Putting skills into business

Businesspeople looking at reportFebruary 2010

Research by the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance has informed the English Skills Strategy and policies in Finland, Norway and Australia.

The ESRC Research Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) explores the impact of education and training on economic performance. A key goal is to improve understanding of how, why, and in combination with what other factors or forms of investment, skill enhances performance. This means a strong interest in the impact of skill on innovation and productivity.

This programme seeks to identify the key research and policy issues confronting skills systems across the developed world. It includes initial as well as continuing learning which is often informal, uncertified and takes place in the workplace.

SKOPE researchers critically assessed the English Skills Strategy, and policymakers valued the research as an 'unofficial' opposition. Their findings are widely acknowledged to have filled important gaps in the research evidence concerning skills.

Research from SKOPE has had wide-ranging impact on policy in the UK and abroad. Policy interventions in Norway, workplace re-design in Finland and skills projects in Australia and New Zealand have all been influenced by SKOPE.

Impact

  • The SKOPE research on skills policy and economic development had an important impact on the English Skills Strategy, influencing its direction.
  • Research on the links between workforce skills, business improvement and economic development has also shaped policies beyond the UK. Workplace re-design policies set up by the Finnish Ministry of Labour have been influenced by SKOPE research.
  • As a result of the Finnish reform work, study groups have also been established in Norway to examine reforms of the national curriculum.
  • Findings from the research centre were influential in the development of Skill Ecosystem projects in Australia supporting partnerships between trainers and industry, focusing on improving workforce capacity and the use of skills.
  • In New Zealand, SKOPE's research had a major impact on the development of thinking in the national Tertiary Education Commission which funds higher education and training.

Further information