The first came in an email from a contact. He is not with A4e, and I won't mention the provider. He has come up against the generic CV, imposed on him by his "adviser". Given his qualifications and experience the client is far better qualified to design a document than this employee, but the company has given out a template and has to stick to it. The client is afraid that it will damage his prospects of getting a job. Of course, when he sends out applications off his own bat he can enclose his own CV. But the problem now is that the companies appear to be sending out CVs to employers without the knowledge or consent of the clients. And we know that these generic CVs end up in the bin.
That leads me to an article I found on the People Management website. It starts by saying that it's too early to judge the success of the Work Programme. But it goes on to describe what it sees as a success story. The provider is Ingeus. They have a contract with TNT Post, which has taken on 90 staff through the WP. The TNT chap says, "We've found that they have developed a work ethic because they have attended the welfare-to-work courses to get them to a job-ready state.” Think about what that implies. They didn't have a "work ethic" before. It gets worse. "Development continues once they are in post because the Ingeus 'work adviser' – who sits within TNT’s recruitment team – maintains the personal relationship. 'She supports each person throughout their training and continues to have one-to-ones with them once they have got the job. It’s like a life-coaching service for that person.'"
What could possibly be wrong with that? People who didn't have a job now have one. The company which will make money by keeping them in work is on hand to support them. So why am I uneasy? Ingeus isn't the only company to have contracts of this kind with employers. So it depends which provider you're sent to what job opportunities you'll get. And the amount of control you can exercise over your life shrinks inexorably. You would be right to feel that you're just a commodity, to be bought and sold.