Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

Project Items

Industrial Decline, Skill and the Service Economy: Training for Call Centre Work

Major changes have taken place in work and employment in advanced industrial economies over the past two decades. A fundamental feature of this change has been the continued decline of the traditional industries and manufacturing employment and the increase in the number of jobs in the service sector. This research project is concerned with how people living in disadvantaged communities in ‘old’ industrial regions in Britain are responding to these processes of economic restructuring. Specifically it examines how such communities are adapting to the new skill demands of employers, particularly the increased demand for social skills associated with the rise of the service industries. The project does this by focusing on people’s experiences of pre-employment training initiatives designed to equip the unemployed with the skills required for a particular new and rapidly expanding form of service employment - call centre work - in disadvantaged communities in the north east of England. Through detailed qualitative case studies of three training programmes, the research will explore the ways in which such initiatives are attempting to shape the attitudes, personalities and social skills of trainees to transform them into effective service workers, and examine how this process is interpreted by the trainees themselves.

Project Publications Include: