Training, development and skills are key aspects of economic life. At the levels of the firm and the national economy training offers the hope of increasedcompetitiveness through raising skill levels, productivity and “value added”. For trade unions and professional associations, training enhances members’expertise, facilitating negotiations for pay and status. While, for individuals, giventhat life chances are still heavily influenced by the job a person does and thewages they earn, education and training can increase knowledge andopportunities, give access to more highly rewarded work and reduce the prospectof unemployment.Small wonder then that consensus exists in this area that governmentsencourage training through regulations or exhortation, or that employers praiseits importance in surveys.In common with other human resources practices, training should not beconsidered in isolation. Its effectiveness, or otherwise, hinges on the wider economic and organisational context.The advantages of training and development are not illusory. Withinorganisations, it can equip workers to carry out tasks, monitor quality andmanage complex products and services.Training and development safeguards such productivity as well as supporting it,by preparing employees for future jobs and insulating firms from skills shortages.When jobs can be filled internally, firm are less dependent on the outside labour market and does not risk appropriate recruits not being available (or not availableat the price the organization wishes to pay).The benefits to organizations are matched by advantages that individuals cangain. According to human capital theory (Becker 1964) the more investment anindividual makes in themselves, the greater their lifetime returns, throughincreased earnings, fewer (and shorter) periods of unemployment and access tomore interesting work.