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The utility of operationalising the concept of skill ecosystems : the case of intermediate occupations in Scotland

Anderson, Pauline (2010) The utility of operationalising the concept of skill ecosystems : the case of intermediate occupations in Scotland. In: International Labour Process Conference 2010, 2010-03-15 - 2010-03-17, Rutgers University.

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The concept of skill ecosystems is now weaved through every strand of the Australian Government’s skills' policy and strategy. The appetite for building and maintaining better skill ecosystems is growing in Scotland, with policy-makers and academics drawn to reports of successful ecosystem projects in Australia. The skill ecosystems concept, however, is inherently ‘messy’ and there is therefore much potential for misconceptualisation. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that the Scottish Government may be taking a conceptual ‘wrong turn’ by reinterpreting the goal of creating and sustaining better skill ecosystems as one of ensuring better skill utilisation at the level of the individual. This problem may be partially explained by the fact that the attempted reframing of Scottish skills’ policies to embrace this concept has not been met with a clearly articulated, corresponding, framework which assists policy makers and indeed academics in disentangling some of this muddle. This paper therefore seeks to highlight the utility of operationalising the concept of skill ecosystems by reference to the process and findings of an empirical study of intermediate occupations in Scotland. The operationalisation presented has practical application for policy-makers and academics beyond the scope of this examination of intermediate occupations.