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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2011): Education - UK - training

The training-to-work trajectory: pressures for and subversions to participation in the neoliberal learning market in the UK

E. Wainwright and others

Gender, Place and Culture, vol. 18, 2011, p. 635-654

The UK government has emphasised the role of lifelong learning in combating social exclusion and improving productivity and the skills base. Within a neoliberal rationale that normalises participation in paid work, the unemployed are being offered training to enable a swift transition to paid employment and to encourage 'personal responsibility'. Taking a critical feminist approach framed by the social control model of lifelong learning and Foucault's governmentality, this article explores efforts to 'encourage' mothers to take up training to precipitate a move into the labour market. Drawing on interviews with training providers and mothers, it highlights the pressures mother feel when they have to comply with current training and employment norms. However, when mothers take up training, they can do so for personal and family reasons as well as to improve their employability. They may use training as a way of getting a break from their children as much as a path to fulfilling their career aspirations.

Work academies launch as young jobless figures forecast to top 1m

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Oct. 12th 2011, p. 13

Ministers are preparing for youth unemployment to go over 1 million in October 2011 and will defend themselves by launching sector-based work academies across the UK designed to give people better access to work experience. The new academies are designed to provide a combination of training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview to up to 50,000 people over the next two years, with many of the opportunities going to young people. A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said that together with the Work Programme and the government's Work Experience scheme, support will be available for up to 150,000 young people over the next few months and around 250,000 people over the next two years. However, Labour claims that the plans are little more than a sticking plaster and, in common with most economic forecasters, expect the number of under-24s who are out of work to pass the 1 million mark for the first time since the early 1990s.

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