Vocational education and training (VET) have a key role to play in raising skill levels and improving a society's productivity. In this important new book, a team of international experts argue that too often national VET policy has been formulated in ignorance of historical and political developments in other countries and without proper consideration of the social objectives that it might help achieve. Examining a wide range of contrasting international approaches and development strategies, this book demonstrates the central role of the state in implementing an effective system of VET and assesses the extent to which different VET policies can promote equality in the labour market and social justice. Key themes include: the broader educational and social aims of VET the nature of learning in vocational contexts the historical development of VET in the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Including a full range of case-studies and practical examples, this book is essential reading for all students, researchers and practitioners with an interest in vocational education and training, industrial and labour relations or social policy.