Women, Training and the Skills Shortage: The Case for Public Investment

'This is a book that puts its case clearly and compellingly. If change is to come about, it will continue to be important to document policy outcomes, and to challenge inadequate thinking in the way that Joan Payne does'

Journal of Social Policy

'This book is essential reading for anyone who might have any form of influence over government training schemes... an impressive piece of research methodology'

Work, Employment and Society

'[has] an important contribution to make to ongoing policy debate on the British VET system... analysis, empirical evidence and policy recommendations which deserve serious consideration and evaluation'

Industrial Relations Journal

The British economy is desperately short of skilled labour, yet half the workforce - the female half - work at levels below their potential. Government policy says that adult training must be paid for mainly by employers and private individuals, yet employers invest much less in women than in men, and women are in a far worse position than men to finance their own training. These are the issues that this book addresses. It is based on a national study of the effectiveness of adult skills training 'off-the-job', the first rigorously designed evaluation study of a government adult training scheme ever to be conducted.

The book explores the wide ranges of circumstances which prompt women to seek training, their personal gains, and the impact on their employment and earnings. Women's progress is compared with that of male trainees, and with a matched national sample of women and men who had not received recent training.

This evidence is presented in support of the case for public investment in high quality adult training, not only for the long-term unemployed, but for all who have the motivation to benefit from it. The current identification of government funded adult training with unemployment leads to low skill schemes which are stigmatised by the public and employers alike. A plea is also made for continuity and properly evaluated development in this field.