For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The unbearable lightness of skill: the changing meaning of skill in UK policy discourses andsome implications for education and training"

by Payne, Jonathan (2000)


The paper traces how the meaning of ?skill? has broadened considerably since the 1950s through an examination of the relevant policy literature. It stresses the central role of both the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) and Further Education Unit (FEU) in re-defining ?skill? in the late 1970s and 1980s. Core (or key) skills, which have come to dominate contemporary education and training debates, are seen as an extension of this agenda. Recent usage of the term, skill, is found to be more applicable to a vision of a low skill economy than that of a high skill one, presenting policy makers with range of difficult problems with regard to vocational education and training (VET) policy. I'm not against skills as such ? so long as it really is skills we're talking about. (Hart 1978:205) ? nothing is more false than the claim that, for a given assertion, its use is its meaning. On the contrary, its use may depend upon its lack of meaning, its possession of wholly different and incompatible meanings in different contexts, and the fact that, at the same time, it as it were emits the impression of possessing a consistent meaning. (Gellner 1973:42)


Skills, Education, Knowledge, Understanding, Qualitifations



Links to Reference



How to contribute.