Portrait of Dr Lavinia Mitton

Dr Lavinia Mitton

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy
Programme Director, Policy Officer Higher Apprenticeship

About

Dr Mitton focuses on educating the next generation of policy experts.

She is the Programme Director of the University of Kent Policy Officer Higher Apprenticeship, a new qualification that is tailored for aspiring policy professionals. Higher apprenticeships are a partnership between the University and an employer. They allow employees to combine paid work and on the job experience and training with gaining a recognised qualification. On successful completion, apprentices are awarded both a Level 4 Certificate of Higher Education in Policy Studies and an Apprenticeship graded with Pass or Distinction.

This apprenticeship is aimed at people whose work involves shaping and/or influencing government policy by working with a wide range of stakeholders and experts to gather evidence, effectively synthesise information and present recommendations to varied audiences. It offers apprentices the opportunity to learn about public policy strategy, design, and delivery, and how public policy professionals can make a difference. The emphasis of the programme is to link academic learning to work-based learning and employment.

Dr Mitton is also a member of the teaching team for the BA Social Policy and Social Change. This programme aims to give students the skills and abilities to become informed citizens, capable of participating in the policy process and equipped for a dynamic labour market. Throughout the degree, our academics challenge students to develop their own opinions and ideas, and encourage them to become an independent thinker.

Dr Mitton has a PhD from the London School of Economics. Her MSc is from Wolfson College, University of Oxford, and is in The Social History of Medicine. Her BA is from Somerville College, University of Oxford, and is in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

Research interests

Dr Mitton's research interests are in the field of social inequalities in the UK from a social policy perspective. Her specialist areas of expertise are ethnicity and poverty studies. She has a particular interest in analysing very large-scale surveys, such as the Family Resources Survey and the Labour Force Survey.

Current research

Dr Mitton's longstanding research interest is in one of the central concerns of social policy: how societies provide for the needs, welfare and well-being of their members by the redistribution of resources through taxes and benefit schemes.

In particular, Dr Mitton has worked on the problem that whilst means testing can target cash and services at the people that need them most, it can have many unintended consequences. For example, recipients of income-related benefits might change their behaviour in unexpected ways. Dr Mitton has investigated both the underlying principles of means-testing, and how such policies can be operationalised in practice by government departments and grant-making organisations.

Past research

During Dr Mitton's career, she has collaborated on major projects. She brought her expertise in the analysis of large data sets to an ESRC project on Black Africans in the UK. Dr Mitton has also worked on the University of Kent Student Success (EDI) Project. This is an institutional research project that aims to promote student equality by conducting research into attainment differences and developing evidenced activities and interventions to support student success.  

Teaching

Policy Officer Higher Apprenticeship

Dr Mitton is the Programme Director of the University of Kent Policy Officer Higher Apprenticeship, a new qualification that is tailored for aspiring policy professionals.

The arrival of the Level 4 Policy Officer Apprenticeship Standard has created new opportunities for the delivery and funding of the education and training of the next generation of policy professionals. This apprenticeship is aimed at people whose work involves shaping and/or influence government policy by working with a wide range of stakeholders and experts to gather evidence, effectively synthesise information and present recommendations to varied audiences.

This apprenticeship is particularly suited to the following roles:

  • Policy Officer
  • Policy Manager
  • Policy Adviser / Advisor
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Affairs Manager

Policy officers work within organisations that interact with and strive to influence government policy, such as:

  • Local authorities
  • National government
  • Public bodies
  • Statutory regulators
  • Private sector
  • Non-profit, charity and voluntary sector

Benefits of the University of Kent Policy Officer Higher Apprenticeship:

  • Helps employers to utilise their apprenticeship levy fund and secure their apprenticeship target
  • Leads to a recognised Certificate of Higher Education that is also a specialist policy qualification
  • High quality tuition from academics with years of applied policy expertise
  • Structured to combine work and study, supporting employees to put theory into practice
  • Helps employers build a diverse workforce
  • As students registered with the University of Kent, apprentices can benefit from the added value of a higher education experience.

The programme is delivered throughout England, primarily using our web-based online learning environment. This offers an integrated suite of interactive tools and provides apprentices with a flexible distance learning experience led by academics that includes videoed talks, links to related reading, activities with feedback provided and discussion forums. Online guided independent study can take place at a time and location to suit workplace priorities.

We hold real time live webinars online, providing convenient contact with the lecturers for apprentices in locations across England, whilst maintaining a familiar, first-class higher education experience. Apprentices also have a dedicated University of Kent Apprenticeship Advisor who supports them to progress by meeting every 6-10 weeks with them and their manger.

The apprentice can commence in September 2021 or January 2022. The minimum duration of this apprenticeship is twenty-four months.

If you want to talk to Dr Mitton about the Policy Officer Higher Apprenticeship, please get in touch: L.Mitton@kent.ac.uk

If you want to talk to the University of Kent about any aspect of apprenticeships in general, including how you can use the levy to fund your employees, please get in touch with our team:
E: apprenticeships@kent.ac.uk
T: 01634 888459 or 888467

Other teaching

Dr Mitton also teaches undergraduate modules on the welfare state in the UK and on social inequalities in the UK. 

Professional

Dr Mitton is a member of the Social Policy Association.

Dr Mitton is co-editor of the fourth edition of 'Social Policy', a major textbook from Oxford University Press.

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