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Human Capital Over the Life Cycle

A European Perspective

Edited by Catherine Sofer

Human Capital Over the Life Cycle synthesises comparative research on the processes of human capital formation in the areas of education and training in Europe, in relation to the labour market. The book proposes that one of the most important challenges faced by Europe today is to understand the link between education and training on the one hand and economic and social inequality on the other. The authors focus the analysis on three main aspects of the links between education and social inequality: educational inequality, differences in access to labour markets and differences in lifelong earnings and training.
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Chapter 7: Employer provided training within the European Union: a comparative review

Peter Elias and Rhys Davies


Peter Elias and Rhys Davies 1. INTRODUCTION There is a degree of consensus within the European Commission that a highly skilled workforce is necessary to maintain and enhance the competitiveness of the European Community (see EC, 1991, pp. 126–7). For the Community to compete successfully and hold its place in the world economy characterized by increased global competition, its enterprises need to use the latest and most efficient technology available. This in turn means that the Community has to have a labour force that is educated and trained to handle that technology. Groot (1999) notes that the European socio-economic policy debate has been dominated by a belief that the labour market should become more flexible as a means of increasing competitiveness and welfare. Access to continuing vocational training (CVT) whilst in employment is regarded as a means of enhancing the flexibility of labour by increasing the productivity and employability of workers. Against this background, this chapter considers the role of employers in the process of skill formation within the European Union (EU). The discussion deliberately attempts to abstract from initial work-based vocational training that may be organized or provided by the State.1 Instead, we consider the involvement of employers in the process of skill formation after periods of initial vocational training have been completed. Section 2 provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical literature regarding both the incidence of and the returns to employer provided training. In light of this discussion, Section 3 compares the contribution of employers...

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