Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

‘Virtuous’ and ‘Vicious’ Circles? Adults’ Participation in Different Types of Training in the UK and Its Association with Wages

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Abstract:  The relationship between education, skills and labour market outcomes is becoming an increasingly pressing issue in many countries. In the UK, recent changes in education and skills funding structures and the ongoing consequences of the 2008 recession may have affected participation in training. ‘Virtuous’ and ‘vicious’ circles of learning may exist, whereby access to training is associated with social advantage, and training begets more training. We explore workers’ participation in different types of training and how this is associated with wages using the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Our exploratory findings suggest that those working in lower-level occupations may not only be less likely to undertake training in general, but also less likely to have done types of training associated with wage increases (e.g., to meet occupational standards), and more likely to have done training associated with no or negative changes in wages (e.g., health and safety) compared to those working in higher-level occupations. We suggest that further research is needed to unpack the ‘black box’ of training and its impacts upon different groups of people. We discuss the implications of our findings to help break the ‘vicious’ circles.

Keywords:  adult skills; learning; social class; types of training; wages


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© Daria Luchinskaya, Peter Dickinson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.