Local development, productive networks and training: alternative approaches to training and work for young people

The new local development approaches have opened up great opportunities for improvement in training and youth employment policies, which have been the subject of searching debates over the last few decades. When we consider young people not so much as a statistical category, or as a group with certain disadvantages that make it more difficult for them to find employment, but more as active participants in their own development and that of the community, we will be closer to the target of having integral strategies for training and for promoting decent work. When we pay more and better attention to the individual characteristics of local districts and societies and their productive networks we will know more about the problems and the opportunities which young people have, and we will be nearer the objective of training which is more pertinent and useful, and of better quality. However, and beyond the emphasis that the book puts on the training and employment of young people, the approaches described and the experiences outlined here open up areas for reflection for the whole field of vocational training. The main one is probably the idea of restoring training to an outstanding role in relation economic and social development. This is as important as the assertion that training can do more than just passively adapt to the changes caused by globalization and the consequences for the community; it can aim at transforming situations that are very often adverse.

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