A European Perspective
Edited by Catherine Sofer
Chapter 7: Employer provided training within the European Union: a comparative review
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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