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NEW LABOUR AND THE FUTURE OF TRAINING

EDITORUL INTRODUCTION

This is the fourth pamphlet to appear in the IMPACT series, which is published by the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB). Its purpose is to bring philosophical perspectives to bear on current British educational policy. IMPACT pamphlets are currently coming out so soon one after the other that at the time of writing (early January 2000) only IMPACT 1 has been published. IMPACT 2 and IMPACT 3 are due later this month. It is already clear, however, that the original motive for launching the series has proved well-founded. Its creator, Paul Standish, is a member of the IMPACT editorial team and Assistant Editor of PESGB’s Journal of Philosophy of Education . He was aware that philosophers of education were producing excellent practicallyrelevant pieces of writing in the Journal and elsewhere which too few outside the discipline tended ever to see. In late 1998 he conceived the idea of a series of short, accessible papers commenting on different aspects of current British education policy. The hope was that these would be read by policy makers who would then see the practical value that philosophical thinking can have in their world. So IMPACT was launched. It appeared at a propitious time - a year o r so into a new government whose main priority was educational improvement. The reassessment of principles and structures which this initiated began to raise philosophical questions. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has equipped its new National Curriculum for 2000 with a comprehensive set of aims, formerly virtually absent. Many of these are to do with the personal and intellectual qualities that pupils are claimed to need in the new millennium. They embody a vision of the good life for the VII

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individual and for society. How adequate is this vision? Is it coherent? Does it avoid paternalism? How are the new aims meant to permeate the statutory curriculum subjects, largely unchanged as they are since 1988?

Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship education have also been foregrounded in the QCA review. They go beyond induction into the relatively impersonal subject matter of mathematics, science, history or geography into a more intimate shaping of individuals’ attitudes, beliefs, values. What principles should guide the teacher in such controversial areas? Can they steer clear of indoctrination? Are the recommendations which the government accepted in these fields in late 1999 trouble-free? The branches of philosophy which spring into relevance for all the matters mentioned are ethics and political philosophy. Another branch - the philosophy of mind - has also been put to use. This government has been especially interested in improving the mental processes of young learners. Its National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Development reported in 1999, its brief being partly to see what can be done to develop young people’s creative capacities. But what is creativity? Is it a general ability? Is creativity in the arts the same as creativity in science? Can it be taught? How is it connected with imagination, with critical thinking? Is it necessarily a good thing? Again, as with the QCA’s curriculum review: just one short step and you find yourself in deep water from which only philosophical thinking can hope to rescue you. In early January 2000, a few days in fact before this introduction was written, the government announced that all children are to be taught thinking skills in their first three years at secondary school. ‘It is about the ability to analyse and make connections,’ said David Blunkett, ‘to use knowledge effectively, to solve problems and think creatively’ (The Guardian,January 6 2000). How are these phenomena related together? Does problem-solving depend on being creative? What kind of ‘connections’ are pupils to be encouraged to make? Is VIII

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the practical thinking we rely on in the conduct of our personal and civic lives importantly different from the theoretical thinking we use in the pursuit of scientific or historical truth? Do thinking skills cover contemplation as well as reasoning? How are thinking skills, assuming they exist, best taught? Philosophers of education will be eagerly awaiting the guidance on teaching thinking to be included in handbooks on the revised national curriculum to be published later in Spring Term 2000. - Not so that they can do a demolition job. What would be the point of that? The attempt to base secondary education more on independence of thought and less on rote learning makes obvious sense. What philosophers can usefully do is to run over the conceptual structure of the new guidance, test it out to see if it all hangs together, unearth assumptions which require more support. As anyone who has begun to think about thinking - or knowledge, or values - will testify, it is all too easy to lose one’s way, blundering about in a maze of abstract words. Professional philosophers have also passed through this vale of bewilderment. In their case they have struggled to keep words and concepts and theories and sometimes values from entangling themselves together ...and have emerged at last on higher ground where things seem, at least momentarily, more clearly delineated. The new philosophical mood of educational politics in Britain is reflected in the excellent response the IMPACT series has had in the first few months of its existence from the audience which it has had mainly in its sights. Policy-makers from central and local government, educational quangos, trades unions, think-tanks have warmed to the idea of short, untechnical papers which help them to make sense of the underlying philosophical issues in which they find themselves increasingly enmeshed. There have been three IMPACT papers so far - on assessment policy, on performance-related pay for teachers, and on school choice and equality. Each has been accompanied by a symposium where policy makers have come together with philosophers of education. IX

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Respondents have included John Bangs (NUT), Francis Beckett (New Statesman), Nigel de Gruchy (NASUWT), Caroline Gipps (Kingston University), Sheila Lawlor (Politeia), Anthony O’Hear (University of Bradford), Richard Pring (University of Oxford), Nick Tate (QCA), James Tooley (IEA). Further IMPACT papers will be published on average once every two or three months. Forthcoming pamphlets will discuss such topical issues as: the new National Curriculum and its aims; citizenship education; good teaching; sex education; personal, social and health education; and the place of modern languages in the curriculum. A full list of topics due to appear in 2000- 1 will be found at the end of this pamphlet. Also at the end of every pamphlet, including this one, there is a list of suggestions for further reading. This enables readers to examine opposing, or simply alternative, arguments on the same issues. Each IMPACT paper expresses the ideas of its author only. It does not represent the view of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. There is indeed, no such single view. PESGB contains several hundred members whose ideas and political allegiances are widely disparate.

Christopher Winch is Professor of Philosophy of Education at University College Northampton. He is also Deputy Editor of IMPACT. He has broad interests in philosophy of education as his publications testify. He is the author of Language, Ability and Educational Achievement (Routledge, 1990), Quality and Education (Blackwell, 1996), The Philosophy of Human Learning (Routledge, 1998). His latest book, forthcoming with Routledge, is Education, Work and Social Capital. X

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New Labour and the Future of Training is an examination of the government's recent proposals on training in the White Paper Learning to Succeed (DfEE 1999). It is a cross-disciplinary argument, drawing on economics as well as on philosophy. Christopher Winch is disappointed by the new proposals. He sees them as a missed opportunity to streamline training in this country, which has historically lagged behind continental developments, not least in Germany. Britain currently faces the task of transforming working arrangements traditionally dependent on low levels of skills for the majority of workers into a high-skill economy, able to compete effectively in the world market-place. In the first, more centrally philosophical, part of his paper, Winch links the notion of being highly-skilled with wider considerations about the components of a flourishing human life in present social conditions. Earning power and other benefits apart, highly-skilled workers are more likely than others to find fulfilments in their work which contribute to their overall well-being. Given the central place in societies like our own that work has in human flourishing, this is important both for economic and educational policy. Winch applauds the emphasis in the White Paper on a highly skilled workforce, but regrets that these wider horizons on human well-being have been ignored in a policy which restricts itself to matters of international competitiveness and the increase of income per capita. Where Learning to Succeed has gone wrong, in Winch's view, is in the methods it suggests for moving towards a high-skill economy. It leaves matters too much to the market, with an enhanced role for employers to indicate the kinds of skills they need so that colleges and other bodies can provide them. There is insufficient incentive here for any of the training parties involved to produce the kind of high-level worker required. Training needs to be reconceptualised as consisting of three elements: college-based work on the theoretical side; simulated work experience, also college-based; and supervised work in the work-place. These three need to be integrated into a XI

