Governments worldwide assume that national competitiveness can be improved by developing workforce skills. This book critically examines this 'high skills' vision at both policy and practice levels. It challenges an oversimplified policy rhetoric that underestimates the complexity of the processes involved in developing a skilled workforce. The book focuses on key issues relating to the high skills agenda: skills and political economy; different investment strategies for producing skills; qualification systems and learning. A multidisciplinary team of authors from a range of disciplines, including economics, management and education, provides the cross-cutting international and comparative analysis. Editorial comment links their explorations to wider questions of skill formation processes and overarching questions are addressed through in-depth analysis of the roles of higher education, apprenticeship and formal school learning in skill formation.