Phoebe Moore: UK Education, Employability, and Everyday Life

Phoebe Moore: UK Education, Employability, and Everyday Life
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, Volume 7, Number 1 (June 2009)

With pressures from employers, government ministries, and the new paying student/customer, New Labour has begun to restructure higher education and worker training in the United Kingdom to accommodate global markets, in the context of increasingly intimate relations between business and the public sector/education.

Simultaneous to the flexibilisation of the labour market, New Labour has increasingly sought private sector involvement in an increased range of avenues with the goal of educating citizens to become 'learner workers', and to become accustomed to, and reproductive of, the vagaries of neoliberal capitalism in their day to day lives and work. This project has a lineage perhaps with origins in the Robbins Report of the 1960s (Maclure 2006), which gave technological institutes ?university‘ status, and encouraged the continued expansion of universities. A series of Teaching and Higher Education Acts and education White Papers followed, which perhaps came to a head with the strong recommendations for private sector involvement into the public. Lord Sandy Leitch's Review of Skills 2006 (commonly known as the Leitch Report) itself a prominent recent strategy intending to transform education in this nation, toward market liberalisation and market-led 'progress', despite claims for a demand driven transformation in policy. The impact that implemented changes suggested by the Leitch Report will have on workers reflects widespread and growing insecurities resulting from the rolling back of the welfare state, when looked at in the context of increasing rates of hidden unemployment (see Beatty et al. 2007) and dramatically rising explicit unemployment in the contemporary economic 'credit crunch'.

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