For your perusal…New Deal For Graduates

August 11, 2009

Hey! I have talked about New Deal for Graduates (or New Deal for Professionals and Managers to give it its proper title) and I thought you might be interested to actually see the workbook which claimants are supposed to complete within the 13 weeks. (Apologies for some of the answers being completed.)

There are almost 100 pages but it would great if you could provide any feedback about the workbook.


Just the tip of the iceberg…

August 10, 2009

And I got into an argument with A4E for the sheer pointlessness of their two week gateway course and their refusal to allow me to do extra volunteering. That’s nothing compared to internet censorship, benefit fraud and profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Lowsaltfoods supports the battle against A4E.

Benefit Busters

August 8, 2009

Word up! There’s a documentary series starting Channel 4 on 20 August about the government’s welfare to work programme, featuring everyone’s favourite New Deal provider Action for Employment.

A word from my MP

August 5, 2009

Back in March, when I first encountered problems with the Job Centre Plus, I wrote to my MP. He wrote to the then DWP minister Tony McNulty and received what turned out to be a standard reply. I immediately wrote back to my MP in June and below is an extract from his reply.

“I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues believe that Job Centre Plus staff should be empowered to help customers as and when they need it, not according to a centrally determined timetable or procedure. The process by which job seekers are categorised results in many receiving the kind of inappropriate training you have described to me. In brief, the program is inflexible and quite ineffective.

“You clearly demonstrate that, despite Tony McNulty’s protestations to the contrary, the service you have received from Job Centre Plus has not been tailored to your needs. Requiring that you attend courses irrelevant to your job search in lieu of pursuing useful volunteer opportunity seems to run counter to the stated objectives of the New Deal program. I have written to Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, raising this point with her, and inquiring how Job Centre Plus intends to better tailor its services to individual needs, especially the needs of professionals like you.”

Part of me is a bit worried because since I wrote to my MP, I have been made aware of no less than four programmes aimed at professionals. Nevertheless, my original criticisms do still apply.

Is this the Holy Grail of JSA?

August 5, 2009

I finally had my initial assessment with Employer Engagement regarding a place on the New Deal for Professionals programme. The consultant/adviser that I met was very understanding and encouraging. She clearly knew what she was doing and knew the right questions to ask. The great thing about this particular programme is that it involves a 13 week work placement, minimum of a couple of days per week. It’s up to me to provide them with a list of small to medium sized companies for whom I would be interested in working. They then contact the companies and to secure a placement. Even better, I can save time by using the voluntary work that I am currently doing as the “work placement”. In other words, for 13 weeks or so, the Job Centre Plus Service is precisely tailored to my needs.

Going through the motions

July 31, 2009

Since accepting an offer to do a PhD this autumn, my relationship with job hunting has changed. No longer am I motivated to invest all my time in this relationship with a view to getting something out of it. And yet, it is difficult to let go of the guilt associated with not job hunting after ten months or so of committment. Any attention I go give to this relationshup is simply going through the motions, that it is something I ought to be doing without really knowing why.  This isn’t helped by continuing to claim Job Seekers Allowance until the start of the PhD. I have to show the government that I am looking for work when in a couple of months I know I will be signing off anyway.

I do not have swine flu

July 28, 2009

So, it’s just past four o’clock in the morning. I woke up earlier than expected and could not get back to sleep, so I did the first thing to spring to mind. Check out the UK’s National Pandemic Fluline. For a government website, it is amazingly easy to use.

It comprises an online assessment of presenting symptoms and existing health conditions. Each question is clearly worded. Also, any concerns about hyperchondriacs or overanxioous parents stockpiling on Tamiflu or Rolenza have, in my opinion, seem to have been dealt with – users of the service are asked to provide name, date of birth and address of the patient.

The service is aimed at people who are loooking after those who actually appear to present with flu like symptons. However, I would certainly recommend it as a tool of reassurance for those who just want to eliminate themselves – although based on the design of the site, if you can use the site, you are unlikely to be suffering from swine flu (that is not a diagnosis).


July 24, 2009

I haven’t found a job yet but I have finally received an offer to do a PhD, starting this autumn. Looks like I am going back to school.

Give me a break!

July 23, 2009

Despite my positive posts about Job Centre Plus lately, it is still fundamentally inflexible. I was suppose to have an “initial assessment” for the Graduate New Deal programme yesterday but had to reschedule due to a job interview (yeah, me). Apparently, Employer Engagement, the course provider, only hold initial assessments every two weeks. That’s not a problem. But today I have been advised by my “personal adviser” at the Job Centre Plus that I am running out of time before I have to be booked onto a New Deal 13-week course. If I haven’t been booked onto the Graduate New Deal course by the deadline, I will be booked onto the next New Deal course, regardless of its suitability. Come on, give me a break! It’s not like I am resisting New Deal. I have accepted that it is something I have to do and both my personal adviser and myself agree that Graduate New Deal is the best option. So, if I am lucky enough to get another job interview which clashes with my “initial assessment”, and as a result, have not been booked onto the programme, is it just tough shit?

Something for Jobseeking professionals

July 22, 2009

Those of you you have visited this site before will know that I have had major issues with Job Centre Plus, namely that they do not serve jobseekers from professional or middle class backgrounds. Well, in the space of the last two weeks, I have discovered four different initiatives that are aimed at white collar workers.

Employer Engagement are running New Deal for Graduates (or New Deal for Professionals and Management, as my personal adviser at the job centre called it). It’s only available after you have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance for six months and have completed the two week New Deal Gateway course. It’s a combination of job hunting skills and a 13 week work placement from which there is a 60-80% chance of job.

I picked up a leaflet at my local job centre for a programme run by GR Law for lawyers and legal staff, finance staff, professional services support staff, job seekers looking for work internationally and/or salary earners of £25K to £300K. It’s not advertised on the GR Law website, so I assume it’s by referral by Job Centre Plus.

I also picked up a leaflet in my local job centre for Response to Redundancy. A google search reveals quite a few entries so I think it is a larger project. Also, you can contact them directly without referral from Job Centre Plus.

Finally, there some useful online career tools available from Careerplan4me (yes, I know catchy URL). I clicked on a banner advert and was taken to a website, where I requested details online. I then received a letter to be shown to my Jobcentre adviser, who would then fill in a form and register you so that you can access for free. I have not proceeded with this service, so I don’t know what tools are available.