Gaining skills or just paying the bills? Workplace learning in low-level retail employment

Roberts, Steven D. (2012) Gaining skills or just paying the bills? Workplace learning in low-level retail employment. Journal of Education and Work, 26 (3). pp. 267-290. ISSN 1363-9080. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2011.653555) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2011.653555

Abstract

This paper analyses the workplace learning experiences of young male retail employees. Deeming formal education highly unattractive, the pursuit of lifelong learning and continuous development for such people relies on workplace learning. Their experiences, however, over several years and across various retailers painted a grim reality. Sector-level accreditation (at National Vocational Qualification level 2) was characterised as stigmatising and indicative of deficiency to prospective employers. These qualifications, indeed all formal in-house training, were positioned as lacking in quality, inauthentic and an unnecessary cost for employers and government. Effective learning was, instead, experiential and situated, with (limited) expertise cumulatively developed through doing the job. The paper moves beyond valuable, yet well rehearsed, arguments regarding which groups get access to training opportunities and a focus on upskilling those who are least qualified. Instead, this investigation asks whether current workplace learning provision in retail can provide genuine opportunities for advancement and development for 'moderately qualified' young people employed in the lower levels of the labour market-a section of society whose learning experiences and needs are often overshadowed by a polarised focus between Not in education, employment or trainings, and those undertaking apprenticeships or HE. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: retail, service sector, workplace learning, youth labour market
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Medway
Depositing User: Mita Mondal
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2014 09:57 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2014 08:20 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/39011 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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