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coherent programme. Winch sees no way of providing this except via a measure of state intervention. In a discussion of the detailed proposals of the White Paper he also comments on such specific policies as the University for Industry, individual learning accounts, the ‘New Deal’ for young people, the theoretical VQ, and the Stage 1 GNVQ available post- 14. More generally, he thinks the government is heading for real problems, not least as young people come to feel cheated through the dashing of their hopes as Britain continues to remain locked in a low-skill economy. IMPACT 4 will be the topic of a Symposium at the Institute of Education on March 14 2000. Respondents to Professor Winch include Malcolm Wicks, MP, Minister for Lifelong Learning; Frances O’Grady from TUC; and John Brennan from the Association of Colleges.

John White January 2000

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Four concerns about British policy ‘Learningto Succeed’ is a missed opportunity

We are now at a decisive point in the development of training in Britain. A relatively new government has spent a couple of years reviewing the legacy of the voluntarist experiment, which effectively made individuals responsible for their own training and employers responsible for spending public money to fund it. Few would argue that this policy was successful. The new proposals contained in the Government’s White Paper Learning to Succeed (DEE 1999) therefore represent a great opportunity to chart a new direction in this vital area (Hodgson and Spours 1999). This pamphlet argues that the opportunity has been missed and that the promise of a high-skill economy of fulfilled employees remains distant. To summarise, there are four main complaints:

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The policy pays excessive attention to the concerns of one group (employers) and not enough to the concerns of other groups.

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It is almost solely concerned with the creation of jobs and the maintenance of profitability and insufficiently with the quality of work and the quality of life at work.

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It has not thought through the complex issues surrounding workplace learning.

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It adopts an excessively short term perspective concerning the economic and social welfare of the country.

This pamphlet is primarily concerned with philosophical issues that arise from policy-making in this area, although where debates in economics are relevant, they will also be discussed. There are a number of philosophical issues. First, there is a question concerning the aims of economic activity and of the educational processes that prepare people for work. This question bears heavily on what the role of the state should be in attending to the long-term interests of society. Second, there is a questioning of assumptions about what human activities are worthwhile. Third, there are moral issues about whose interests should be attended to in the formulation of policy for vocational education. Finally, there are epistemic questions about the most appropriate way in which learning for work should take place. Learning to Succeed gives us the government’s vision of the relationship between education, training and economic activity. We now have a chance to see what the government thinks about the relationship between work-related aims of education and the economic well-being of the UK. In this paper, the thrust of the government’s policies, as well as the White Paper, will be critically examined. One might wonder why philosophers of education should 2

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concern themselves with what appears to be a technical issue concerning the relationship between training and economic growth; surely that can be left to economists and professional trainers? The main point that this pamphlet wishes to make, however, is that the value placed on vocational education and training is fundamental to the value placed on work as a part of people’s lives. A successful and fulfilling working life is most people’s principal aspiration. They desire it, not just for the prosperity it brings, but also for the satisfaction of feeling a useful member of society and for the opportunities for self-realisation and social relationships that paid employment brings with it. Preparation for work and the quality of working lives are, therefore, not just economic issues, but moral ones as well. The way in which a society organises the economy and distributes its rewards is central to its conception of the good. Preparation for adult life is one of the fundamental aims of education, and preparation for paid employment and participation in the economy is, for many, their main personal aim. Vocational education is, therefore, vital to a society’s conception of a worthwhile life and how it should be achieved. It is disappointing, but not surprising, that people’s aspirations for their working lives continue to be neglected in official documents on education. This surely contributes to the relative neglect of vocational education that continues to bedevil British culture. It could be retorted that the aims of economic activity are simple enough and do not require any profound philosophical reflection. They are t o increase per capita prosperity a n d individual consumption. Certainly that has been the mainstream view of the economics profession from the time of Adam Smith (Smith 1981, first published 1776; J.M.Keynes, 1973). It would undoubtedly be intolerably patronising for the comfortably-off to deride the aspirations of those less well-off for a more comfortable private standard of living; there is no doubt that any politician who chose to



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ignore these aspirations when formulating economic policy would receive a swift rebuttal at the ballot box. This, however, is not the end of the matter, not only because the achievement of material and other forms of well-being are not always incompatible with each other, but also because other aspects of life are just as important. One of these aspects, too often neglected, is the well-being of those at work, not just in terms of health and safety, but also in terms of whether their work forms part of an overall satisfying and worthwhile life. What counts as a satisfying and worthwhile life and how we arrive at different conceptions of a satisfying and worthwhile life are fundamental concerns of philosophers. There can, therefore, be no apology for dealing with the relationship between education and employment in a philosophical way, looking at the contribution of education not just to material prosperity but also to human wellbeing in a broader sense. One of the problems of arriving at a set of sustainable educational and economic aims is that of balancing different interest groups whose conceptions of the good do not necessarily coincide. So in the case of vocational education policy o n e would expect d u e consideration to be given to the point of view of the government (concerned with the public interest and the stewardship of public resources, in a long-, as well as a short-term perspective), employers (concerned with the prosperity of their businesses) and employees (concerned with the quality of work, its security and remuneration). A viable policy for post-16 education, then, should pay due attention to the interests of all the major stakeholders. This will be one of the tests for the evaluation of government policy in this pamphlet. Let us now return to the context of current government policy. Learning to Succeed is partly concerned with tidying up a ramshackle inheritance of uncoordinated and often poor quality initiatives in post- 16 education. It is not particularly concerned with issues concerning the quality of working lives neither with well-being, except in the important area of social inclusion. Neither does it deal with 4

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an issue that political philosophers have long been concerned with, namely how to achieve an outcome acceptable to most people when there are insufficient incentives for individuals to achieve it on their own. In this respect the government’s proposals fail quite radically. This failure affects the possibilities of achieving more satisfying forms of working life and so deserves close attention.

