No yoga for Eric: lifelong learning from a small firm's perspective
An emphasis on lifelong learning as a route to economic competitive advantage forms the basis for current governmental policies directed at both firms and individuals. Since small firms are seen as vital for economic growth and development, this sector is a major target for lifelong learning based programmes. However, the views of those in this sector on lifelong learning are less well known. This study of 128 small firms explored the views of owner managers and key staff in these firms about lifelong learning. Despite the hype, owner managers still seemed unsure about the concept, showing the same resistance to embracing learning for all staff seen in earlier studies. However, whilst not recognizing its value for their company to achieve business needs, it was described as important in their own lives, particularly to achieve personal rather than business aims. Examples were also given of transfer of ideas and skills from leisure to work environments. Staff designated as 'key' by their managers saw learning as a continuous process, vital for their own future development. These staff had been the main participants of formalized firm learning and had also taken part in learning outside work for personal development. Further research would be needed to identity whether non-preferred staff shares this positive view of learning.