Thursday, 6 October 2011

The magical Work Programme

The unemployed have received the sort of publicity that's normal at party conference time. Particularly for the Conservatives they serve two purposes; they epitomise what's wrong with the country, and show how tough and effective the government intends to be. It's all nonsense, of course. An article on Left Foot Forward shows how it's all "recycled rhetoric". And the Guardian's cartoonist, Steve Bell, showed his opinion with a cartoon called Absence of Work. (It's a parody of a painting by Ford Madox Brown called Work, which can be seen here.) The cartoon on line has attracted well over 300 comments.

The solution, of course, is the Work Programme, which is being touted as "revolutionary". Grayling even called it a giant "employment dating sevice". But both the government and the providers must be nervous (not to mention the clients). There's no sign of a leap in the number of jobs available, and without job vacancies there can be no results and no profits. The government has staked everything on this model of contracting - payment by results - and will not want to row back on that. Another problem is highlighted in an article on People Management. People working for the providers could be expected to reshuffle to another provider if their employer loses out on the contract in that area. But more than half of those made redundant by the process have decided to get out of the sector altogether. That loss of experienced staff can only lead to a lack of appropriately qualified people advising clients.

Still, right-wing politicians and their friends in the media continue to believe that if you get tougher on the unemployed and reduce the minimum wage you will, magically, get them to work.


  1. According to the people at a4e .. there are many jobs out there. Forget the potential recession, forget businesses collapsing, forget the fact employers cant afford to hire people. At my mums work they are having to get rid of staff because there is no work coming in and this is happening all over the country. But a4e says there are plenty of jobs out there. I am applying for jobs i know i wont get because apparently a4e is contracted by the job centre to get a person to apply for 3 jobs per session. Thats in addition to the ones i normally do because there is no evidence i applied (even though i print off every copy of every email i send and make a note of where i am applying). And if you break that contract with the job centre you are sanctioned.

    So to recap the jobcentre tells a4e to get me to apply for 3 jobs a week, if i dont i could be penalised/sanctioned.

    There are limited amount of jobs

  2. At least your local A4E chapter(!) are seeing you. Down here on the South coast they're completely swamped. I haven't heard sight nor sound of them for over 6 weeks now. Email, calls all fall on deaf ears. The local job centre can't do anything because A4E are contracted out to deal effectively leaving me on my own. All the job centre can do is discreetly take notes (and uttering 'told you so') because they are receiving a lot of negative feedback from clients who are getting a shoddy deal from A4E. With over 20 months of applying for 498 roles and achieving 5 interviews I really am questioning my sanity. I'm not alone I expect, being an older chap I feel I've been put out to pasture. Naively I thought the Work Programme would give new hope. Sadly that is not the case and the future isn't looking at all brighter both from a country perspective and mine.

  3. I was told today by my adviser Don't apply for any job that's less than 6 months.. as it isn't worth it. Excuse me.. The adviser saying don't apply for jobs. Kev you can have my adviser;).. Please take her away.

  4. Anon: They probably said that because if it's less than six months they won't make any money from you!

  5. I know Teflon.. So I am going for as many part time as i can ;).. A little revenge.. get revenge on them by taking short term jobs ;).. For me a job that lasts a month would be good its experience and money.. shouldnt that be the goal of these training places. It is an interesting mindset they have..

  6. If you've actually been told that it isn't worth applying for temporary jobs you should ask him or her, "Are you telling me ....?" etc. and write it down. Obviously they would rather you get a full-time permanent job, as would you, but it seems unlikely that they would dissuade a client from any other kind of job.

  7. Historian - they do tell you not to apply for temp jobs. I was told that on ND.

    Now I'm back on the WP I'm still applying for anything I can find, it's experience and IMO it looks better to have done temp or p/t work rather than nothing. And, yes, here too there are plenty of jobs available if you speak to A4E, whereas if you speak to the JC then it's admitted that there aren't enough jobs.

  8. Well, my advisor at JCP has informed me that, if I'm still unemployed in two months, I will be referred to the new 'Community Action Programme'.

    Which is up to six months near full time work, although he doesn't yet know what kind of work it will be.
    Anyone else been told this? This work will be unpaid by the way.

    I should just add that I've just finished a year with a4e, and completed a 4 week work placement...

  9. I can't find anything national under "community action programme" - it was a scheme of the last government that was scrapped. There seem to be various local initiatives called this, apparently voluntary sector schemes. Google it with the area where you live.
    I wonder how many more people have been through all these schemes over months or years and still are no nearer getting paid work.

  10. Well I know about half the people who are on these schemes, Its the same faces, and 90% of the people who go there are male.

  11. What nature of work is the Community Action Programme? It sounds to me like community service which is a little unfair on those seeking work. I hope I've got this wrong.

  12. Kev B,
    I did google the Community Action Programme in my area but nothing comes up, also the only information the jobcentre will give me is that I will be required to work full-time, or near full-time, for up to six months.

    It does sound a lot like this work for your benefits scheme that was scrapped.

    I live in Norfolk, by the way.


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