Regulating Labour, Transforming Human Capital and Promoting Local Economic Growth: The Case of the UK Skillcentres Initiative
This chapter examines the 'skillcentre' programme initiative of the 1980s and 1990s which embraced policies of marketisation and privatisation. It shows that government in Britain has, since the 1980s, sought to support and promote local economic growth through deregulation, marketisation and ultimately privatisation. The national network of skillcentres, providing primarily adult skills training in the traditional craft trades, had formed an important part of an earlier Labour government's plans for a comprehensive national manpower planning policy. The new employer-led and employer-directed institutional framework for labour market regulation was 'located' at the level of the local labour market. The national network of skillcentres could have been restructured and relaunched by government in order to meet the skills training needs of business and thereby have promoted local economic development. The creation of a 'training market' by the government, and the requirement upon the skillcentre training agency to operate within an enterprise culture and a market logic, was also constrained by the employers.