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2 Why vocational education and training policy matter Economic goals should not be treated in detachmentfiom wider questions of well-being

Economic policies have aims, even if they are not always clearly formulated: a feature which they have shared, until very recently, with education policies in Britain. However, it is largely accurate to say that the promotion of economic success is routinely cited, at least by non-philosophers, as one of the aims of education policy and the achievement of material prosperity is regarded as the touchstone of economic success. The need to compete with our economic rivals is also thought to be vital and Learning to Succeed makes much of the importance of this. The aims of both educational and economic policy express a country’s values and priorities. They require a careful ordering if a coherent structure of preferences is to be established. It is possible to pursue material consumption alongside environmental, national and social well-being, but very difficult choices have to be made about 6

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the extent to which each of these objectives is to be pursued if the others are not to be unduly constrained. Similarly, it is possible to pursue an educational policy whose aims involve both the pursuit of society’s economic well-being and individual autonomy. This does not mean that there are no difficult choices for educational policy makers; one needs not only to prioritise these aims but also to establish the extent to which they can be jointly pursued. But a government that wishes to be clear about what it is doing needs to articulate such aims, prioritise them and ensure ways of achieving them. The main criterion of evaluation of the policy of successive governments in both economic and educational policy is, then, the extent to which they have managed to balance social and individual well-being in a broad sense on the one hand and material prosperity on the other. Economic well-being is usually understood as personal disposable income. Income after taxation is emphasised, thus placing emphasis on the consumption of private, rather than public or semi-public goods. Individuals are taken to be the main economic agent, rather than the family, neighbourhood or community. ‘Economic well-being’ has, then, become roughly synonymous with ‘individual ability to consume private goods’. There is much to quarrel with in this account of economic aims which I do not wish to pursue here, (see Winch 1998) But for the sake of the argument it is worth seeing whether the kind of VET system that we have in this country is really the most appropriate, where we are operating on the assumption that the production of private consumption goods is the principal aim of economic policy. The conclusion will be that not only is it not appropriate, but that it does not serve the other aims either. I have deliberately not said the ‘sole’ aim of economic policy because even a dedicated consumptionist would admit that there are issues concerning the quality of life in and out of work that need to be considered, even if they are merely to be treated as ‘externalities’ o r costs and benefits incurred outside t h e usual economic 7

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computations. The case for regarding production for consumption as the sole aim is usually made pragmatically: if enterprises do not select the most efficient methods of production they will not be viable. But since personal experience of the quality of work is not relevant in determining efficiency, it should not be considered, according to this point of view. There are two possible responses to this. First, there are good reasons to suppose that workers’ perceptions of the quality of their working lives are important in determining the quality and productivity of their work. It is particularly noticeable, for example, that work that requires high levels of skill also involves high levels of workplace trust, teamwork and individual autonomy (see for example, Clarke and Wall, 1996; Prais, Jarvis and Wagner 1989).

Second, work and the context of work can provide intrinsically valuable, but intangible, private goods that can be regarded as partially constitutive of an individual good life. The exercise of a person’s abilities gives them personal satisfaction, and the kind of work available will affect their chances of realising that satisfaction. Outside work, the ability to choose between alternatives in one’s life may be contingent upon a relatively high level of income secured by a wellpaid job. Likewise, the security that comes from a guarantee of employment in one’s chosen field, and the ability to make long-term plans for oneself and one’s family are also partially constitutive of a worthwhile life. So good jobs and a good overall quality of life go together. This goes contrary to most economic thinking, which assumes that people do not want to work and have to be given an incentive to do so. If, then, the aims of economic policy are concerned with individual well-being in a broad sense, the long and medium term objectives of economic policy will look different from how they currently look. The provision of education, health care, environmental protection, good housing and public spaces, will assume greater importance, but so also will the provision of possibilities for individuals to form and

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put into effect ideas of what their lives should be like, both within and outside their working environment. They need to have the opportunity to make choices about what is personally of intrinsic value. Someone who makes consumption goods a priority has, even if implicitly, made such a decision. But if consumption is the only realistic outlet available, they have been offered a very restricted set of possibilities. It must be emphasised, once again, that the choice need not be between consumption and non-consumption. The issue is, rather, the overall role that consumption plays in a worthwhile life. This brings us to post-compulsory vocational education. It is concerned with the preparation for life of future workers and consumers. How can this best be achieved? Can it, for example, be pursued in conjunction with other worthwhile objectives, such as the exercise of one’s active powers, the enjoyment of comradeship, a sense of responsibility for others and a sense of control over one’s own destiny? An economic policy which held these aims to be worthwhile would at least consider whether post-compulsory vocational education could help to attain them. There are many who are disturbed by an exclusively consumptionist orientation to economic life but who also do not wish to make a complete break with it. They argue that a certain degree of state intervention is both necessary for the achievement of a supply of highly-skilled workers producing high-quality and expensive goods and for the provision of a market for such goods. This raises the question of how a consumptionist orientation can be reconciled with other social and individual goals. Those who promote broader economic goals are easily portrayed as nostalgics or romantics, pining for a ‘pretopia’ of noble poverty in which some ‘refined’ activities such as literary and artistic production can take place. This is misleading. First, it is important to realise that the aims of material and those of spiritual or social well-being are not in themselves incompatible but need to be balanced. To a very 9

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great extent, the latter objectives cannot be fully achieved without the former. It is difficult to appreciate the finer points of life if one is constantly worried about money, one’s environment, one’s health or job security. On the other hand, an over-emphasis on private consumption goods leads to neglect of environmental, health and social factors that contribute to well-being. Furthermore, many consumption goods are themselves means to the achievement of personal goals. The provision of good housing, books, computers and musical instruments for example, allows people to do what they want. The production of some consumption goods, particularly those whose manufacture o r delivery requires a considerable degree of personal autonomy and skill, such as in the artisanal and entertainment sectors, can be intrinsically worthwhile for the producers, through the opportunities that it gives for the exercise of their active powers. Finally, the context of labour is itself extremely important for the achievement of many personal goals. Work that allows for the exercise of knowledge and skill, for good human relations, for a meaningful say in the organisation and destiny of one’s enterprise and working environment, is more desirable and worthwhile than work which does not allow for these things. It will be argued that an economy run as a high-skill equilibrium allows for more of these possibilities than does a low-skill equilibrium and that good quality post-compulsory vocational education is a necessary feature of the operation of a high-skill equilibrium (Finegold 1991).

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3 High- and low-skill equilibria explained A high-skill economy brings

personal benefits to the workm. It needs central direction.

