The main argument in this paper is: In order to comprehend the ‘invisible’ conditions for forming motivation to participate in different kinds of learning activities (formal, non-formal and informal) in relation to work-life it is crucial to develop a dialectic concept of learner identity. A concept enabling researcher in the field of work and learning to examine how the orientation toward learning activities are situated in and conditioned by specific work-life experiences. Based on a qualitative research-project (Kondrup 2012) the paper outlines how unskilled work forms a specific condition for engaging in learning. The aim of the project was to examine the challenges in order to fulfil the Danish national strategy on Lifelong learning and training for all. Danish as well as international research reveals that low skilled workers and workers in small and medium sized private companies tend to be least likely to participate in VET, and the long arm of education has significant influence on how people perceive adult education.. The aim of the project was to examine how an unskilled work-life present certain conditions for the formation, maintenance and transformation of a learner identity, enabling workers to position themselves as educable subjects, as demanded by the strategy on lifelong learning.