Outline Issue of the European perspective of HRD

EHRD Portal
Search EHRD

> Selected issues


  Tackling the problem of skill shortage in the work force
NOTE: After viewing a linked reference please use the back key for returning to this page!
  The skill shortage in the work force may be high or low depending on the national resourcing model [R07].

A particularly pressing problem on the European labour market is the generally deteriorating situation of the low-skilled [E07a]. The effectiveness of labour market oriented training for this problem group, in particular for the long-term unemployed, is difficult to identify E10a]. The following evidence has been derived from projects:
In training courses for the unemployed, the curricular and especially the instructional characteristics are of greater influence on the outcomes than the organisational characteristics [E10b]. Individualised training is not by definition the best way to choose. Apparently the social aspect of training can be important as well. Different training models are required for different target groups [E10d]. The practical training is valued most. Work placements or traineeships during the course are good vehicles for getting into a job. Innovative training models such as  the Job Switch Model in Denmark have emphasised workplace-oriented or workplace-led training principles [E10b] [E10c]. 
Low-skilled workers receive as many offers of training as other skill groups but are more reluctant to take up such offers. One hypothesis advanced to explain this reluctance suggested that the group does not attach much weight to future benefits. Data from case studies confirm the view that employees do not normally receive higher wages following a period of employer-provided training. This lends support to the hypothesis of low incentives to participate [E07b]. 
No one raises the issue of how you can manage the knowledge development of those at the bottom line of the enterprise, and how you can really manage their learning process. When you are engaged with low-skilled workers you have to start where they are, with an understanding of how they can really get involved in a knowledge developing work content. It may be assumed that the informal learning model is much more beneficiary than to introduce formal learning [V10]. 

Based on the analysis of skill shortage problems, the following approaches have been recommended:

  • a 'platform for learning' should be promoted throughout Europe to help raise the potential of the low-skilled [E07a] [E07c];
  • companies which organise training courses cannot afford to target solely the staff members; they must also involve the unemployed; they should develop new models combining employment, vocational training and ongoing qualification, e.g. through a substitute concept [E05b].
Back to selected issues
Top of the page
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO