There are marked changes in skill requirements in today's modern societies, and major questions about the processes of skill formation remain unresolved. What do we mean when we talk about skills, qualifications and competencies? Are market economies and firms systematically under-investing in skills? This book addresses these questions by first looking at what we mean when we talk about 'skills'. Secondly, it looks at the institutions where skills are acquired, before finally considering the provision of and access to training. It provides an up-to-date review of theories and research on skill formation in psychology, economics, political science and sociology, and addresses issues of skill learning and measurement, institutional and policy differences between countries, the issue of skill formation across a lifetime and disparities between socio-economic groups.
Karl Ulrich Mayer is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Yale University and Co-Director of the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE). He is co-editor of After the Fall of the Wall: Life Courses in the Transformation of East Germany and The Berlin Aging Study: From 70 to 100 (Cambridge University Press). Heike Solga is professor of sociology at the Institute for Sociology at the Georgia Augusta University Goettingen, Germany. She is a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Sociological Research Goettingen (SOFI), and from 2000-2005, she was head of the Independent Research Group named 'Lack of Training: Employment and Life Chances of the Less Educated' at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.
Part I. Cross-National Diversity in Skill Formation Regimes: Origins, Changes, and Institutional Variation in Individuals' Labor-Market Placements: 1. Institutions and collective actors in the provision of training: historical and cross-national comparisons Pepper D. Culpepper and Kathleen Thelen; 2. When traditions change and virtues become obstacles: skill formation in Britain and Germany Steffen Hillmert; Part II. The Economics and Sociology of Skill Formation: Access, Investments, and Returns to Education: 3. Why does the German apprenticeship system work? Christian Dustmann and Uta Schoenberg; 4. What do we know about training at work? Philip J. O'Connell and Jean-Marie Jungblut; 5. Qualifications and the returns to training across the life course Walter Mueller and Marita Jacob; 6. Lack of training: the employment opportunities of low-skilled persons from a sociological and microeconomic perspective Heike Solga; Part III. Individuals' Acquisition of Skills and Competencies: Learning Environments and Measurements of Skills: 7. Vocational and professional learning: skill formation between formal and situated learning Hans Gruber, Christian Harteis and Monika Rehrl; 8. How to compare the success of VET systems in skill formation? Martin Baethge, Frank Achtenhagen and Lena Arends.