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I really think that someone needs to get their teeth into the DWP's jobsearch system. We all know how utterly crap it is, even Dispatches commented on it's ineptitude during their haphazard 'investigation' last Monday.

The DWP are forever telling us there are thousands of jobs each day. They refute the fact there are only a few hundred thousand vacancies. Unemployment isn't going to disappear. Not anymore. That ship has sailed. Now we are in the age of workfare. So when we hear there are loads of employers crying out for staff but they can only hire immigrants (how convenient) because school leavers are some how now all totally useless, we need to know what's really going on.

The DWP database is entirely haphazard. The text is often cut and pasted without a thought for proper formatting or an attempt to correct such errors. Most of the adverts never tell you what you need to know in terms of either: the actual wage (if it's the NMW then just say so), the hours or the location. A lot of jobs are clearly agency positions, including, sadly, zero hour contracts. These shouldn't even be considered.

The search facility is hopeless because proper categorisation and storage considerations are ignored. You can search by category, but you will then find a further ten sub categories, including stuff that has nothing to do with the basic job type (customer service is a parameter now so blurred it can mean anything from retail to sales to call centre to front of house). Consequently it's impossible to look properly without spending ages processing the adverts. A database should be a simple tool to search in this way and this one isnt'.

The Dispatches investigation had the head of JC+ trying and failing to find her own vacancies on her system. This must have been filmed several weeks ago at least, yet only the merest changes have been made to the system. I would like to look into this more, but I am unsure as to how. There must be a specific DWP department that sources (ie copies) these adverts from other websites as well as takes vacancies submitted externally. I would love to know what the general feeling among employers is regarding this system and how it's helped them - especially as the JC will push anyone and everyone to apply for a given vacancy.

Finally, and as a case in point, I looked on the Boots recruitment site yesterday. There were roughly 29 vacancies all of which were unsuitable because they were all only a few hours a week's worth of work. When I searched, as I do daily, the DWP site there was one of these vacancies among their daily output. Now, why only the one? Surely Boots would have submitted all their vacancies if they were going to bother. Obviously they didn't and someone at the DWP database HQ picked one and put it up. I simply cannot believe Boots would go to the trouble of contacting the DWP with a view to finding staff and then only submitting one job - or perhaps there are some weird limits on how many vacancies can be processed at once. Maybe the rest will filter through over the coming days. This is worth checking.


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