Learning Societies: Education & Training in Low Unemployment Countries is now reissued in PDF Format at no cost to the reader. This is because of the rise in unemployment internationally. Although written originally with Ireland in mind, the study will help governments and others throughout the world to clarify their understanding of the problem and develop better solutions to unemployment.

When first published in 1993, Ireland’s unemployment rate was almost 16%. It then fell over the years to just over 4% in 2005. Since then it has increased significantly and is expected to reach 14% in 2010.

The book approaches the jobs crisis by reflecting on the experience of the then five relatively low unemployment countries nations: Austria, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. It offers a wide range of ideas and proposals on how to reduce unemployment. The following points are taken from the back cover.

First, in describing Ireland as an unemployment society, the book points to the widespread belief at the time that the problem was unsolvable. This belief was shared at all levels of society and led to a type of communal resignation. Second, the evidence from the then low unemployment countries indicated that the communal resignation on unemployment was part of the problem.

Third, the study reviews the education and training systems of the five countries. The study identifies the five countries as learning societies and sees the quality of the labour force as key to competitiveness. In addition, there is a relatively even spread of skill throughout these societies in that there are relatively few large groups with significant skill deficiencies…

It indicates that every country can tackle its unemployment problem. However, it requires imagination and courage to confront the problem. This work provides us with encouragement and a range of imaginative proposals. See also.