Formal and informal systems of VET: implications for employee involvement


The age-old conundrum embodied in the skills challenge is this: if it is accepted that skills are a good thing, then why is it that the uptake of skills development practices, through, for example, training and lifelong learning agenda, are not widespread? In voluntarist Britain, policy- makers, researchers, educationalists and even practitioners have been grappling for a long time with low training participation, and the low-skills, low-wage route that British industry has adopted. Problems associated with this include claims of a productivity gap that exists between the UK and major competitors and the perpetuation of short-termism that has led to the restriction of capacity development. Scholars offering a panacea to the challenge have often called for the strengthening of institutions, usually supporting such exhortations with evidence from comparative studies that other countries are better in the regulation of both internal and external labour markets. Notwithstanding the necessity to strengthen institutions and to develop a comprehensive vocational education and training (VET) system that respects social partnership and industrial democracy and genuinely involves the employee voice, there is also a need to account for the multi-layered nature that currently exists in formal and informal guises

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