Geographies of labour market regulation : industrial training in Government Training Centres and Skillcentres in Britain and London, 1917-93
This thesis is concerned with one aspect of the state's intervention into industrial training in Britain, namely the policy programmes which constituted between 1917-93 the Government Training Centre and subsequent Skillcentre networks. These training initiatives are presented as one example of government's attempts at national and local labour market regulation and governance, placed within the context of industrial, social and political change within Britain and Greater London. This analysis of state intervention and policy formulation is set into a theoretical and explanatory framework which is both historically and geographically located. The thesis is structured into three distinct parts. Part one establishes the theoretical framework and is based upon a critique of selected local labour market research maintaining that an interpretation of regulation theory, involving the identification of sub-national landscapes of labour regulation and governance, offers an important basis for the study of labour market process within any particular geographical context. Part two provides a detailed presentation of the development of state-funded adult industrial training in Britain from the instructional factories of 1917, through the subsequent Government Training Centre and Skillcentre initiatives and concluding with the privatisation and eventual closure of the Skillcentre network in 1993. This historical perspective is presented in terms of nine distinct regulatory periods and a series of distinctive geographies of labour market regulation. Part three sets the findings of a survey of Skillcentre trainees in Greater London into this context. Skillcentre catchment areas in London in the early 1980s are identified and interpreted in terms of both contemporary processes of labour market change and the residual consequences of policy formulation and implementation derived under previous conditions of regulatory need. Access to Skillcentre training in the local labour market context of Greater London is seen to be the outcome of the intersection and interaction of a range of economic, social and political processes, operating over time and at a variety of spatial scales.