There are two broad alternative ways of running a modern economy; high-skill and low-skill. ‘Skill’ in this sense refers to the knowledge, understanding and ability required for a particular job. The term ‘skill equilibrium’ refers to the balance between the supply and demand sides of the economy that results from running it at a certain level of skill. An ‘equilibrium’ in this sense is a strategy which firms and employees have good reason to follow. A high-skill equilibrium exists when most firms require skilled labour. There is usually a correlation between the level of skills and the time required to acquire them. The greater the degree of knowledge required, the longer the training period needed. It would not be practically feasible for an individual to train for many different high-skill occupations during a working lifetime. We may assume then, that high-skill economies require new

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workers to spend a long period in initial vocational education and training, and for their effort and personal cost to be compensated for through high wages. These costs are recouped through the greater income the firm makes compared with a low-skill one, by making goods and services that are expensive because of their individuality and quality. Since this strategy is only possible on a large scale if there is a strong domestic market, it is necessary that there is a wealthy and discerning class of consumers able to afford them. These are the highly-skilled, highly paid workers. In a low-skill eqililibrium, firms survive through producing goods which require little skill. Employees have no incentive to acquire expensive (and redundant) skills and training is short. Since they are poorly paid (as their low skills do not command a high price), they can only purchase cheap products. A firm which considered it in its medium to long-term interests to adopt a high-skill strategy, if for example, it was given incentives, or if competitors were doing so, would employ highly-skilled, highlypaid workers who would, if they existed in sufficient critical mass, constitute a reliable market for highly-priced, high-value-added goods. The situation for workers would also be changed, as there would be greater incentive to adopt a high-skill strategy in the job market. It is possible to run a successful (i.e. profitable) low-skill economy, even in a developed society like the UK. However, the change from low-skill to high-skill economy is not easy to make without some form of central direction. The reason is to be found in the interlocking sets of interests that occur in any particular skill equilibrium. The model presented above is a simple one, which assumes two parties: employees/consumers and employers, a relatively homogeneous economy, a limited role for export markets and a short-term economic perspective. Change any of these variables a n d the preconditions for a particular skill equilibrium change. For example, 12

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the existence of a strong export market may make it possible for a particular firm in a domestic low-skill environment to orient itself to a high-skill strategy in that market. However, the domestic environment sets limits to such a policy. If only one firm decides to train, others may reap the benefits through ‘poaching’ workers and inexpensively realising the benefits of a highskill strategy without incurring the heavy ‘front-end’ costs associated with it. The situation is a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’, where the dominant strategy for a single employer is not to train (Varoufakis and Hargreaves-Heap, 1995). If others do, he reaps the benefit by poaching. If they do not, he does not incur the cost of training and then having his workforce ‘poached’. Even when firms find it is in their interests to train in the short term, they may not do so when the demand for labour declines due to cyclical economic change. They then find that there are skill shortages when the economy picks up again, (as difficulties in the electrical industry currently illustrate). Employers by themselves cannot easily move from a low-skill to a high-skill equilibrium, because the incentives for individual firms to do so are very weak. It is no use complaining that this is ‘selfish‘behaviour on the part of firms, because, whatever their long-term wishes might be for a more co-operative environment to facilitate training, they have little incentive to think in the long-term if they are likely to be economically punished for doing so. The same would apply to individuals; however altruistic and long-term our view of our choices might ideally be, we will refrain from altruism and long-term thinking if we are likely to suffer unduly. Hume suggests that it is for this reason that we rely on a central authority like a government to transcend our fixation with the short-term and to take a long-term view on vital matters of national policy (Hume 1948, p.100). The problems associated with acquiring a skilled workforce are precisely of that order and suggest that the government has a role to play. Societies that organise their economies on a high-skill basis tend 13

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to enjoy higher per capita incomes. High per capita incomes allow for relatively high levels of taxation to fund high-quality public and semi-public goods. They allow people more opportunity to pursue personal goals. A high-skill working environment allows workers opportunity to exercise their active powers, to engage in satisfying work relationships and to exercise some degree of control over their destiny, making their working life more intrinsically valuable. Finally, the existence of a highly trained, highly paid, workforce which has some say in the running of its enterprise has profound consequences for the organisation of economic activity. Not only is it invested in, in terms of training, but it is, from the firm’s point of view, a fixed asset. There is, therefore, a competitive advantage from exploiting the skill and permanency of the workforce. Employees working for such firms enjoy a relative degree of autonomy in the workplace, which is itself be a valuable personal goal, together with the relative job security that allows individuals to make plans for themselves and their families. There is also evidence that firms that give their workers a place in running them gain crucial advantages of flexibility, through the rapid transmission of information and through rapid decisionmaking (Streeck 1992; Hodgson 1999). It is not difficult, then, to see what the advantages of running an economy on a high-skill basis are, both in terms of consumption and of intrinsic personal satisfaction. However, there is plenty of evidence that much of the UK economy is run as a low-skill equilibrium. This raises questions about the education and training policy of the British government in relation to broader social goals.

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4 The importance of work-based learning

It might be objected that an outmoded ‘corporatist’ and interventionist solution is being proposed to a problem that can readily be solved by a judicious policy on post-compulsory education, combined with market forces. Why should education and skills suitable for future employment not be acquired at an institution of further or higher education? Young people could then choose an occupation, receive training and enter the job market. Given sufficient incentives to raise their levels of skill, they would surely enter it qualified for highly skilled jobs. The supply of labour would then be matched by demand from entrepreneurs so that high-skill jobs were created. There are two objections to such a rosy scenario. The first is that there is no ‘Say’s law’ (which states that supply tends to create its own demand) of employment which decrees that supply will be matched by demand, particularly in the short-term (Pen 1980). 15

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Employers need an incentive to pay for skilled labour and if the overall environment in which they operate is still a low-skill one, there will be insufficient demand for the newly-skilled workers from college. But there is a more fundamental problem with a purely collegebased strategy of vocational education. The knowledge required for effective performance in a skilled workplace is essentially practical. It involves the application of knowledge, skill and understanding in determinate conditions where mistakes, once made, cannot be easily or cheaply rectified. The performance of employees, if it is unsatisfactory, has profound consequences, not just for their firm, but also for fellow-workers and for the public. The contextual and often non-transferable nature of the skills and knowledge required in the workplace, together with more general occupational knowledge and skill, require that vocational preparation is a complex acquisition of the following elements. First, theoretical and technical knowledge gained'off the job', possibly in a college. Second, a simulated working environment where trainees can practice and make mistakes without becoming a menace to themselves, their colleagues and clients, and, finally, supervised work in authentic, but controlled, working conditions. Only some combination of college and workplace learning can provide these conditions. The college or the workplace itself needs to have the facilities for the simulation element, but only the workplace can provide the supervised on-the-job element of training. These conditions are most readily met by some form of apprenticeship system, where the worker is attached to the firm in some form of employment, linked to a later job on full qualification, or, at the very least, a secure place in a local occupational employment market. Does the current system of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) meet the conditions of providing practical, workplace-based training successfully under market conditions? Only to a very limited extent. NVQs provide accreditation for skills acquired in the workplace, they do not provide a mechanism for the acquisition of 16

