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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Research project: Centre for Learning and Life Chances in city regions (LLAKES)

Currently Active: 

2008 – 2013

A team from the University of Southampton; Institute of Education, University of London; National Institute for Economic and Social Research and University of Bristol has been awarded research funding by the Economic and Social Research Council (award no: RES 594-28-0001) for the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES).

The Centre, under the direction of Professors Andy Green and Lorna Unwin at the Institute of Education is investigating the role of lifelong learning in promoting economic competitiveness and social cohesion. A key purpose of the research being undertaken is to examine the role the city region plays in enhancing people's life chances through education and training. The research aims to understand the roles and perspectives of institutional stakeholders from the public and private sectors in conceiving, designing and delivering policies, initiatives and programmes and how they are finding new ways to work together under fast changing socio-economic conditions. As part of this research programme, projects are being conducted in Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.

In Southampton we have been researching a range of education and training providers and individuals offering or participating in pre-employment training courses. Integrating unemployed people back into the workplace and mainstream society can be a huge challenge. The project examined how Southampton City Council used section 106 powers to help the unemployed secure work and respond to the state's welfare to work priorities. Section 106 agreements are usually limited to firms building schools or social housing in return for private planning permission. The Council’s initiative was groundbreaking in its use of 106 regulations to guarantee pre-employment assistance for the jobless. When a high-profile retailer applied to develop a new store, the council granted permission on the condition the company guaranteed interviews to job seekers who had completed a special pre-employment' training (PET) course.

The findings will be used to make suggestions for how this type of provision might be improved for the benefit of participants in the future. A research report is available to download at

As part of its involvement in LLAKES, the School of Education at Southampton was also awarded a linked ESRC PhD studentship to focus on apprenticeship.

Project director: Professor Alison Fuller.

The LLAKES website is available here.

Funding body: ESRC.

Related research groups

Lifelong and Work-Related Learning (LaWRL) Research Centre
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