Welfare to work: training, benefits, un/employment and social justice
Brine, J. (2011) Welfare to work: training, benefits, un/employment and social justice. In: Jackson, S., ed. (2011) Lifelong learning and social justice: communities, work and identities in a globalised world. Leicester: NIACE. ISBN 9781862014541
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This chapter explores a specific aspect of lifelong learning, of 'skills and training', of lifelong learning linked to economic participation through the employment market - or more accurately, to the underbelly of the employment market, to the 'unemployed', and most recently to those identified as 'economically inactive'. I focus here on 'lifelong learners' who through their prolonged unemployment or 'economic inactivity' are given 'opportunities' to participate in training and basic skills programmes. The chapter is located at the interface of active labour market policies, welfare reforms and lifelong learning that impact directly on what are arguably the most vulnerable members of society - those with chronic illness or disabilities. The discussion is underpinned by theories of social justice, particularly those related to distribution of resources, constructions of disadvantage and a return to the concept of the deserving and undeserving poor. The chapter is based on original research focused on close analysis of the UK Labour government's sequence of 'welfare-to-work' papers published between 2006 and 2009. The chapter ends with the immediate post-election Liberal-Conservative Coalition statement of 12 May 2010.