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Dr Joyceline Alla-Mensah

Profile summary

Professional biography

Joyceline Alla-Mensah is an educational researcher in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport at the Open University. She is the Co-Lead of the Youth and Transitions Hub of the Centre for the Study of Global Development (CSGD) at the Open University. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Nottingham, MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Political Science from the University of Ghana.

Research interests

My research interest is in the inclusion of disadvantaged young people in education and training. I am interested in how inequalities are perpetuated in education with a focus on vocational education and training. I draw on the capability approach as a social justice framework to evaluate the extent of freedom that marginalised young people such as migrants, those in vocational education and training in the informal economy and pregnant schoolgirls and mothers have, to achieve well-being. In 2021, I led the preparation of a UNESCO-UNEVOC discussion paper on TVET and disadvantaged youth that is informing the organisation’s work on youth and inclusion. 

I am also interested in the role of digital technologies in workplace learning, especially in the informal economy. 

External collaborations

I am a member of the UNESCO-UNEVOC Network and have worked on several projects commissioned by the organisation. An example is the migration strand of the Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET Project. In 2019, I moderated the UNESCO-UNEVOC virtual conference on 'Inclusion in TVET'. 


A capability approach to understanding the role of informal apprenticeship in the human development of informal apprentices (2023)
Alla-Mensah, Joyceline and McGrath, Simon
Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 75(4) (pp. 677-696)

New VET theories for new times: the critical capabilities approach to vocational education and training and its potential for theorising a transformed and transformational VET (2022)
McGrath, Simon; Powell, Lesley; Alla-Mensah, Joyceline; Hilal, Randa and Suart, Rebecca
Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 74(4) (pp. 575-596)

[Book review] Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice (2021)
Alla-Mensah, Joyceline
Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL), 9(2) (pp. 105-107)

Academic Conferences as Learning Sites: A Multinational Comparison of Doctoral Students’ Perspectives and Institutional Policy (2019)
Omolabake, Fakunle; Dollinger, Mollie; Alla-Mensah, Joyceline and Izard, Blair
International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 14 (pp. 479-497)

Technical and vocational education and training for disadvantaged youth (2021-07-15)
Alla-Mensah, Joyceline; McGrath, Simon and Henderson, Holly
UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Bonn, Germany.

Human migration and TVET (2019)
Wedekind, Volker; Fakoush, Haya and Alla-Mensah, Joyceline

Skills for decent work, life and sustainable development: Vocational education and the sustainable development goals (2018)
McGrath, Simon; Alla-Mensah, Joyceline and Langthaler, Margarita
Austrian Foundation for Development Research