11 Critical Soc. Pol'y 4 (1991)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy11 and id is 1 raw text is: 






Letting the market decide (with public
money): Training and Enterprise Councils
and the future of labour market programmes

JAMIE   PECK



Abstract

  hze Training and Enterprise Councils (TEC) initiative is beingpresented
  as the solution to Britain 's lingeripg skills crisis. The TECs have inherited
  from the Training Agency the sit of Imake-work schemes, notable YT
  and ET, deployed by the govertment ii response to the unemployment
  problems of the 1980s. The paper describes the TEC initiative and specu-
  lates on the future of these labour market programme. Already there are
  signs that this provision is being subordinated to the most short-term.
  needs ofthelabour market, with deleterious consequences for the d4Aeiy
  ofhigh skill training and for the participation of disadvantaged groups.
The launch of the Training and Enterprise Councils (TEC) initiative has been
heralded as no less than a 'Skills Revolution', the beginning of a new regime
in which Britain's business leaders, having been handed the reins of the
country's training system, will be constructing a workforce fit to out-
compete  the best in the global market-place. As with all revolutions,
however, there must be casualties. The casualties of this revolution are likely
to be those whom the market has also failed - the long-term unemployed and
those with special training needs. For it is 'market forces' which provide the
rallying call for the new TECs: with perverse logic, the government has
decided that the best way to respond to ostensible market failure in the
training system is to mimic the market itself using public funds. The
'owneship' of the training system has been formally handed over to the
employer-led TECs  - presumably in their capacity as custodians of the
'market logic' - along with a plea to create a training system which is
responsive to local labour market needs (Department of Employment, 1988
pp39-43).
  Business leaders across the country have been asked to come forward with
bids for the formation of TECs. Following a little over 18 months of frenetic
activity, the basis for a network of 82 TECs - covering the whole of England
and Wales - has been set in place. The process of TEC formation in some
areas, most notably the London conurbation (London Employers Group,


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