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such skills, nor do they provide the employee with the theoretical knowledge associated with an occupation. Only if an employer is prepared to invest heavily in the provision of skilled workplace training, in conjunction with a local college, can NVQs be offered at a sufficiently high level for the formation of artisans and technicians. Often, however, employers prefer more traditional forms of accreditation, for example in engineering, precisely because of the lack of theoretical grounding inherent in the award. The NVQ approach is deeply flawed in other respects. In its emphasis on performance of specific tasks, it misses the varied nature of the contexts in which work takes place, even in one occupation or job, and fails to take sufficient account of the need for an extended period of supervised authentic work experience (Hyland 1993). NVQs have gained acceptance in some quarters, but they are not an alternative to the tripartite form of vocational education described above. This is implicitly admitted in Learning to Succeed, where it is proposed that new vocational qualifications be offered which deal with the theoretical elements of an occupational area (5.26). This does not, however, deal with either the problem of integration of the different elements of vocational learning, or crucially, with the supervised workplace element. Workplace learning is important, not just for the integrative element in the overall training programme that it provides, but also as an induction into the moral environment of the workplace. Highskill workplaces depend on collective knowledge held by teams, on a delicate balance between the ability to co-operate and to take the initiative, and on the ability to trust and be trusted under pressure. One cannot expect a worker with only formal qualifications to adapt immediately to such a complex situation. Systems of support by trained and experienced senior workers, who are capable of guiding the novice through both typical and critical situations, are vital if the balance of skills, attitudes and virtues that are the key to successful high-skill work is to be sustained. Failure to provide this support 17

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can lead to a loss of confidence that can affect the new worker’s future life profoundly. Supported workplace learning is, therefore, necessary not only for successful economic performance, but also for the worker to gain intrinsic satisfaction from the work, which, in turn, makes him or her a more effective worker. If we take into account the interests of employees as well as employers, it is difficult to see why support for learning in the workplace should not be available. We can conclude then, that some form of workplace-based formation is necessary for the successful development of a highlyskilled workforce. Even this is not sufficient because employers, in their eagerness to secure skilled workers, may employ them before they have completed their qualifications, thus undermining the possibility of developing occupational labour markets based on nationally accredited qualifications. Recent reported problems with completion rates for modern apprenticeships illustrate this problem. The marketplace cannot provide adequate workplace-based occupational formation; purely college-based education will guarantee neither skilled jobs nor the practical aspect of formation that makes skills secure. Governments need to provide incentives by encouraging workplace-based forms of formation and by encouraging employers and entrepreneurs to engage in more high-technology and high-skill business activity. But this requires that they be reasonably secure that they will be operating in a high-skill equilibrium and the conditions for this, as we have seen, will not be met by the market alone. In addition, the government needs to develop a regulatory framework that ensures that qualifications are a requirement for entry into occupational labour markets, thus securing the high-skill nature of those markets. Governments need to (and often do) develop economic strategies and concomitant employment and training strategies to do just that. Of the developtd countries, the UK and the USA are among the minority which leave such hoped-for developments to the market.

18

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5

Why the UK economy largely runs as a lowskill equilibrium Trainingpolicy is still in the grip ofthe nineteenth

century. The education system of the UK developed during the course of the industrial revolution, which was to a large extent based on the development of machinery requiring low levels of skill (Green 1990). Those sectors which required skill used apprenticeships and local technical institutes for the training of skilled workers. The mass education system was geared to the development of workers who would fit, without too much trouble, into a free-market, low-skill economy where neither basic nor vocational qualifications were particularly necessary. A liberal education, based on the lifestyle and aspirations of the gentry, dominated the education of the professional middle class and the upper classes. Professional vocational education, based on the universities, provided the skilled personnel needed in medicine, religion and the law. This nineteenth century settlement has remained remarkably durable (Tate 1999). State education has been, up to now, 19

IMPACT N0.4

fundamentally oriented in theory towards liberal educational aims for everyone but in fact results in persistent low achievement amongst those destined for low-skill or no employment. The main changes appear to have been in the post-compulsory sector of education, through the recent expansion of further and higher education. Economically speaking, higher education serves the greatly expanded professions and semi-professions. It addresses the need for applied theoretical, knowledge-based skill in areas such as computing and biotechnology and middle management in the low-skill sectors of manufacturing and services. Low-skill work, because it is low on opportunities for the exercise of initiative and operates in an atmosphere of low levels of trust, requires extensive management of the lower echelons of the workforce, which is increasingly carried out by graduates. The further education sector is more diverse, but its role can be broadly summed up in the following way. It provides prevocational and liberal education through GCSEs, A-Levels and GNVQs (a form of prevocational academic qualification); college-based vocational education for certain occupational sectors, based mainly, but not wholly, in the service sector, including a significant simulation element; the college-based element of work-based training; and, finally, accreditation mechanisms for NVQs. Apart from those who are involved in gaining NVQs or other qualifications based on workplace experience, students are expected to find employment in occupational or general labour markets. The way in which colleges are presently funded gives them a strong interest in recruiting students but a weaker one in finding them jobs. It is most important to realise that, whatever the formal qualifications gained in a college, the necessary practical skill cannot be acquired solely in a simulated environment, important though this may be. Hence the level of skill that can be acquired through a further education college alone is limited. The expansion of educational provision has involved only to a small extent, the expansion of workplace-based forms of 20

NEW LABOUR AND THE FUTURE OF TRAINING

vocational formation, most successfully in areas, like engineering, which already have a significant tradition of it (Gospel and Fuller 1998). This educational profile supports the view that the UK economy is mainly organised as a low-skill equilibrium (Ashton and Green 1996). In organising economic life on this basis, we may be missing the achievement of other important social goals, not to mention the greater material prosperity which would make the achievement of those goals easier. Current policy is based on a continuation of a market-based system of vocational education, with the government providing an advisory and facilitating role. There are few plans for intervention to develop certain economic sectors, to solve the prisoners’ dilemma problem of employment-based workplace training, which provides a disincentive for employers to train. The day-to-day conduct of training policy is to be largely left to employers through a network of sectorally-based National Training Organisations and a Learning and Skills Council which will operate at national and local level. The expansion of vocational and educational provision is to be demand-led, based on individuals second-guessing what the market conditions for their skills will be. There is no stated intention to move the economy from a relatively low to a relatively high-skill equilibrium, let alone a recognition that pursuit of a high-skill strategy might serve the broader goals of a left-of-centre, reforming government.

