Saturday, 7 June 2014

Question on A4e

Just a quick post on a discussion I came across on a business forum website.  It's here.

An employer looking for two part-timers in his warehouse has an offer from A4e.  If he takes people aged 18-24 from the WP (he doesn't say that, but it's what it looks like), employs them for 16 hours a week minimum and keeps them in work for 26 weeks, A4e will pay him £1,100 each.  He regards this as a government subsidy.  The sad thing is that he's reluctant because of the likely quality of the people he will get who have "possibly never had a job in their lives".
Another person explains the scheme but complains about "appallingly slow administration".  He also raises the "downside" that someone who is long term unemployed "may find work an unusual commitment".  Someone else says that they looked at the scheme but were put off by the paperwork.  He also says that "the quality and commitment of some of the 'applicants' was not what we wanted to be associated with."  The last comment simply says that you can't trust A4e.

So A4e's reputation is well and truly tainted, which is an impediment to them helping their clients.  But worse is the attitude of employers, occasionally justified, that the long-term unemployed are not worth the risk.


  1. Sick of the Work Programme7 June 2014 at 02:17

    How dare they?! Their attitudes towards people who are long-term unemployed reek of disgusting prejudice. It probably wouldn't occur to them that people who are long-term unemployed are in that position for all kinds of reasons, not because they have simply decided that they don't want to work. I am a qualified teacher who became unemployed as a direct result of nepotism in schools. I have probably achieved a higher level of qualification than most of the staff who work at A4e, as well as the small-minded 'businessmen' featured in that conversation.

    1. So true,

      I was unemployed for nearly 6 years, A4E didn't do jack or squat to help me find work, but they sure as hell took credit when I found work in my own time without the benefit of their 'input'.

      The work I'm in now may be zero hours but I've had various departments fighting over who gets me next so I'd consider it justification that I'm a decent worker at the very least.

      The attitude of some employers is appalling in that they won't even consider giving people a chance. My current employers did with me and it's got me a decent job and them someone to do the work.

  2. If they are reluctant to take on the group of people who are the easiest to employ, what of the hardest group - ESA? Those who have completed MWA should be offered the work too.

  3. "But worse is the attitude of employers, occasionally justified, that the long-term unemployed are not worth the risk." Which, aside form the obvious lack of jobs, is why the "welfare to work" approach to unemployment that we're all familiar with just doesn't do the trick, why it never has worked and never will work.

    Myself, I've always thought that if the employers are getting free advertising of their vacancies courtesy of the jobcentres, then the jobcentres should be able to slot suitable people into those jobs based on need and ability to do that job - the prejudices of the employers about length of time unemployed, gender, race, long hair etc etc etc shouldn't come into it. If the bosses don't like that then they don't get Government-subsidised advertising at the jobcentre, though they are of course perfectly free to pay for an advert in the local paper - which wouldn't do struggling local papers any harm either.

  4. "But worse is the attitude of employers, occasionally justified, that the long-term unemployed are not worth the risk"

    Actually, sadly I think it's to be expected. The employers read the papers, watch the TV, what do they see? Long term unemployed are scroungers, shirkers etc, and so understandably they don't want these people dragging their businesses down. It's a vicious circle, the more the government says the unemployed are lazy, the more the employers believe them and so the harder it is to find a job.

  5. Getting the money from the provider isn't particularly burdensome. Based on past experience, making it simple was a priority. Unless they're expecting simply to be given a brown envelope full of notes on the basis of a nod, the point about it being a difficult or time consuming process is open to challenge.

    More generally with regard to employers, it's pretty clear that many of them no longer see themselves as corporate citizens who, by and large, depend on a functioning economy and so on to be viable. They expect everything handed to them on a plate - exemptions from the minimum wage to provide 'apprenticeships' that are often funded to an extent by the government, applicants who are not only job ready but arrive with the particular skills required in their workplace and have all come to depend on low-paid jobs being significantly subsidised, again by the state. The last is pretty inevitable and justifiable seen from the perspective of an individual company, but the rest is symptomatic of a culture which has lost any sense of collectivity and is increasingly attuned to the needs of businesses and individuals preying on one another like The Apprentice writ large.

    As for A4e, from my experience they're no worse than most of their peers and are better than some. Their biggest mistake was adopting the cutesy corporate personality and having a highly visible, attention-craving majority shareholder and (at the time) chair. It made them an easy target in a relatively faceless market, at least until the behaviour of a couple of bigger outsourcing players started getting the attention it had long merited.

  6. Attended A4e. I took 2 work related calls which caused me to be late for my appointment, one for an interview and refused me my £4 fare for being 3 minutes late over the allotted time. I can ill afford to lose £4. They had overbooked the computers. They have seen me 3 times in 6 months, far less than the allotted minimum 1 to 1 time. I will be writing to A4e CEO and the minister Esther/IDS as well as Rachel Reeves/Stephen Timms.


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