More effective skills utilisation: shifting the terrain of skills policy in Scotland

Patricia Findlay, Chris Warhurst

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This paper examines shifts in skills policy in Scotland towards emphasising the importance of effective skills utilisation. Turning policy into practice, however, requires a better understanding than currently exists of skills utilisation in order to facilitate better measurement, evaluation and intervention. This paper aims to contribute to such an understanding. We suggest that effective skills utilisation comprises two distinct elements: the use of better skills and the better use of skills, with the former crucial to the development of a high skills economy and the latter crucial to realising existing untapped workforce potential. We further argue that skills utilisation is most likely where workers have the ability, motivation and opportunity to deploy their skills effectively. We conclude by advocating greater collaboration in skills utilisation practice and research between relevant stakeholders, drawing on European experiences and an approach – which we call ASPiRRE – that envelops actors, structures, protocols, responsibilities, resources and expertise in order to align distinct stakeholder interests and encourage innovative practice in skills deployment.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages24
VolumeResearch Paper 107
ISBN (Electronic)1466-1535
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • skills policy
  • human resource management
  • workforce
  • skills deployment


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