Monday, 8 March 2010

Emma Harrison on Working Lunch

Emma Harrison was on BBC2's "Working Lunch" today. The theme initially was unemployment among older people. There was a brief interview with Ian Mulheirn of the Social Market Foundation about why older people need more help to get back into work. Why do they stay out of work longer, while their skills and experience are wasted? Mulheirn said that they needed more skills training and "employment schemes" (I think he meant work placements). Then Emma was introduced. She agreed with Mulheirn, but said that we need practical answers. One of her "top tips", she said, was that older people should not just submit CVs, but go out and knock on doors and meet people. Older people have wisdom and are fantastic at making good decisions. But everyone is an individual, and she believes everyone should have a personal programme.
The main interview was at the end of the programme. There was the usual version of Mrs Harrison's history. She said that when the steel works was closing down she knew that the workers, her "mates", needed re-training very quickly. The company grew slowly, then she realised that she wanted to "improve people's lives" and it took off from there into an international business. There was no mention of the privatisation of New Deal as the spur to the company's growth. Emma said that she had walked out of her father's business, and it was the best thing she ever did, because you can employ professional people. There was then a clip from the "Famous, Rich and Jobless" programme in which Larry Lamb is arguing furiously with Emma. It showed, she said, that after only 12 hours he had adopted the typical attitudes of the unemployed of finding reasons why they couldn't look for work. An email to the programme told us that managers won't employ people older than themselves. But Emma rubbished that. There was a very tentative raising of the issue of A4e's financial model, of payment by outcomes. But there were absolutely no hard questions. It looks very much as if the BBC has decided that Emma Harrison is a good thing and will continue to give her lots of free publicity.


  1. I just watched it on IPlayer. Emma Harrison seemed to be under the impression that older people looking for work would submit a CV with their age on. Knowing how ageist the UK job market is I doubt many older people have their age on it. I certainly don't

  2. you mean the real proper reasons emma?

    like travel being hard for some jobs, etc.. perhaps larry has seen the truth that emma doesnt want too

  3. 'An email to the programme told us that managers won't employ people younger than themselves'

    - should this be 'older than themselves'?

  4. You're quite right. I'll edit it.


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