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Emerging apprenticeship practitioner roles in England: conceptualising the subaltern educatorTVET educator roles and identities vary internationally, and are subject to repositioning, for example as the relative significance of institutions and the workplace change within national systems. In English apprenticeships, a key position has long been occupied by competence assessors, whose non-teaching role has related uneasily to those of professional educators. Following the introduction of new apprenticeship standards, former assessors are increasingly being allocated training responsibilities, raising issues about the expertise, identities and professional formation both of these emerging practitioners and of vocational educators in general. A qualitative study of assessors who have assumed greater training responsibilities examined these issues through individual and small-group interviews. Participant accounts of diverse and contested practices and environments suggested a need to conceptualise their roles in ways that draw upon but go beyond accounts of professionalism and occupational expertise developed at earlier stages. Drawing on Gramsci, the concept of the subaltern educator is put forward to characterise the complex position of these staff in the current climate of further education, the need for enhanced, rather than diminished, professional formation and wider possibilities for professional enhancement at a time of uncertainty for all vocational educators.