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6 Current government policy The employer-led measures propodprovide tooftw incentives to mow to a high-skill economy. What thegovernment shoulddo. It is now appropriate to take a closer look at the detail of government policy and to see how it measures up to the considerations outlined earlier. The scene set by Learning to Succeed is of a UK engaged in ferocious competition with economic rivals, whose main weaknesses are to be found at the level of intermediate and technical skills and in a consequent productivity gap of some 20% with France and Germany. Germany’s well-developed apprenticeship system is mentioned as a contributory factor in its superior economic performance. One might suppose, then, that the development of a high-skill equilibrium would be one of the main concerns of the White Paper, in order to redress this problem. From the point of view of this pamphlet it would not necessarily matter, although it is regrettable, that personal satisfaction at work is not addressed as a 22

NEW LABOUR AND THE FUTURE OF TRAINING

concern of government policy. If a high-skill economy is achieved, if the arguments presented here are sound, individual well-being is more likely to follow than with a low-skill one. What one finds, however, is a strong element of continuity with the voluntarist, market-led policies of the previous government which produced the very problem identified as a starting point of government policy. Achieving the right level of skill is the responsibility of individuals and, while employers have a contribution to make, neither they nor the government have, apparently, a responsibility to ensure that skill levels are raised. This is odd, because, as was previously argued, individual firms in many sectors of the economy have only limited incentives to increase the level of skill that goes into their products. The White Paper proposes a system whereby training priorities are established at regional and local level through the gathering of intelligence from employers and others about what employer skills needs are, via the national and local Learning and Skills Councils. This information should then inform the provision to be made for both workplace and college-based training. A system is, then, being suggested which will dispense taxpayer’s money according to the requirements of only one section of taxpayers, employers. The government does not itself propose any national priorities for the development of economic activity, neither does it suggest incentives for employers to increase their skill levels. It is largely assumed that self-interest will lead them to do this, but, as noted, it is by no means clear that self-interest would take this direction. The structural disincentive to train is not addressed at all. On one fundamental test, then, whether or not policy is oriented towards all stakeholders, the White Paper fails. Employers are to receive income from the taxpayer to implement policies which they, not the government or employees, are to determine. These policies are to be attuned mainly to their own well-being, rather than that of anyone else. If the public and the employee interest is served, that is a fortunate by-product, not a prime objective of policy. Given that the 23

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supposed objective of public policy is to serve the interests of all in a long-term perspective, this is questionable. Given the record of British industry in failing to provide high-skill employment, leaving the development of training policy in their hands seems to be perverse in relation to the stated aim of government policy to increase levels of skill. What could the government do? Let us start with the view that it exists to promote the public interest, rather than particular sectional interests, especially short-term ones. This means that it has an obligation to take into account all legitimate views in framing and implementing policy. This does not, of course, mean that it has to accord equal weight to every interest, but rather that it should not ignore interests. If the government believes, as it implicitly appears to, that a high-skill economy is not just desirable, but essential for the national interest, then it has a duty to spend public money to see that it is promoted. It can, for example, determine national priorities for economic development and favour those enterprises that align their priorities with those of economic policy. It can set up a regulatory framework that allows national rather than individual or private interests to be determinant. The training problem could be addressed through a levy which gives each firm an incentive to recoup its costs through training its own employees. The development of certain sectors at certain levels of skill could be achieved through the preferential allocation of funds for training to those employers who work in prioritised sectors and who undertake to train their workers to certain levels of skill. Workplace training, in partnership with the college sector, could be favoured through the further development of appropriate qualifications and the preferential funding of those following such qualifications. A coherent strategy of sectoral development would also provide young people with the information that they need to make the crucial occupational decisions that will affect their future lives. Secure occupational labour markets could be encouraged 24

NEW LABOUR AND THE FUTURE O F TRAINING

through the development of regulations setting out the qualifications necessary for employment at certain grades. Leaving training ‘to the market’ as the White Paper does, is to leave it to the priorities of individual employers, that is, to the short-term interests of one group within the society. The White Paper’s framework of local employer-led learning councils which gather information and allocate funds is designed to make up for a deficiency which markets are not supposed to have, according to conventional economic theory, namely information blockages which prevent individuals from supplying employers with appropriate skills. In return for providing money to make up for market deficiencies, the taxpayer is given no good reason to suppose that the money spent will raise skill levels, let alone address national economic priorities. So the general thrust of the White Paper and its associated policies seems clear. What of the more specific policies associated with the general framework? The main ones seem to be as follows:

I) the proposed expansion of places in further and higher education. 2) the University for Industry. 3) the Individual Learning Account. 4 ) the ‘New Deal’ for young people and measures to deal with the social exclusion of young people. 5 ) the theoretical V Q parallel to the NVQ 6) the stage 1 CNVQ available post-14. 0

Expanding places in FE and HE is a continuation of the policies of the previous administration. Neither of them, however, seem likely to address the problem that the

25

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government itself identifies as the key one: how to provide more training at the intermediate and technical levels. Success here depends on there being a demand for people with such qualifications and, as argued in this pamphlet, there is no strategy in place to ensure that this will be the case. Individual young people are being asked to bear the risks that a timid government is unwilling to take by investing their futures in the prospect of jobs that may never exist. The striking feature of initiatives 2-4, (of which 2) and 3) currently exist only in embryonic form, although there is evidence that they are intended, to a certain extent, to provide relatively low-level training), is that they leave vocational decisions to individuals within ‘a culture of lifelong learning’. It is the responsibility of individuals to prepare themselves for employment in whatever occupation is available. 0

26

Both Individual Learning Accounts and the University for Industry are focused on the needs of individuals for relatively limited forms of re-skilling or retraining. There is no strategy of occupational development attached to them and the resources available to individuals through these schemes are simply insufficient to allow for initial training for a skilled occupation, let alone a guarantee of a job at the end. Government policy does not sufficiently distinguish between the following three cases: occupation-specific re-skilling; switching from one low-skill occupation to another; and formation for a professional, technicaf or artisanal vocation. The strategies required for each are, however, very different. Only if there is some policy for the last can there be movement towards a high-skill equilibrium. The initiatives outlined above are designed to do the first two. They make no sense in

NEW LABOUR A N D THE FUTURE OF T R A I N I N G

pursuit of the third unless they are linked to an extended period of workplace learning as well as a theoretical and simulation element. There is, as yet, no evidence that they will be so linked. There is a refusal seriously to improve the supply of workbased vocational education, together with a reluctance to put pressure on employers to train. There i s also a refusal to develop an industrial policy that would ensure that skills developed would actually find employment. This is to be left to the market. The evidence suggests that high-skill equilibria are achieved when economic policy and training policy are co-ordinated, so that training policy is an aspect of economic policy (Ashton and Green op.cit.). The government is trying to achieve this through developments on the supply side, without any apparent attempt to develop the demand side. Whereas the previous administration relied on the market to allocate workers to jobs, the current government wishes to use the Learning and Skills Councils to provide information that the market cannot. But this policy, if successful, will only improve the flow of information. It will not necessarily either raise the level of skill required or give those on the labour market a guarantee of a job after they have committed time and money to vocational training. In effect, the voluntarist structure of training policy put in place by the previous government, which was suited to a low-skill equilibrium, is to be largely left in place. The ‘NewDeal’ for young people is admirable in its stated intention of rescuing disaffected youth from a lifetime of drudgery, unemployment or crime. It is, however, a temporary measure and the aim of reducing and eliminating such

IMPACT N0.4

disaffection rests on the long-term success of policies concerning both the compulsory and post-compulsory sectors. Here there is room for doubt (see conclusion).

