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Title: Labour markets : volunteering and employability
Author: Lee, John
Awarding Body: University of the West of Scotland
Current Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis provides an insight into the impact the experience of volunteering has on people claiming incapacity benefits in Scotland. In particular it examines the experience of being a volunteer in connection to labour markets and employability, and in a wider sense in connection to the benefits regime and the ongoing process of welfare reform in the UK. Within this process of welfare reform, the rising numbers of individuals claiming incapacity benefits over the last twenty years has been identified as one of the key issues in active labour market policy. The UK government's welfare reform and active labour market programme has several strands. Encouraging benefit claimants to volunteer is one of these strands and is the primary focus for this thesis. Within this policy strand, volunteering is seen as essentially being analogous to paid employment: providing work-like skills, experience and discipline that are all relevant and transferable to the paid labour market. As this thesis shows, this paradigm of volunteering as a work-like activity is not based on a robust evidence base. This thesis also shows that this paradigm has gone unchallenged and has not been subject to any critique through the existing research and literature. This thesis adopts a life story approach to give an insight into the biographies of the individual volunteers and in doing so addresses the current lack in the UK of robust qualitative research in relation to volunteering and employability issues. Analysis of the data obtained from in-depth interviews with volunteers suggests volunteering plays a positive role in enabling individuals to respond to and cope with a period of crisis and transition in their lives. However, it has limitations in enhancing employability through the provision of work-like skills, experience and discipline. Essentially there is a qualitative difference between volunteering and paid employment. As such this thesis challenges the existing paradigm and urges caution in promoting volunteering to those on incapacity benefits as a means of enhancing employability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available