Posts Tagged ‘JSA’

Jobseeker’s Allowance – Learning lessons?

August 27, 2009

This morning, I received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Apparently, they have commissioned a independent research agency IFF into Jobseekers Allowance. According to the letter, the aim of the study is to “talk to people about their experience of claimin Jobseeker’s Allowance and about whether they think Jobcentre Plus is meeting their needs”.

Perhaps the DWP have cottoned to the fact that Jobcentre Plus needs to be improved. Anyway, I am looking forward to my 15 minute telephone interview next week – possibly the only time I will be happy to talk to a market researcher.

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New Deal for Graduates

August 14, 2009

I met up with the consultant from Employer Engagement for a practice interview. She gave some positive feedback and I found out more about what was involved in New Deal for Graduates.

There is a work placement of up to 24 hours a week but, since I am already volunteering of my own accord, they have no problem with using that as the work placement. Once every two weeks, I meet up with the consultant and there are exercises to do at home. Essentially, this is something that I can live with – no major difference to my “job hunting”, continue volunteering and no pointless courses.

Oh, I also learnt that I receive Job Seekers Allowance as well as the Training Allowance. I clarified this with the personal adviser at the job centre. He confirmed that even though the main part of the programme is a work placement, it is still considered a course, so a training allowance is given as well.

Employer Engagement are based in Brighton, so when they come up to South London, they use an room in the offices of Career Development Group (CDG). So I have had the opportunity to observe another New Deal programme. This is what I saw – people coming and going as they please, people sitting round and chatting, very little job search and token classes. In fact, it seemed very much like a student common room than the offices of a “welfare to work” provider.

When I was doing the two week gateway course, A4E were a little bit more disciplined but is was effectively the same sort of atmosphere. Employer Engagement aside, if this is what welfare to work is all about, then the government really needs to reconsider its policy.

Back to the Job Centre

May 14, 2009

Having been unemployed and signing on for almost six months, I was put onto the New Deal programme, initially for a two week introductory course. I use the word “course” in the most liberal sense possibly – there was two days of CV writing and interview skills and the rest of time was spent on the computers, going through papers and looking for jobs. I ended up having an argument with my “Personal Adviser” (again used in the most liberal sense) when I wanted to some extra voluntary work.  All he could say was that those were the rules. This led me to rushing out and getting some casual work as a telephone researcher, so that I could have the flexibility to look for jobs and undertake voluntary work as well as have an income. Of course, after about three weeks, the work dried up. After about another month, I crawled back to the Job Centre, tail between my legs, to sign back on. And off course, I start again from where I left off – another pointless programme.