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Construction skills development in the UK : transitioning between the formal and informal

Abstract

Research reported here is part of a wider study that seeks to examine the practices involved in encouraging and enabling employers to engage with the skills development agenda. A series of exploratory interviews and ethnographic observations reveal potential disconnections between skills policies at the governmental level and what actually happens in employer practices regarding skills development. On the one hand, the formal education and training system focuses on such targets as the attainment of narrowly-defined occupational standards, levels of competence, and quantitative performance measures like completion rates. On the other hand, the socialised concept of skills development takes place informally at the workplace through on-the-job training and mentoring relationships between senior and junior employees. Both the formal and informal systems appear to co-exist alongside each other, although tensions are mounting in terms of confidence that employers and the wider industry place on the efficacy of the formal system

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