The two-year full-time equivalent foundation degree was introduced into English higher education in 2000 in order to enhance the contribution of the sector to the national economy. A key component of the foundation degree curriculum is a substantial proportion of work-based learning, which differentiates it to a considerable extent from other qualifications. The foundation degree is also intended to boost the access of under-represented groups to higher education.
Initial experience suggests that, broadly, the foundation degree is succeeding although some students have experienced problems. This article discusses some findings from a survey of students from the first two cohorts of foundation degrees and relates these to an approach to employability that is informed by a variety of theoretical perspectives. It concludes with some observations on the future development of the foundation degree.