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Keywords:

  • West London;
  • lone mothers;
  • interviews and focus groups;
  • New Deal for Lone Parents;
  • training;
  • childcare

In this paper we explore the impacts of the training programmes offered to lone mothers with young children on the Government's ‘New Deal for Lone Parents’ in one local labour market: West London. Our research suggests that regulatory workfare policies are (re)producing and reinforcing gendered inequalities in the labour market by encouraging lone mothers to undertake training in feminised occupational areas such as childcare. We will argue that in a local economy such as West London where more childcare workers are desperately needed to enable other more highly skilled workers to take up employment opportunities, such training programmes may be doing little more than exacerbating the already gendered and class-based polarisation of the labour market – embedding low-skilled, poorly qualified lone mothers into low-paid jobs.