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Drivers of learning for the low skilled

The drivers of learning for mid-career workers with few initial qualifications from the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy and Poland are examined. The focus in this article is upon the learning pathways and experience of the low-qualified drawn from empirical research which gathered and analysed the strategic career and learning biographies of 105 low-skilled individuals, mainly aged between 25 and 40, in the 7 countries, using semi-structured narrative interviews. The five drivers for learning evident in the interviews were enhancing self-efficacy; self-improvement; labour market-orientated learning; significant others motivating learning; and work-related practical learning. The interviewees were divided between those who wanted tangible and immediate learning outcomes and those who saw learning primarily as a means of self-improvement. Some interviewees with negative experiences of initial education were motivated to re-engage by a positive experience with continuing education, encouragement of significant others or through an experience of mastery of challenges at work which led to an increase in their self-efficacy. For the majority of interviewees, practical learning was particularly appreciated, whether undertaken to secure or enhance their current labour market position or undertaken to increase their self-efficacy.