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Absolute Zero

Not our lovely Spring weather, although that isn't far off as I sit in a cold room typing this, but the implication of this, from our lord and master, Goonface Grayling. 

The implication of this would be that voluntary work experience is worth rolling out to everyone. But then wouldn't it cancel itself out? If everyone was made to work for 5 months unpaid, in order to get a 16% greater chance of finding work, surely the end result would be no one would get a benefit? These schemes do not create jobs, so where is the benefit? 

This is the case for any such statistic the DWP pulls out of its hat regarding workfare, or the Work Programme, or 'voluntary' work experience, and not just for the youth. If my chances of finding work are improved because my provider can 'magic up' a good cv then that implies that the WP can do this for everyone, which again cancels itself out. So either these sorts of statistics in fact relate to competition within the system (and the 'customer' has to hope he gets sent to the better provider - remember he has no say in the matter), or they are bullshit extrapolated desperately and spuriously to prove this scheme isn't a waste of time and taxes.

All the reports that get published that relate to the success of the WP always point to someone who found a job within a couple of months/few weeks, with the catalyst being their CV. "So and so helped me improve my cv," is what you will read. It's too simplistic to even count - and that's before considering that these might be jobs that the customer was always going to get regardless or that, statistically, there will always be some, few, that can benefit from this. The point of course is how few: it's clear that basing a policy on that few is disingenuous because it skews the perception to something that is clearly not reality. There aren't the jobs available, so if more people have their cv's polished or work for free in the dungeons of big business all that does is cancel itself out. In fact, simply giving the customer a job to apply for, without doing anything else (such as providing training, counselling, help of whatever kind...) is going to be the same: what if I was to ask my provider, upon receiving a mandatory application, "how many other people have you directed to apply for this job?"

The competition for jobs will remain, and it isn't as if these providers are even able (in some cases, in others they aren't willing) to invest in improving or diversifying skills and ability.


  1. There are too many questions about that story. First where did they ask these people Is it in the south, south east, or North east. Different regions have different problems. And check the date.. "Researchers looked at what happened to young people who started a work experience placement between January and May 2011" 4 Months in the previous scheme period. Then you have to ask Is it a TRUE voluntary scheme rather than the Enforced voluntary people are forced on. AND.. its a 16% rise from what to what.. is it 16% of 3490, about 450 people.. which means about 3000 didnt.. (its early so maths is gone for the moment)

    1. WP provision isn't based on anything logical or sensible. It's like feeding lions by just randomly throwing slabs of meat around without thought for whether all the animals get a meal. There are two primes within spitting distance of each other here, but here isn't local to me and none of them offer provision beyond the town in question. People in nearby rural pklaces, like me, lose out, even though there are facilities. It's perfectly clear that, at all levels, this scheme wasn' thought out at all. It's just about making money. This scheme could have been dreamed up by the teams on the Apprentice as one of their hair brained tasks.

  2. Is it just me or is there a whiff of desperation about the DWP article?

    1. a 16% improvement in the chances after 5 months of unpaid work is hardly something to boast.

      What i suspect they did was compare 500 people on this scheme and 500 people not and decided that because 80 more people got employed (and that's the best case scenario, it might mean simply no longer on the claimant count) from the former found work it must be a success. It proves nothing: this is the government's flagship scheme and it can't possibly work within the system as it stands, mever mind the current economic mess.

  3. A whiff.. it smells like a 3 week old fish left out in the sun with a blue cheese sauce..

  4. Thanks for these posts Ghost Whistler - I wish I was in a position to do anything about the issues you highlight.

    Things look like they have changed little in the world of dole. Back in the 90's I attended a Job Club, where (surprise surprise), all the people who would have got a job without a Job Club got one anyway, whilst the others who wouldn't have got one anyway (surprise surprise), didn't.

    Surely not (gasp) a hidden detention centre function going on there?

    1. Perhaps, but I don't even think it's that considered. I think it's just about profit. That's it. They offer as little as possible, selling as much of the service as they can to whoever is beneath them on the food chain.

      I've been to one of thos job clubs, back in the day, and I remember having to discuss 'positive sounding words'. It was like sesame street.

      Thanks for the comments.

  5. "It's not you that's been made redundant, it's the job that was made redundant!" - that was the buzz phrase from the guy running the Restart course I was made to go on. An early example of "positive" thinking for the poor.

    "At least it's got you out of bed in the morning . . . " was one of this guy's other pearls of wisdom.

    Yawn, The League of Gentlemen's Pauline and her pens thing is as appropriate a skit as ever.

    Tell you what (dunno if this is still the case), the law states (or stated then) that for the first few months the first entry of occupation on the Jobseeker's Agreement is entirely the claimant's own choice. There was something of a local competition back then to see how good a job title you could get on your Jobseeker's Agreement. The hands down winner in our town was "Prophet".

    Zeppelin Builder might be worth a try.

    It was also rumoured that someone Up North got on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme as a Court Jester.

    1. There are plenty of court jesters already, most of them are running the DWP.


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