Friday, 21 August 2009

Reviews of the programme

We saw how some of the newspapers and blogs publicised Benefit Busters before episode 1 was screened. Two more previews show what some of the press wanted us to think. The Mirror was sure that we'd all be furious at the life-styles of the lone parents (or single mums as they prefer to call them) and throw in the sentence "Controversially, it’s paying private firms like A4E, one of the largest welfare-reform companies in the world" which is being paid to get them back into work. The Doncaster Free Press makes the point that the programme was made a year ago and three of the women are still in work. We also learn what happened to Jacqueline - she's gone into care work.

After the programme went out, the Independent's review focussed on Hayley's personality and methods.
There's a comment after this article that I hope I will be forgiven for quoting in full: "I worked for A4E as a tutor for 5 years and its not at all how they portrayed it last night and my ex-colleagues agreed with me via text last night. Last night was totally set up and a total observers paradox. That didnt happen at all in every day life at A4E at all, they dont care for the 'clients' just for the payments the jobcentre paid them for each one that attended the programmes and got work as a result. They should look at the figures of people that are still in employment having attending an A4E training course and interview some 'real' clients about how they are treated at A4E. The Government needs to rethink how much money they plough into these private companies as its not the answer to getting people off benefits and into sustainable employment."
The Dublin Herald didn't like Hayley or her methods, or the slant of the programme.
The TV blog on the Orange site is not exactly thoughtful, but has attracted a lot of comments.
The Primetime blog manages to be insulting to everybody involved and gets details wrong.


  1. I read on another site tha Hayley no longer works for A4e. Apparently, she was on one of the Breakfast TV shows - not sure if it was today or yesterday.

  2. I've never been on an A4E course, But I was on a similar course run by another provider in the the north west of England.

    We were provided with a concessionary lunch provided from a local sandwich shop, Within a day or so we all started ordering the bigggest meals we could with all the trimmings and extras, This continued for 3 days. On the 4th day of the course some shirt and tie dude stormed the room mad as anything, He reprimanded us lowlifes for ordering too much food, telling us in future we could only order up to a certain amount. Looking back we were eating (literaly) into their profit margins.

    The shirt and tie dudes actions towards us opened my eyes towards how these people make money on the back of us.

  3. Anon: Nice to hear you we're eating into their profits. But do tell us the name of the provider? Certainly a lot better than A4e where apart from tea and coffee, they only offer free fruit.

  4. A4E are absolutely rubbish. I agree that they don't care about the cliens, even the support worker at Doncaster was a nasty piece of work. We were all totally disrespected and I can't wait for them to be took off these contracts. Why do you think theyre so desperate for you to do temporary jobs? So that they get a bonus for "finding" you a job, and then after a couple of weeks, you are unemplyed again, and have to be skint for the next couple of weeks until the job centre restart your claim. Then they get another bonus for having a new client all over again. One viscious cycle! One woman told me I was too pretty to work with her criminal clients in the progress2work bit! I mean omg! Some people can't help being naturally sexy, but working with criminals was what I wanted to do as a placement, and I wasn't liked one bit by her! For no reason! But I could go on and on but I won't! A4E is useless, and it doesn't improve people's life, it makes them worse! I don't even know why I was sent there because it was like sticking a rose amoungst the nettles. I felt sorry for the rest of the "clients", alot of them had personal issues that needed to be sorted out by a professional therapist or whatever, not an unqualified support worker who is only bothered about spilling the gossip on your personal life to her colleagues! OUT OF ORDER! Money money money....this country has grown more and more selfish and greedy for making a quick buck. Whatever happened to genuinely caring about people and not working on commission! Sorry...makes me so mad! BEST is a much better place to go because theyre not pushy and the staff are brilliant!

  5. I gree that A4e are rubbish, they see me about once a month and they dont even check to make sure im looking for jobs. Then totally ignore anything i say. I have been on alot of courses already from places such as TNG and the job centre, this in A4e's eyes maint i dont know anything about job analysing, interviews and such. I was then forced to go one a one day 1 to 1 who spent most of his time ignoring anything i said and talking to other people (he also then tried to tell me how I dont know anything about the area im trying to specialise in, and him having no clue of it.).
    The next week they then recommended that i go on another couse which 'would improve my chances of getting a job', so i go and it's the exact same thing (just other people there, and it's now over 2 days). Talking with the other people actually helped me more than the 'tutor', and they also said that he ignored them too...

  6. a4e is pointless i got reffered through the jobcentre and have been attending for 6 months now still no job or help finding one my adviser is useless doesnt seem to know what to say or do when i go i dont get what im suposed to do when i go.its just the same as signing on only even more of a waste of time the jobcentre are more helpfull in finding you a job than a4e


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