y., Esmond, B. & Bishop, D. (2022). Editorial for JVET special issue on knowledge and expertise, Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 74:1, 1-11, DOI: 10.1080/13636820.2022.2028365

Avis, J., Atkins, L., Esmond, B. & McGrath, S. (2021). Re-conceptualising VET: responses to covid-19, Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 73:1, 1-23, DOI: 10.1080/13636820.2020.1861068

Esmond, B. (2020). Vocational teachers and workplace learning: integrative, complementary and implicit accounts of boundary crossing, Studies in Continuing Education.

Esmond, B. (2020). Emerging apprenticeship practitioner roles in England: conceptualising the subaltern educator. Vocations and Learning, 13(2), 179–196.

Esmond, B., & Atkins, L. (2020). VET Realignment and the Development of Technical Elites: Learning at Work in England. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training7(2), 193–213.

Esmond, B. (2019). Continental Selections? Institutional actors and market mechanisms in post-16 education in England. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 24 (2/3), 311-330. 

Esmond, B. (2018). ‘They get a qualification at the end of it, I think’: incidental workplace learning and technical education in England, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 70 (2), 193-211. 

Esmond, B. & Wood, H. (2017): More morphostasis than morphogenesis? The ‘dual professionalism’ of English Further Education workshop tutors. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 69 (2), 229-245.

2015: Part-time Higher Education in English Colleges: Adult identities in diminishing spaces. Studies in the Education of Adults, 47 (1), 23-34. 

2015 (with C. Gray, R. Turner, C. Sutton, C. Petersen, S. Stevens, J. Swain, C. Schofield & D. Thackeray).: Research methods teaching in vocational environments: developing critical engagement with knowledge?  Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 67 (3), 279-293.

2012: 'I don’t make out how important it is or anything: identity and identity formation by part-time higher education students in an English further education college', Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 64(3), pp. 351-364.

Published papers in peer-reviewed conference proceedings

2019a:  ‘Bridging’ the Gap between VET and Higher Education: Permeability or Perpetuation? Proceedings of the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET), Hamburg, DE 2-6 September. Bern, CH: VETNET.

2019b: The role of education and training in the development of technical elites: work experience and vulnerability. (With L. Atkins and R. Suart.) Proceedings of the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET), Hamburg, DE 2-6 September. Bern, CH: VETNET.

2019c: Higher/Degree Apprenticeships and the Diversification of Transitions in England. In Contemporary Apprenticeship Reforms and Reconfigurations, pp. 197-200. Proceedings of the 8th Innovative Apprenticeships (INAP) Conference, Konstanz, DE, 21-22 March. Zurich, CH: Lit Verlag.

2019d: Apprenticeship teaching in England: new practices, roles and professional formation for educators. In Contemporary Apprenticeship Reforms and Reconfigurations, pp. 118-121. Proceedings of the 8th Innovative Apprenticeships (INAP) Conference, Konstanz, DE, 21-22 March. Zurich, CH: Lit Verlag.

2018: Beyond comparative institutional analysis: A workplace turn in English TVET. In C. Nägele & B. E. Stalder (Eds.), Trends in vocational education and training research. (pp. 140–147). Proceedings of the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET), Bolzano, IT, 4-7 September. Bern, CH: VETNET.


Book chapter

Esmond, B. (forthcoming)‘The industrious muse?’ Commodification and craft in further and higher education. In The Industrialisation of Arts Education, edited by S. Broadhead. Palgrave MacMillan

Selected recent peer-reviewed conference papers

‘Vocational Teachers in Work-based Transitions: A comparison of boundary-crossing practices.’ 10th Researching Workplace Learning (RWL) Conference. Giessen, DE. 24-26 July 2019.

'Binary Code? Bridging the "Academic-Technical" Divide and the Permeability or Perpetuation of Pathways in England.’ Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Conference, Celtic Manor Resort, Newport. 5-7 December 2018.

‘Labour Market Institutions and the Workplace Turn in English Post-Compulsory Education: Problems of selection and inclusivity.’ Association for Research in Post-Compulsory Education Third International Research Conference, Harris Manchester College, Oxford. 13-15 July, 2018.

‘The “workplace turn” in post-16 education: relocating learning or a new tripartism?’ British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference, University of Sussex, Brighton. 5-7 September 2017.

‘Knowledge, skills and moral order: a workplace turn in vocational education.’ Journal of Vocational Education and Training Conference, Worcester College, Oxford. 7-9 July, 2017

'Anticipating moral order in the vocational workshop,' British Sociological Association Sociology of Education Study Group Conference, ‘Grit’, Governmentality and the Erasure of Inequality? The Curious Rise of Character Education Policy. King's College, London. 11 July 2016.

'Cross-sectoral teacher education in England: a study of vocational workshop tutors,' Association for Research in Post-Compulsory Education Second International Research Conference, Harris Manchester College, Oxford. 8-10 July, 2016.