Scenes from a Mall: Retail Training and The Social Exclusion of Low-Skilled Workers
Regulation and Governance 4(3): 345-364, September 2010
41 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012 Last revised: 5 May 2014
Date Written: July 18, 2010
In this article we examine how post-industrial Britain and Denmark undertake vocational training for low-skilled retail workers. Specifically, we evaluate whether leaders in training skilled industrial workers are also doing the best job with low-skilled service workers.While Danish retail is increasingly becoming a haven for low-skilled workers, British workers are gaining in skills levels with the transition to services even in the retail sector.While some suggest that social democratic countries have sacrificed the political interests of low-skilled workers in order to protect core manufacturing workers, we find no evidence of this. Rather, the high expectations of vocational training in Denmark have forged barriers to the easy admission of low-skilled service workers, while the British system provides more entry points for vocational training at different levels. The structures of coordination that had narrowed the gap between white-collar and blue-collar manufacturing workers during the industrial age are creating new cleavages in the post-industrial economy.
Keywords: dualism, low-skilled worker, retail services, social exclusion, vocational training
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