Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Vox and meetings

If you don't read the Daily Express (and why would you?) you'll have missed Emma Harrison's Jobs Tips. Not to worry, you can read them on A4e's website. Your confidence in A4e's competence may be shaken, however, by the howler in the introduction - "ensuring your poised and ready for an interview". Anyone applying for a job would be well advised to do better than that on their CV.

A growing part of A4e's business are the Vox centres, which give skills training to children and young people who have been excluded from schools. Emma is opening the 10th such centre today, at Sheffield Wednesday football club. She seems to think that it's "a fascinating new model"; the private company stands the cost of setting up the institution and the local authority buys places in it. It is not new at all. Private companies running special schools, for instance, operate on exactly the same model. It doesn't look as if any of these centres have been inspected by Ofsted yet. Emma says she's not concerned about public sector cuts, and she may well be justified.

One company which has decided that the Work Programme is too big a risk is Sarina Russo, an Australian outfit. Despite being put on the framework they've announced that they are not going to bid for any of the contracts as prime contractor. They say that they support the payment model, but they only want to be sub-contractors. That's going to leave only a handful of companies, like A4e and Serco, which are willing to take the financial risk.

Ex-A4e employee Hayley Taylor who, in a few short months, rose to "international careers expert" has had a meeting with Chris Grayling. She says, "it was good to hear that the issues the unemployed face are being addressed, although it remains to be seen what the outcome will be." One wonders whether Grayling is meeting any of the unemployed.


  1. Picking up on a few comments attributed to Ms Harrison:

    "The work we do is such good value it makes good sense for the public sector to use it," she says.
    Harrison added: "They consider it to be good value for money."
    Harrison said her latest scheme, Working Families Everywhere, was proving successful.

    Figures released about the "success" of the fND programme demonstrates very poor value for money. The results for others (Pathways anyone ?) are even worse. Certainly the NOA does not consider some of A4e's endeavours to be "value for money".

    To claim that her latest scheme is "proving successful" before it has even got off the ground beggers belief.

    "Talking about the family has really rung bells with people."

    It certainly has Ms Harrison - Alarm bells.

  2. "One wonders whether Grayling is meeting any of the unemployed."

    More Pressure

    "My Journey" at A4E ended a couple of weeks ago, and I have now moved onto "Stage 5" I have just returned from (yet another) in depth interview at The Jobcentre by a straight faced girl in her 20s ..... This lasted half an hour.

    I was yet again told the methods of finding work. Also I have to attend a Group Session interview to explain what Stage 5 means!!! It is already stated on a print out that she gave me!!!

    I expressed my feelings about A4E and that I am not being treated as an individual. Views too how I would tackle unemployment. No response. I told her too that I needed my computer skills upgraded if I am to stand a chance of employment. I mentioned that I would be receiving Pension Credit in a few months.

    The one question I should have asked ..... "What are you going to do for me?" .....

    They are relentless and I do wonder if really they are not in breach of Human Rights Laws on occasion .....

  3. I spent most of this afternoon on The Internet looking what exactly is this Stage 5 ..... in vain. It has not been defined anywhere as far as I can see.


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