What happens to young people who are defined as lower attainers or having learning difficulties in a global knowledge economy?

How do we stop those with learning difficulties or disabilities being seen as social problems or simply as consumers of resources?

Governments in developed countries are driven by the belief that in a global economy all citizens should be economically productive, yet they are still not clear about the relationship between the education of low attainers and the labour market. Ignorant Yobs?: Low Attainers in a Global Knowledge Economy examines this international phenomenon, exploring how those with learning difficulties are treated in a world economy where even low-skilled jobs require qualifications.

This unique book provides an examination of countries which converge on the issue of the low attaining population, despite differing on political, economic and cultural dimensions. In doing so, it considers some thorny issues at the forefront of education policy and provision:

  • The increasing competitive stratification within education systems;
  • The impact of governments who have put competition in the labour market at the heart of their policies;
  • Social control of potentially disruptive groups, social cohesion and the human rights agenda;
  • The expansion of a special education industry driven by the needs of middle class, aspirant and knowledgeable parents, anxious about the success of their ‘less able’ children.

Written by an internationally renowned scholar, Ignorant Yobs?: Low Attainers in a Global Knowledge Economy synthesises a range of complex, highly topical issues and suggests how those with learning difficulties might, with government and employer support, contribute to a flexible labour market. This book, using original discussions in England, the USA, Germany, Malta and Finland, will be of interest to a wide audience of policy-makers, practitioners, administrators, and politicians, in addition to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students and academics.

chapter |13 pages


chapter 2|15 pages

England: social problems and special needs

chapter 3|14 pages

England: endless vocational initiatives

chapter 4|16 pages

England: working with the lower attainers

chapter 5|16 pages

USA: divergence by race

chapter 6|13 pages

Germany: transition to where?

chapter 7|11 pages

Malta: colonial and religious legacies

chapter 8|12 pages

Finland: a model for us all?