Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

Learning while working in small companies: comparative analysis of experiences drawn from England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain

The PARTICIPA study initially aimed at analysing the structural, organisational and individual factors that influence technical employees’ decisions to participate in continuing vocational education and training (CVET). The study focused upon employees using technical skills from industrial small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The study broadened, however, to consider the interaction of working, learning, performance, development, networking and knowledge creation of technical workers in SMEs. The findings from the project have been reported in detail in an earlier series of reports (Brown et al., 2004a, 2004b, 2005). That the detailed findings are available elsewhere means that this report, written after completion of the research, can be reflective and concentrate on achieving three tasks:

to map the patterns of learning, working and development in SMEs with a ‘learning culture’ in the six countries;

to reflect on the usefulness of the ISSTAL model as a theoretical framework for conducting research in CVET;

to draw out the implications of the ‘lessons learned’ from the project for policy, practice and research

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