Governments worldwide assume that national competitiveness can be improved by developing workforce skills. This book critically examines this 'high skills' vision at both policy and practice levels. It challenges an oversimplified policy rhetoric that underestimates the complexity of the processes involved in developing a skilled workforce.
The book focuses on key issues relating to the high skills agenda: skills and political economy; different investment strategies for producing skills; qualification systems and learning. A multidisciplinary team of authors from a range of disciplines, including economics, management and education, provides the cross-cutting international and comparative analysis. Editorial comment links their explorations to wider questions of skill formation processes and overarching questions are addressed through in-depth analysis of the roles of higher education, apprenticeship and formal school learning in skill formation.
Geoff Hayward is the Associate Director of the ESRC Research Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) and a lecturer in Educational Studies at Oxford University. His research interests include VET policy and practice, basic skills and the changing social and economic role of Higher Education. Susan James is a SKOPE Research Student. Her research interests include work-based learning, VET policy and school-to-work transitions.
Producing skills: conundrums and possibilities ~ Geoff Hayward and Susan James; Fit for purpose? Sixty years of VET policy in England ~ Geoff Stanton and Bill Bailey; The European policy regarding education and training: a critical assessment ~ Jean-Luc De Meulemeester and Denis Rochat; 'I can't believe it's not skill': the changing meaning of skill in the UK context and some implications ~ Ewart Keep and Jonathan Payne; Qualifying for a job: an educational and economic audit of the English 14-19 education and training system ~ Rosa M. Fernandez and Geoff Hayward; Does apprenticeship still have meaning in the UK? The consequences of voluntarism and sectoral change ~ Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin; Tradition and reform: modernising the German dual system of vocational education ~ Hubert Ertl; Learning in the workplace: reappraisals and reconceptions ~ Stephen Billett; Interests, arguments and ideologies: employers' involvement in education-business partnerships in the US and the UK ~ Suzanne Greenwald; Compatible higher education systems and the European labour market: Bologna and beyond ~ Guy Haug; The expansion of higher education: economic necessity or hyperinflation? Cecile Deer; Becoming a chef: the politics and culture of learning ~ Susan James and Geoff Hayward.