For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"A European skills framework?—but what are skills? Anglo‐Saxon versus German concepts"

by Clarke, Linda; Winch, Christopher (2006)


With the proposed introduction of a common framework for comparing qualifications within the European Union as a result of the Lisbon Agreement of 2000, the question of commonly agreed transnational concepts of skills and qualifications has become a pressing political and practical issue. The paper argues that there are grounds for doubting that there is a ready translation of the English terms ?skill? and ?qualification? in a way that avoids problems of comparing and calibrating German and English vocational qualifications. Reasons for this difficulty are explored, the most important of which relate to: a) the conceptual structure of skill and its cognates in the two languages; b) the differing socio?political role of qualifications; c) different industrial structures and labour processes; d) differences in institutions regulating vocational education and training. These problems are discussed in relation to examples of similar industries and occupations and apparently similar levels of qualification in England and Germany.


Skills, Education, Knowledge, Understanding, Qualitifations



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