28

0

The theoretical VQ. Proposal 5 ) recognises some of the shortcomings in the widely criticised NVQs but does not propose that qualifications should be integrated to take account of the three elements crucial to successful vocational formation in a high-skill environment: applied theoretical knowledge, simulation of work processes and induction into the workplace. A co-ordinated qualification which combines college and workplace, and where the learner in the workplace has the status of an employee, is necessary for this. Such qualifications are associated with apprenticeships, which the government itself recognises are crucial to the raising of skill levels and hence of productivity. The proposed theoretical vocational qualification is no more than a half-hearted move in the right direction.

0

A stage 1 GNVQ is designed to provide vocationally-oriented youngsters with a labour market entry qualification. It is to be combined with an emphasis on the key skills of literacy and numeracy. Although we do not, as yet, know much about this qualification, it is an attempt to diversify the national curriculum into a post-14 vocational route. Critical to its success will be its rigour and the way in which it combines continuing academic education with an opportunity for young people to meet the requirements of the workplace and the demands of further formation through college or apprenticeshipbased training. One wonders, though, whether it can be an improvement on the popular vocational GCSEs offered by some schools.

NEW LABOUR AND THE FUTURE OF TRAINING

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the government’s greatest ambition is to move the economy to a high-skill equilibrium without disturbing employers. Could the current policy be seen as a way of developing a high skill route through stealth? If it can, there is a fundamental incoherence about it. We are told that flexible policies of recruitment and redundancy are oneof the competitive strengths of the British economy. Therefore, the average British adult must expect to change employment at least half a dozen times in a working life. Training is essential, not only to pro$ide adults with the skills to work in the first place, but also to re-skill themselves after a nearinevitable period of enforced redundancy. We are told, first, that easy hire-and-fire is an economic virtue. Second, that re-training is an individual economic imperative. The problem is that it is difficult to see how one could reconcile high-quality training for skilled o r professional work over a lifetime of flexible working patterns. Someone entering the labour market at the age of 18 and leaving it at the age of 60 has a notional forty-two years of economic activity ahead of them. If they have to make a radical job change six times during their working lives, then the average of each phase is seven years. If, however, apprenticeship or professional training takes three years (and some take longer than this) then, after the initial phase of training, a worker would expect to spend fifteen years training, thus reducing the actual period of work from forty-two to twenty-seven years. Such expensive retraining is wasteful both to workers as they move through successive periods of redundancy, and t o the government or the employer who also pays. There are increasing disincentives to bear the costs of retraining as a worker’s life advances. In addition, there will be a fifteen year shortfall in the average worker’s pension because of these retraining periods, which someone will have to make up if that worker is not to spend their retirement in poverty. We can conclude, then, that if high-skill training is to be provided in the context of a multi-occupational career, then it would be ruinously expensive for individuals and economically extremely inefficient for 29

IMPACT N0.4

society. The government must, then, have something else in mind in its advocacy of continual retraining or, as it is reassuringly called, ‘lifelong learning’, otherwise one might suspect that the phrase simply masks a fundamental incoherence in policy. A second criticism is that getting people into paid work is not necessarily going to address either the general question of whether or not economic policy is being conducted with some broader good in mind other than that of maximising consumption, or the more specific question of whether it is in society’sbest interests for as many people as possible to be in paid employment. It is far from clear that employment say, selling cigarettes, is more personally or socially useful than say, looking after one’s young child. Yet the assumption seems to be that any form of paid employment is preferable to fulltime unpaid child-rearing. Neither does the initiative to get as many people as possible into any form of paid employment address the question of whether these are high-skill or worthwhile jobs. The issue raised earlier remains unaddressed, namely how does policy for work and economic growth fit a view of human flourishing when seen beyond the necessary, but narrow, perspective of material prosperity? In this respect, there is no policy to relate employment to the increased provision of public goods, except at the margins, or to the provision of work which satisfies people’s aspirations for the use of their active powers, whether this be in paid, voluntary or domestic employment. Perhaps the most worrying practical feature of the current thrust of policy relates to work-based formation. Despite the protestations of the White Paper, there is very little evidence that the government has much faith in developing work skills through apprenticeship and other forms of work-based formation. Although new rules allow school pupils up to one day a week off school to spend at a workplace, the logic of workplace education does not seem to be followed through in the post-compulsory sector. It is true that this is a more difficult route to follow since it requires employers who are both able and willing to take on apprentices. It is likely to be more costly per 30

N E W LABOUR A N D T H E FUTURE O F T R A I N I N G

capita than college-based education, and it involves a certain degree of job guarantee for apprentices. However, if the arguments above are correct, there is no alternative if the UK wishes to develop a strong technical workforce in those sectors of the economy that it wishes to see grow. The report of the national skills taskforce says:

The argument that Germany’s higher proportion of labour-qualified intermediate vocational level enables them to achieve higher productivity is fairly convincing. (cited in the Times Educational Supplement, 21/5/99, p.27) However, the Germans achieve this success through the extensive use of a long-developed ‘dual system’ of apprenticeship combined with college-based off-the-job education for those 15-19 year olds who choose to leave school at the age of 15. The rationale behind this system is to provide the three necessary elements of vocational formation argued for earlier, namely a theoretical and general education (provided at college), work-simulation (provided at college or workplace) and extended professional practice in the workplace under the supervision of a skilled and educationally qualified senior worker (a ‘meister’). One cannot hope to reproduce the success of the Germans in developing an economy based o n a high-skill equilibrium without importing into our own VET system some of those elements that make it successful, including an emphasis on work-based formation. There is no sign that the government is prepared to do so and some signs that it is even considering moving further away from work-based forms of vocational preparation. While that may be consonant with a market orientation, it is unlikely to do much for productivity.

