Paul Ryan has brought together the writings of the most prominent British research into vocational preparation in Britain in comparison to the other advanced economies, primarily within the EEC. The book, originally published in 1991, documents various aspects of inadequacy in British practice at the time, concentrating upon intermediate skills, which are of crucial importance for economic performance.
The introduction outlines the strengths and weaknesses of comparative research. Part 1 discusses the use which has been made of it by policy makers in Britain and various aspects of comparative methods in practical comparisons, including an Anglo-Scottish one. Part 2 concerns vocational preparation in connection with productivity and produce markets, noting its importance for economic performance and its dependence upon companies' product choices. Part 3 contains studies of the organization of skills and work and the finance of training within the EEC as a whole. Part 4 comprises studies of training in relation to labour market structures, each of which indicates similar alternatives for training policy in Britain - alternatives whose relevance and political prospects can only be enhanced by the demise of Thatcher government deregulatory policies.