Friday, 23 September 2011

More stuff in more places

A "national celebration of enterprise" has been held in Sheffield, with Peter Jones of "Dragons' Den" as the chief attraction. It's a big annual event apparently. There were government ministers there and - you guessed it - A4e's Emma Harrison, who "was introduced by Sheffield MP David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary". She "told the audience about her schooldays as 'the naughty girl' who failed her A-levels She set an ambition to become the world’s largest organisation that improves people’s lives with a business plan focusing on scope and geography – or 'more stuff in more places'. This year, her company is set to turn over £250m." (Yorkshire Post) I'm sure it was inspiring.

Most of the Work Programme prime contractors have, in the past, been content to let A4e do all the publicity-seeking. But it's a competitive business, and some of them are now honing their own PR. Ingeus (Australian) isn't shy. And now we have Maximus (American) putting out PR stuff about how they got the best results in Flexible New Deal. They were "top-ranked provider" - but nowhere in the piece are there any figures. I suspect that the figures for FND were so bad all round that no one wants to boast about them.

Emma Harrison once said that she had wanted to convert A4e into a mutual organisation but had found that the obstacles were too great. Perhaps she should talk to the people from Prospects, which has been doing welfare-to-work and similar stuff for 16 years and now has a WP contract. It started out as a company limited by guarantee (no shareholders) and has now turned itself into an employee-owned mutual.

In the run-up to the WP contracts, CDG was arguing, and organising conferences, for an army of volunteers to mentor the unemployed. It's now a sub-contractor of Maximus in West London, and is advertising for a "volunteer co-ordinator". It will be interesting to see how volunteers will be enticed to help make profits for business.


  1. Good to see David Blunkett earning his 30k consultancy fee from A4e by introducing his paymaster Emma Harrison. I guess when honest Dave went to promote a4e in Australia he told how a4e committed fraud against the British Government. He would be far too honest to keep that quiet surely.

    I'm a bit surprised Peter Jones took part. He would be far better off staying away from controversy as it has a habit of rubbing off onto others. Stick with the dragons Peter, they are far more trustworthy.

  2. If you read the Yorkshire Post article, Rob, you'll agree that Peter Jones has done a great deal to foster enterprise among young people, and he was the real attraction, not Harrison. We shouldn't judge the whole event by one person.

  3. I can see Emma Harrison has re edited her past.. apparently the fact her father set up a4e first, meant nothing, then she got an engineering degree, why did she do that degree then..

    "When Emma Harrison's father left her to run his small training business, he had no idea he was launching one of the UK's most formidable women entrepreneurs. Her big break came when her father asked her to join his small industrial training business "you come on board and I'll teach you everything you need to know about running a business in 18 months." Emma only got two weeks of the promised 18 months training. "You seem to have got the hang of it," he said, and moved to Germany"

  4. Attended a4e today. They have now decided to apply for jobs on my behalf that i wouldn't normally apply for on my own and have no experience of. Have to allow this or i will be sanctioned.
    Under these circumstances how is someone supposed to show enthusiasm about the job when it comes to the interview.
    How are you supposed to answer questions like :
    Why did you apply for this job?
    What interests you about the position?
    What skills could you bring to the company? etc

    Is anyone else in this position.

    a4e have always said to be honest so would i be sanctioned if i was honest at the interview.

    Its not that i am lazy but i think i should be able to apply for my own jobs, that i think i am suitable for.

  5. In what sense are they applying for jobs on your behalf? Filling in application forms? Sending out your CV with a covering letter?
    If you really are unsuitable for the job you will be unlikely to be offered an interview. And that means they are just going through the motions, and the only loser is the employer who gets pointless applications. But look on the bright side. If you do get an interview it's because they think you might be suitable, and you can swat up on the company and show them you could do the job.

  6. I'm with Maximus..if i'm lucky they will see me once every six weeks for a couple of minutes..i've been offered 3 jobs with a company on the understanding that i complete a 3 week course first (funded by myself) i asked Maximus about funding only to be told that "we don't do that", i asked if they could help me secure funding,and again the reply was "we don't do that" What do they do? at the moment they just check my jobsearch and send me off, they offer no help whatsoever....


Keep it clean, please. No abusive comments will be approved, so don't indulge in insults. If you wish to contact me, post a comment beginning with "not for publication".