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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Doing My Research

In my previous post i mentioned i had worked for a local unemployment charity, helping some of the most impoverished and disadvantaged people in my local area. A portion of my clients were long-term unemployed and had seemingly just given up and consigned themselves to a life on benefits. The bitterness toward the authorities involved with benefits and the whole jobs market as a whole was really discouraging.

The plight of some of these people, who had just given up all hope really affected me, so  myself and my colleagues vowed to do our best for them and to help them develop and grow. Working with our clients, we offered a system of support that gave the clients confidence and also provided a place for these people to come and relax, should they feel things were getting on top of them. Even these small gestures of support and encouragement we gave were rewarded by clients beginning to actively seek employment by their own means and showing their new-found confidence.

Obviously i would like to think that my WP Prime that i’ve been refered to will handle things in much the same way, providing a network of support and encouragement and at this stage, for me at least, time will tell. According to the glossy pamphlet i received at the job centre and judging from the flashy website, such provisions are indeed in place and are extremely successful.

Though it doesn’t take much digging to discover a whole heap of unhappy WP “Customers” and even Employee’s venting their frustrations via message boards and social networks. My Prime in particular seems to get mentioned a disproportionate amount of times than the others.

As ever, you always take opinions on the internet with a pinch of salt, surely it can’t be that bad, but then again, even employee’s are complaining, not just about their “Customers” but about the high staff turn-around, how some “Customers” are onto their fourth advisor.

In the same line, since the Work Programme was introduced, organisations have sprung up, fighting the injustices of the WP and all associated changed brought in with the reform of the Benefits system, i’ll link to them below.

http://www.workprogramme.org.uk – Archived website, relaunching soon. Providing an open forum for Customers and Employee’s of the Work Programme and also giving support to people who feel they have been wronged.

http://www.consent.me.uk – Dedicated to letting people know their rights in regard to Data Protection and how the Primes acquire and handle such information. Also provides information and assists with unfair and illegal benefit sanctions from all aspects of the benefit reform.

http://www.boycottworkfare.org – Focused on abolishing the Mandatory Work Activity and boycotting companies and organisations who benefit from the MWA “Volunteers”. Focus particularly on the Cait Reilly story as she seeks a Judicial Review of the MWA scheme.

http://www.indusdelta.co.uk – Welfare to Work Industry Community, the majority of WP staff comment on these message boards and makes for interesting reading.

There are other sites such as LinkedIn where discussions take place about the WP.

Having read the majority of threads on all of these sites this past week, the common theme is people seem unhappy with the WP, Employee’s and Customers commenting on lack of structure, support, facilities and money (£5 billion going where exactly then?).

I’m making sure i go into this with my eyes wide open. Anyone with any advice or guidance on how to handle this, your comments would be greatly appreciated.

A

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Work Programme

 

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A Bit of Background

It seems only fair that i give a bit of background into my circumstances before i start ranting and raving or singing and praising about my time on the Work Programme as i understand everyone’s circumstances are different in regards to this scheme and some things discussed may have little relevance to some or a lot to others.

I go by the name of Alex, i’m twenty two and have been unemployed for nine months, i have no dependents and i do not have any physical or mental difficulties, i am as they say, Job Ready.

Previously i was working as a Web Designer / Employability Support Worker within a local unemployment charity, however, this was through the Future Jobs Fund and once my 6 months was up, the charity had not been able to secure funding to keep my role within the organisation, i did however stay on as a volunteer working in a reduced role and signed up for Job Seekers Allowance two weeks after my contract had ended.

I have claimed JSA in the past and my experiences back then were, for want of a better word, dismal. Constantly talked down to, rushed in to sign and claim (Advisors only had four minutes of time allocated for each client, mercifully this has been boosted to seven minutes recently) and little to no assistance was given if i had found a job i was interested in.

This time round however, i found the Jobcentre helpful and understanding of my circumstances and i’m thankful to my advisors who encouraged and supported me through this turbulent time, both personally and on a wider, national scale.

I have been putting effort into my job searches and applications and out of the near 200 applied for, not one has resulted in an interview or even a call back.

I have only just been referred to the Work Programme and have yet to attend my first appointment.

With this Blog, i do not intend to use it as a wailing wall, bashing the WP or the Government left right and centre, i want to use it to share my experiences, delights and frustrations whilst on the Work Programme. I am lucky in a sense that i have just a marginal bit more insight into the world of Employability and i hope to use this to my best advantage as this field of interest is one i also wish to make my Career out of.

**UPDATE**

The initial contact stages with my WP Prime have not gone as smoothly as hoped. I was told by my JCP Advisor to expect a call about my first appointment and then a letter. The call came the next day, yet nothing was said. After answering and saying “Hello” to what sounded like an office environment for around thirty seconds, i got no response and just as i hung up, i hear “Hello Mr-“. I immediately rang back, however no one was available to take my call. Hopefully i will receive a call today about this appointment, i’m worried already, what if the mail doesn’t come and i miss the appointment?

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Work Programme

 

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