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In focus: Research, reports and publications


spyglassA bumper round-up of reports to kick off the year from Dr Andrew Dean. Research includes: evidence of the rewards employers reap from training their workforce; businesses give their experiences of the skills system; proposals to simplify post-19 training; the impact of lifelong learning on poverty and much more.

Job-related training and benefits for individuals: a review of evidence and explanations
Employer-financed training appears to lower the probability of an individual leaving for a new job. The analysis of the distribution of returns to training reveals that although individuals benefit from these investments, the employer reaps most of the returns to training which suggests that the productivity effects are substantially larger than wage effects.

Skills for the workplace: employer perspectives
This report provides analysis from a major survey of employers across the UK, exploring their experiences and perceptions of key aspects of the skills system across the UK. This is an important platform of evidence for the newly formed UK Commission for Employment and Skills in delivering its remit to raise UK prosperity and opportunity by improving employment and skills.

Skills policy and the displacement of industrial relations
Skills have not only become the main focus of policy intervention but are increasingly being conceived, at least by policy makers, as an alternative to, or replacement for, more traditional industrial relations concerns. This issues paper explores the reasons behind this policy shift and the challenges it presents for the development of a ‘joined up’ skills strategy.

Simplification of Skills in England
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has published a paper called "Simplification of Skills in England". It contains the UK Commission's first proposals in response to a request from the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills to "advise the Government on simplification of post-19 training and skills in England".

Failure of UKeU examined in comparison to Sweden’s Net University success
A comparison of the reasons for the success of Sweden’s Net University and the failure of UKeU. It includes a number of recommendations and important lessons to be learned from the large-scale government e-learning initiatives.

Entrepreneurship, gender and job creation: European dynamics
Finds that much of the observed differential is easily accounted for by differences in sector and occupational characteristics of men and women, and the true gender difference is diminishing rapidly over time.

Impact of lifelong learning on poverty reduction
Tackles one of the biggest public value issues of all: poverty reduction. “Reducing poverty of course most directly affects poor people, but the presence of poverty diminishes us all. The standards for measuring poverty go up all the time, so eradicating it is a moving target; nevertheless, it is simply shocking that poverty is so persistent in rich countries such as the UK.”

The impact of the Skills for Life strategy on adult literacy, language and numeracy learners
Provides robust evidence in the form of statistical data and qualitative insight into how the Skills for Life strategy impacted on learners.

PIAAC: a new strategy for assessing adult competencies
This article describes a strategy currently being developed by the OECD for assessing the literacy skills of adults, including familiarity with information and communication technologies and the ability to manage information, construct new knowledge and communicate with others.

Literacy changes lives: an advocacy resource
This document gives an overview of the evidence that places literacy so firmly at the heart of social policy. We hope it will act as a resource for all those who champion the needs of learners.

Each month Dr Andrew Dean of the Marchmont Observatory summarises the research, reports and publications that are shaping the field of learning. Do you know of research that should appear here? Send your information, research and links to


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