Having been unemployed for 6 months the DWP decided it was time for me to go onto the “New Deal” which claims:
[T]o help you get a job if you are out of work. It will give you the chance to train, learn and do work experience so that you:
can become more confident
get new skills
can be worth more to people looking for staff
can find and stay in work
Well that sounds all lovely now doesn’t it?
No it doesn’t.
Your voyage on new deal is broken into steps, step one is a meeting with your new deal advisor who is different from the job centre advisor you are given on your 13 week interview. Why they think this is smart is beyond me. Your old advisor knew who you were, was helping you find employment and in my case was a massive help even after she admitted there was very little the DWP could do for me.
However your new deal advisor will not be like that. As far as they are concerned you’re simply a boil that needs popping, mine was a complete numpty and our conversation went like:
NDA: Oh finally made it did we
Me: I’m early
NDA: Not by my watch
Me: well your watch is clearly wrong. Unless every watch in the universe is wrong.
NDA: Well you’ve been out of work for 6 months, why is that?
Me: Well the economy is in a mess and there are no jobs in the NE
NDA: I think it’s because of something you’re doing but you’re now on new deal and there is a 2 week course you must go to that is compulsory they’ll walk you through how to do your CV..
Me: I saw someone yesterday over that
NDA and tell you how to write letters
Me: I know how to do that and have certificates in it
*Note while this was said he never stopped rattling off a list of what I had to do*
NDA: Is that something you’re interested in?
Me: Well to be honest:-
NDA:(cuts off) Well you have no choice it’s compulsory
This pretty much set the tone for the worst hour of my life in which he rewrote my JSA Agreement ignoring everything I said and misspelling various words including “commute” “applicant” oh and my frigging name.
Next came what would happen after this 2 week course I apparently had a choice in attending but didn’t. He put me on an Administration course which quote
“Teaches you how to use a computer for various administration tasks including word processing, email sending and the use of spreadsheets”
Now I have a GNVQ, Btec National Award and a Btec National certificate in IT with the grade Merit,Merit. You don’t get that by not knowing how to use a computer. I mentioned to him I liked the idea of the Teaching Adults in Lifelong learning which is a prep course for the PGCE with a focus on Further Education and Higher Education (So College/Uni teachers) Now that IS something I want to do in the future. However on asking about it he point blank ignored me and put me on the Admin course while Saying “I’ll let you decide”
I also mentioned the Job fair today with the Job Centre and was told rather coldly “You’re not going to it you’re unsuitable” Well guess what came through the door not long after that exchange…
Yup the invite to the job fair.
The final straw was when I was telling him I cant do the course because I had only 2 weeks to get my stuff packed and move out into either a new place or back home for a month. His reply was “Not my problem, try Gentoo” By now I had enough and was ready to punch him. ( a rare feat that only Alex from Currys had achieved prior) When I mentioned about the Physics degree I could tell he was about to turn around and say I cant do it, however seeing the look on my face he thought it best to say nothing than have to go for a bootectomy from the anus.
So the “Advisor” dealt with it was now time to go to this 2 weeks course.
The Gateway to work courses are contracted out to various companies for example A4e have Newcastle and “Working links” has Sunderland. The first thing they tell you is that it is NOT the job centre they’re right. The first day was purely administration, filling out the forms etc.
The second day was how to write a letter and yes it was worse than I imagined 10 minutes on how to write the address at the top alone. Then it was to the “IT” rooms. A room with ~11 computers of which 3 were fully working (that is internet and Printer access) 3 had access to the internet only and the other 5 you couldn’t get on because the password screen was on and they didn’t know it. There were also the job listings from the dam job centre and the job paper that was out of date. How they expect you to search for jobs with that poor excuse of a room is a laugh so needless to say after 2 days of been belittled and treat like a child I had enough. The Other half has a job coming up and we’d be intelligible to claim anything and the working links is a hindrance not a help so tomorrow we’re cancelling our claim.
It’s sad to think of the number of people who are going to have to endure that place many of whom already knew everything and saw it as a waste of time taking up space that could best be filled by someone who genuinely needed the spot, needless to say there is going to be a letter written to Sunderland’s MP raising the concern I have that are not just limited to the ones listed above. It is genuinely a vicious circle on that course. They expect you to find work while on it yet lack the basic infrastructure to do it.