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ERIC Number: ED521742
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 94
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-9218-0998-9
Understanding the Undertow: Innovative Responses to Labour Market Disadvantage and VET
Bretherton, Tanya
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
An Australian Government priority is to increase productivity by moving people from welfare into employment. Policy on this issue is difficult to develop because of the complexities surrounding both under- and unemployment. This report considers underutilisation from two different perspectives. Not only does it contemplate the issue from the supply side--getting individuals ready to enter the labour market--it considers the readiness of the labour market itself to absorb labour. In the author's consideration of the role of intermediaries and vocational education and training (VET) in supporting workforce participation for underutilised groups, the following key findings emerge: (1) Barriers to labour market participation can be categorised in two ways: (a) a state of information asymmetry, whereby those not in the labour force lack information about employment and options for accessing employment; and (b) a compromised state of labour market readiness, whereby those job seekers who are marginalised by the labour market are less ready to undertake employment. This paper argues that labour market readiness also incorporates the labour market itself, which may not be ready to absorb labour from these marginalised groups; (2) Successful intermediaries illustrate that both demand and supply factors must feature in order to provide successful assistance to disadvantaged job seekers. They network, they adapt, and they even reinvent themselves to fill gaps in the support networks for their clients; and (3) Intermediaries suggest that VET by itself is not necessarily enough to enable transitions to employment for marginalised groups. For disadvantaged groups, social and economic supports are needed for them to be able to make the most of VET. Additional notes regarding field work are appended. (Contains 6 footnotes.)
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia