This article compares and contrasts the policy context of Vocational Education Teacher Training (VETT) in Scotland and England by setting this within its wider socio-economic context, one emphasising lifelong learning and competitiveness. This facilitates a comparison of the two nations and enables an analysis of VETT responses to globalisation and lifelong learning. It allows an exploration of policy continuities and breaks across Scotland and England, leading to a consideration of the limits and possibilities of the different 'solutions' adopted. In these nations VETT is somewhat marginal having only recently become mandatory, unlike many other European responses. The article's policy analysis is complemented by a small scale illuminative case study of VETT educators in Scotland and England, which explores the way policy is lived and mediated at the site of practice. The research suggests that whilst both systems are compromised, VETT educators seek to work on the 'good' side of the system in which they are placed.