INTRODUCTION The idea that personal skills should be developed as an explicit curriculum aim across education and training programmes has received considerable attention over the last fifteen years. Central to the discussion is the notion that there are a set of generic skills which are fundamental to effective performance across a range of settings, and which are to some degree transferable between them. The attractions of the idea are considerable, and appeal to a range of 'stakeholders' in the provision of education and training.· To educational policy makers and planners they offer an integrative feature in a post-sixteen curriculum which is becoming increasingly diverse, modular and specialized; to adult learners they offer the opportunity to acquire and gain credit for skills which are useful in, and transferable between, a range of learning programmes, work settings and life situations; to employers they offer training in those skills which are seen as necessary to the flexible and autonomous workforce of the modern economy. Personal skills can be seen as offering a common strand linking the learning experience of individuals as they progress through school, further and higher education; as they pursue different specializations and study different subject areas; as they move between education and training, and between education and the world of work.