The past decade has witnessed rapid policy change and reformulation which has impacted upon learners’ and workers’ choice/s or lack of choice/s in the public and private domains of their lives which includes practices and trajectories within education, training and employment. As a truth regime these practices have the capacity to constitute and position learners, educators and employees as the subjects of policy within this logic of competition. For some critical commentators “values” have been replaced by an emphasis on productivity and “value” in the economic sense. These changes have produced new scholarship and theory which this “special edition” aims to provide a lens to probe and expose. In doing so it makes a timely contribution to the relationship between gendered identities, learner trajectory and new policy discourse both within the UK and more widely.