Skill and Competence as Time-Space Constructions

Year: 1993

Author: Saltmarsh, David

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Attempts to remedy the situation of persistently high unemployment, emphasis has been given to issues of vocational training, competencies and skills. However, the approaches and policies that have emerged, disguise the socially constructed character of the notion of skill. Social theorists, such as Anthony Giddens, have highlighted the value of considering the spatial and temporal dimensions that exist in all instances of social interaction. This paper suggests that while skills and other capacities are important in doing a job, the very concept of skill depends on certain assumptions about time and space being accepted. Further, control over time and space is a resource used to produce and reproduce relations of inequality. Evidence supporting these propositions have been drawn from a study on the DEET funded Job Club program, a program to assist people to gain employment through instruction and peer support.