The role of space and place on independent worker skills development and productivity.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Sch of Economic, Social & Political Sci


Skills training and development represent a large part of productivity and growth throughout the national economy (Keep, Mayhew & Payne, 2006), but compared to traditional employment, independent workers (self-employed without employees) are not subsidized for their skills training and development (Kalleberg, 2000; Ekinsmyth, 2002), which leaves the responsibility to keep up with the fast moving nature of skills and networks entirely to them. To learn skills, independent workers engage with other independent workers in thick labour markets such as London and the South East (Houston & Reuschke, 2017), wherein workers can collaborate, and share knowledge (Gertler, 2008). However, many also find success in rural areas, and other, whereas other struggle to learn skills as a result of poor local economic resources, employment redundancy, parenthood, poor financial means, and lack of previous business experience.

By exploring geographical context, skills requirements and how independent workers work with their surrounding resources, I hope to address two research questions: How do different areas accommodate or inhibit skills development for independent workers; And how do independent workers manage the individualized nature of their work in areas with different economic conditions? Existing datasets and quantitative methodologies may not sufficiently capture the sphere of independent worker lifestyle or skills development. Therefore, my initial research proposal intends to follow a qualitative methodology to follow case studies of independent worker, likely with a focus on two certain sectors. Further afield, the PhD, could potentially steer toward more rural ecosystems or co-urbanisation in the North of England and Scotland.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000673/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2279571 Studentship ES/P000673/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Michael Fisher