Until the mid‐fifties it was general policy in Britain that vocational training was the business of the employing firm, which based its efficiency upon and drew its profits from the skills of its workers. Vocational guidance was offered by school‐teachers, some trained for the task and some not, and by youth employment officers whose primary function was placement. Vocational promotion, ie retraining or upgrading, was carried out (what there was) partly by firms and partly by Government centres. Technical education (related studies) was provided in colleges in response to explicit local demand. Some rationality was introduced into the picture by the 1964 Industrial Training Act, but less sanguine observers anticipated that there would need to be further steps within a decade or so (pump‐priming is useful, but in the long run one expects the pump to work unaided). Not until 1973 did the country have an umbrella organisation for guidance, placement, training and retraining, with an explicit mandate to correlate manpower needs on a national scale.
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