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7 Conclusion Work should enhance human fil’lrnent. Government policies fail to enlargepeople3 opportunities for high-level work The question of what economic policy is for is ignored; hence the emphasis on paid employment without sufficient regard to its nature, quality or permanence. For the current government, as for previous ones, work that does not directly contribute to the creation of tradeable goods and services is regarded with suspicion. Such activities are primarily regarded as a burden on the taxpayer, rather than as contributors to social and economic assets. The worthwhileness of economic activity needs to be assessed in terms of its contribution to a common good that includes the possibility of making full use of one’s abilities, enjoying the experience of engaging in common projects in a work environment and having enough economic security to make long-term plans. A re-appraisal of the ends of economic activity would not lead to the abandonment of consumptionism but to the incorporation of other objectiveswhich 32

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could, in the context of a movement towards a high-skill economy, be pursued in conjunction with economic development and growth. One cannot decouple education and training policy from broader issues about the quality of life and about the aims of economic activity. Work in itself has limited value if it cannot lead to human fulfilment. We should also recognise that there are other activities, such as child-rearing and voluntary work, which are essential to society’s well-being. They are work in the sense that they require effort and the overcoming of obstacles, but they are not financially remunerative and, in most cases, not directly productive in Smith‘s sense of supplying ‘vendible commodities’. But in a broader sense they are productive since they engage people’s abilities and interests and contribute in the long-term to social well-being. If they are to be recognised and rewarded, then post-compulsory education needs to take those who choose to do them into account. And this means not treating domestic workers as ‘basket cases’ to be put back into paid employment at all costs, but as citizens with legitimate education and training needs in their own right, both for their present and also for the futures that they wish to plan for themselves. At the moment there is an emphasis on raising standards of educational achievement. This is admirable since many of the worthwhile goals of adult life cannot be met without a good educational basis. Children are now pressured to succeed and it is suggested that their chances in life will be diminished if they do not take advantage of what is on offer. But there is another side to this current preoccupation. Children are encouraged on the assumption that, by doing so, they will get the chance to make meaningful plans for their adult lives. This in turn implies the existence of real choices. However the failure to provide the range of opportunities for highquality remunerated work is a serious matter, since the implicit quid pro quo for disaffected children to work at school is that there will be a pay-off at the end. 33

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It is far from clear that the government’s proposals will guarantee such opportunities, particularly for those who choose to leave school at the age of 16. If training policy isn’t meshing with education policy, then the government will be faced with the problem of trying to raise educational expectations and achievement without, at the same time, taking steps to ensure that aspirations thus raised can be met. Young people who work at school and find the kinds of opportunities that interest them unavailable later will feel cheated. Once the word gets back that working at school does not bring promised rewards, then anger and disaffection are likely to grow among those adolescents whom the government seems most anxious to help. The government seems to be heading for real problems. Lack of policy to co-ordinate compulsory education, post-compulsory education and economic development threatens, ultimately, to unravel the government’s initiatives to raise standards in the compulsory sector.

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Note 1.

One could argue that paid work has assumed too important a role in people’s lives and that they need to rebalance their priorities. I would agree with this as a general sentiment and others have written eloquently about the human possibilities of a world in which work plays a much less significant role (White, 1997). But for the purposes of this pamphlet the assumption is that work will go on being a very significant part of people’s lives fo the foreseeable future.

References Ashton, D., and Green, F. (1996), Education, Training and the Global Economy. Cheltenham: Elgar. Clarke, L. and Wall, C. (1996),Skills and the Construction Process, Bristol: Policy Press. Department for Education and Employment (DFEE) (1999), Learning to Succeed. DFEE Website HYPERLINK http://wwW.dfee.gov.uk/etb/chapterl .htm http://m.dfee.gov.uk/etb/chapterl .htm. Learning to Succeed, Hmso 1999. Finegold, D. (1991), ‘Institutional Incentives and Skill Creation: Preconditions for a High-Skill Equilibrium’, in P. Ryan (ed.) International Comparisons of Vocational Education and Training for Intermediate Skills, Hove: Falmer Press, pp.93- 116. Gospel, H. and Fuller, A. (1998), ‘The modern apprenticeship: new wine in old bottles?’ Human Resource Management Journal, 8,l : 5 - 2 2 . Green, A. (1990), Education and State Formation, London: MacMillan. Hodgson, A. and Spours, K. (1999), New Labour’s Educational Agenda, London: Kogan Page, 1999. Hodgson, G. (1999), Economics and Utopia, London: Routledge. Hume, D. (1948), ’A Treatise of Human Nature’, Book I, Part 11, Section VII, in;

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Hyland, T. ( 1993), ‘Competence, Knowledge and Education’, Journal of Philosophy of Education 27,l : 57-68. Keep, E. and Mayhew, K. (1999), ‘The Assessment: Knowledge, Skills and Competitiveness’, Oxford Review ofEconomic Policy, 15, 1 : 1-15. Keynes, J.M. (1973), The General Theory ofEmployment, Money and Interest, London: Macmillan. second edition, p. 104. Pen, J. (1980), Modern Economics, London: Penguin. Prais, S. J., Jarvis, V. and Wagner, K. (1989), ‘Productivity and Vocational Skills in Services in Britain and Germany: Hotels.’ National Institute Economic Review, May : 52-74. Smith, A. (1981), The Wealth ofNations, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. (First published, 1776). Streeck, W. ( 1992), Social Institutions and Economic Performance, London: Sage. Tate, N. (1999), What is Education For?, London: Kings College London. Varoufakis, V. and Hargreaves-Heap, S. (1995), Game Theory: A Critical Introduction, London: Routledge. White, J. (1997), Education and the End ofwork, London: Cassell. Winch, C. (1998), ‘Listian Political Economy; social capitalism conceptualised?’, New Political Economy, 3,2 : 301-316.

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Suggestionsfor further reading The material in this pamphlet is based on work from a variety of sources in Philosophy and Economics, which the interested reader may wish to follow up more thoroughly. The issues are dealt with in greater depth from a philosophical point of in my own Education, Work and Social Capital, Routledge (2000) (in press). A very clear philosophical analysis of the market is: O’Neill, J. ( 1998), The Market: Ethics, Knowledge and Politics, London: Routledge. An introduction to issues concerning skills and the economy in the contemporary world is: Hodgson, G. (1999), Economics and Utopia: why the learning society is not the end of history, London: Routledge. A good comparative study of different national approaches to vocational education and training can be found in: Ashton, D., and Green, F. (1996), Education, Training and the Global Economy, Cheltenham: Elgar. An exploration of themes concerning well-being and economic activity can be found in: Lutz, M. (1999), Economicsfor the Common Good, London: Routledge. A recent major contribution to the philosophy of vocational education is: Pring, R. (1995), Closing the Gap: Liberal Education and Vocational Preparation, London: Hodder and Stoughton. For a thoughtful discussion of the future of work and educational implications see: White, J. (1997), Education and the End of Work, London: Cassell. For a thorough but sympathetic analysis of the Labour Party‘s policies in this area see: Hodgson, A., Spours, K. (1999), New Labour’s Educational Agenda, London: Kogan Page.

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