Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Guardian interview - a response

Perhaps even the Guardian editor realised that the recent interview with Emma Harrison was somewhat one-sided. Today the paper has published a response by Carol Ann Lintern, who says that she "recently retired after 23 years working on employment service programmes designed to assist long-term jobless clients back to work." It's an intelligent and well-informed piece. "Most long-term unemployed people I came across," she says, "were male, over 45, living alone, unskilled or semi-skilled, computer illiterate and with poor literacy. These men had often worked in manufacturing or some form of manual labour. As well as there being a lack of jobs, they were also up against school-leavers who were paid less and were probably in a better physical condition. Not only this, but effective job searches now require the ability to complete an application online. And the current job search programme provides tuition which is online only – useless to people who have little knowledge of computers." She contradicts Harrison's assertion that the box-ticking culture of the old contracts has gone. It has been replaced, she says, by a focus on getting the paperwork right for the Ofsted inspection.
I could quibble with some of what Lintern says, but on the whole it's an excellent antidote to Emma Harrison.

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