Government’s approach to work experience of jobless is s**t

Work experience needs to be meaningful and not put the employed at a disadvantage.

Just as the title says, I really don’t think much of the “welfare-to-work” schemes Job Centre Plus are forcing down the throats of some job seekers. Sure, I get that there are plenty of people out there who need work experience, but I seriously disagree with the kinds of experience being offered and how it is being offered.

Apart from the general systematic confusion about forced and voluntary schemes, a segment I saw on Channel 4 News last night reconfirmed my suspicions that between Job Centre Plus, DWP, private businesses and the UK government – nobody in charge of any of this mess knew what was really happening or had a bloody clue as to what would be effective.

The stupidest part of the welfare-to-work scheme is the fact that it’s focused on the retail sector. One of the lowest paying areas of employment when you’re dealing with positions below management level.

Apart from the fact that most of the work these young people are being made to do would normally be done by paid people, it’s also work that in the next ten years could be automated in a lot of instances. It’s not skilled work and it’s not giving people the experience necessary to stay in work.

And what exactly is the fecking point in having graduates stocking shelves in big retail chains? Graduates who have tens of thousands of pounds worth of student debt that it would be better for the country’s coffers if paid back a tad sooner rather than later? Unless a retail job is management level, working in it full-time will not pay the minimum needed to pay back that debt.

And those people without degrees? What if their aspirations go beyond stacking shelves, which will probably be roboticized sooner rather than later?

Job seekers who have been unemployed for any length of time should be allowed to seek work placements in industries and professions that suit their career aspirations, experience and/or skill-set. They shouldn’t be penalised by Job Centre Plus for going on placements that they’ve sorted out for themselves. And people of any age should be able to go and get work experience. Proof of experience could easily be done via a scrapbook system if JCP really needed proof.

But because this government doesn’t care about anyone but themselves and their rich friends, I doubt this situation will be improved. I hate how this country is run by a group mainly composed of selfish, ignorant idiots.


5 thoughts on “Government’s approach to work experience of jobless is s**t

  1. I’m so pleased to see so many major companies backing out of the scheme (although disheartened that it took a few major players to back out first before the rest dared to follow suit). The main problem, in addition to everything you’ve covered, is of course that businesses are being incentivised by the government to limit the number of jobs available. A major retail chain can staff their night shifts with unpaid work, and all they have to do in return is give a couple of job interviews. No obligation to take them on, and you can bet Jobcentre’s contractors will send them a fresh batch of victims the second the initial internship period is up.

    So we’re giving the unemployed non-beneficial work ‘experience’, and giving companies around the nation a pretty damn good reason NOT to offer anyone employment.

    You’re right, though: the spectacular thing is that people don’t seem to know how messed up the situation is. We had the exact same controversy last year when BTCV was found to be doing this sort of stuff, and they lost their contract with Jobcentre as a result… yet the scheme that’s replaced theirs is only cosmetically different. And yet again, everyone seems to be surprised – the response appears to be “Oh, wait… yeah, this should have stopped happening by now, but, y’know.”

    And don’t get me started on the use of the term ‘voluntary’. Yep, it’s voluntary. No one will force you to go to the placements, and no one will stop your benefits if you turn them down. Except, y’know, that they CAN stop your benefits if they deem you to not be putting in the required effort, and turning down a placement is pretty much bang at the top of the list in terms of those criteria. Once again, a minor cosmetic shift that does nothing significant to change a fucked up system that benefits nobody other than big business. Disgusting.

  2. “Job seekers who have been unemployed for any length of time should be allowed to seek work placements in industries and professions that suit their career aspirations, ”
    If i owned a factory, and needed technicians or salespeople, i wouldn’t go through a job center and hope that i was thrown someone who knew what they were doing. That’s the kind of jobs i would offer applicants with a decent resume. The job centers would get the jobs that couldn’t get fucked up, like sweeping floors, or packing.

    We have something similar here, and although i have an education in electrics/electronics, i’ve been put to doing oddjobs with drug addicts in a rehabilitation program, and stacking shelves in a grocery store, but i was doing SOMETHING, and that made me look better in job applications than getting welfare for sitting on my ass. I did some of that too, and to most people, that crushes your self esteem. I was leeching taxmoney, and obviously wasn’t a useful member of society, since all i got was rejections on my job applications.

    Was i being exploited? Absolutely. But at least i was working for the money i got.

    • The system here isn’t as good as yours. All the jobs are retail and there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s been impeding regular employees getting overtime or people actually being hired.

      It would be far more effective if the people who know what experience they want seek it out themselves and only those who truly don’t want to help themselves are made to do set work experience placements.

    • TNJ: Your comment comes across as quite ignorant. Today’s unemployed aren’t all the uneducated, lazy stereotypes you seem to be implying. Skilled professionals with years of experience are out of work thanks to the recession, and graduates with spectacular degrees are struggling to get onto the job market at all, despite their best efforts.

      To quite the contrary, business managers are absolutely going to JobCentres to seek out staffing, because they know they’ll be able to find some exceptionally gifted, skilled and trained people who will essentially be obliged to work for free because of the Welfare-to-Work scheme. And all you can muster is: ‘Well yes, it’s exploitation, but at least the lazy buggers have to *do* something.’

      If you must insist on taking this naive attitude, try this. You say at least people have to work to get paid. Whose pocket does their pay come out of, and who does their work benefit? A night-shift shelf-stacker in Tesco on the Welfare-to-Work scheme saves one of the world’s biggest companies £7 per hour. But the cost of their benefits comes from the taxpayer. Big business is being allowed to thrive by unscrupulous means, and everyone else has to pick up the pieces.

      However you frame it, it’s awful bullshit that should be stopped, and it’s attitudes like yours, I’m afraid to say, that make people continue to think it’s okay.

  3. Well said Mrs. Emily, the situation is even worse where I live, so much so that it would be nice to even have the program that you mentioned here in your post; which would be better than what we have, which is nothing. 😀

    But They do not really seem to care, as you said, and the They where I live are probably similar to the They where you live, except even worse where I live. 😀

    Hopefully things will improve, but I do not have much hope that will happen; it has been years and things have either gotten worse or stayed the same, either of which is bad.

    Good luck trying to improve the world Mrs. Emily, I am about ready to quit. 😀

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