Threatened when we complained the “work skills” course was useless: more stories from the jobcentre

Update 19 November:

Talked to the DWP and asked for responses to these questions:

– How charging for these courses works
– The fees that providers charge for these courses
– What sort of quality control the DWP have in place for these courses
– Whether or not attendance on these courses compulsory for people who are claiming JSA and if the DWP instructs jobcentres to sanction people who refuse to attend a course (certainly people are sanctioned for not attending)
– What sort of reporting the DWP does on course attendance, quality, cost and outcomes.

That was on Monday. So far – nothing. Even reminders have been ignored. So – will ring again.

You can see from the comments people have left on this article how ridiculous these courses really are. You also know that someone is making plenty of money out of them.


Original post:

One I’ve been thinking about for a while:

Another phenomenon worth touching on when we’re talking about pointless jobsearch activity is the so-called “work skills” courses that JSA claimants are sent on by jobcentres. These are the courses that are provided, if that’s the word, by the likes of Reed, A4e and other of the usual suspects. People must attend these courses if the jobcentre says so. It’ll be news to nobody that people are told they’ll be sanctioned if they say No, and are indeed sanctioned if they say No. You can see that in the transcripts below. (I’m wondering if these courses ARE actually mandatory – or if people can say No and are just told they can’t, as they are told with everything else).

These courses have intrigued me for a while, because from the start, people have told me that so many of the courses are utterly meaningless. One man at the Kilburn jobcentre told me earlier this year that while he was sorting out a support worker job and waiting for CRB checks to come through, he was sent on a course where he was taught to tear up paper for teamwork purposes. “They sent me on this stupid course at Wembley. It was just a two week thing – a waste of time. They teach you how to stick a piece of paper back together as a teamwork thing. They said I’d get certificates for it. I said “there’s no way I’m putting that on my CV. You’re having a laugh.”

I started thinking about this again recently, because I’ve noticed that the JSA claimants I’m speaking with each week at jobcentres are getting angrier and angrier at the absurdity of these courses. It occurs to me that the anger is escalating. People are already furious at being forced to work 30 hours a week for free on community work placements and about the torturous daily sign on process. One guy at the North Kensington jobcentre (you can read more about this below) reported that his course provider took real exception when people on the course got together and said that the whole exercise was pointless. He said that the course provider pretty much got to the “Let’s Take This Outside,” point when people complained. “We got threats from the providers…I had no choice. I had to go on the course, or get no money.”

People are sent on courses which have absolutely nothing to do with their skills, or areas of work – so much for “tailoring” and all of that. When people finish these courses, they are awarded “certificates” which they know will mean five-eighths of stuff-all to an employer. You’ll see below that people who are near retirement age and have no interest in computers are forced onto computer courses and sanctioned for saying “No, there’s no point in that for me. I don’t want to do that.” I’ve spoken to people at North Kensington recently who have been sent on courses which teach jobsearch – a Reed course which, as one recent graduate of it said, gave him nothing apart from a certificate which says that he can carry out a jobsearch. “I don’t think that employers are going to be very impressed when I say I’ve been on a course learning how to look for jobs,” he told me (he was a 55-year-old driver looking for part-time work).

I wasn’t very impressed myself when I heard that jobcentres were sending people on courses to teach them how to do a jobsearch. You’ll fall about laughing at this, I know – but I think that helping people with jobsearches is the jobcentre’s job. Of course – jobcentres are not doing this. They’re not doing anything of the kind. They’re removing phones from sites (the Clacton CAB showed me a shed that the CAB had converted into a phone booth for JSA claimants to use when the jobcentre phones were taken away), telling people they must hunt for jobs online even if they can’t use computers, and threatening people with sanctions if they don’t sign on daily.

If jobcentres wanted to help people find work, they’d give people access to phones in jobcentres to call employers (as I say, there are no phones for people to use in many jobcentres now), or call employers on people’s behalf, especially if people are struggling with computers and jobsearch, or set up actual job interviews for them and recommend them as candidates. Instead, jobcentres send people on these ridiculous, soul-destroying courses. Somebody somewhere must be doing extremely well out of it all, of course. I will ask the DWP this week what sort of money course providers charge for this stuff, and what the outcomes are for people who go on them. Perhaps Reed, or A4e or whoever would like to invite me to attend a few courses so I can see what happens (or doesn’t happen) on them. I’m particularly intrigued by the one where you tear up a piece of paper for the hell of it. Sounds a great little earner.

Anyway. Here are a few thoughts from people who caught in all of this:

Man at the North Kensington jobcentre. Had his four-year-old son with him:

“I went on a jobsearch course. It was all about looking for a work. It was ridiculous.

Nobody on the course liked it. It was the catalyst for us. We made our complaints and got threats from the providers… Some of the people in the class didn’t want to do the [course] work. They were in construction and the work that was set for us was to do with retail, so there was no point. So, they raised that with the boss of the course. He was almost offering to one of the students… [to take it outside to settle the argument]. That’s something you have to deal with. There’s no point coming back here [to the jobcentre] to raise it. I had no choice. I had to go on the course, or get no money. The lady that was our tutor – she wasn’t really interested. She didn’t want to have nothing to do with us. You’d go to her for help. She’d look at it and say “that’s wrong” and then basically, you go back redo it, come back – and I ended up doing that like five times before she said “that’s okay.” That was in July. It was two weeks. They recently made me go on a two-day course on CVs which I didn’t need to go on, because I had my CV. They will probably send me on something else soon, or they are going to make me go on a volunteer work scheme. It’s ridiculous.

“Last year, I got a job with Royal Mail through Angard. I worked there for one day and I was told that when they got more hours, they’d call me and let me know. I went in for the first day. I worked all day, did the job and I heard nothing. For two weeks, I heard nothing. When they did call me, they asked me if I would do a driver’s job. In the interview, I said I didn’t have a licence and I couldn’t do a driving course. That’s what I got.”

Outside the North Kensington jobcentre. Driver, made redundant, age 55. Already on daily sign on.

“They seem to pick the courses at random. They are virtually the same, identical course that you’ve already been on. They send you to an identical one a few months later. Some of them last three or four days. Some of them last two weeks. Most of them teach you things like CVs. They don’t really know what the course is about. They don’t really care when you get there. They go through loads and loads of paperwork. One [I did] was a certificate for jobsearch. I think that was with Reed. I don’t think that employers are going to be very impressed when I say I’ve been on a course learning how to look for jobs.

“I’m looking for part time work as a driver. I was made redundant from my last job. I had my money cut off [sanctioned] because they sent me an appointment which didn’t arrive until the day of the appointment. They still cut the money off. I was talking to someone yesterday – they cut him off, because he wouldn’t go on a computer course. He’s in his 60s. He’s retiring soon anyway and he’s just been on one one those courses. I’ve been on four or five. He’s just been on another one. They’re going to send him on another course for four weeks. They do that to a lot of people.”

50 thoughts on “Threatened when we complained the “work skills” course was useless: more stories from the jobcentre

  1. At my local jobcentre we have had people sent onto a motivational course in a forest area. They come back with a certificate in ‘ planning and organising a short walk’. I kid you not.

      • My Job Centre are putting me on a pointless 3 hour course on work skills fot the over 50s which they are running themseves, so where does the money go there?

        • I am on the latest transitioning ahead bollax. I had a chest infection that had gone on over two weeks the day i started. Was told couldnt have time off was up to me to look after my own welfare. Any time off reported to jc and possiblr sanction. Week later trainer had virus and pneumonia and guess who now has the virus? Me!!! Shes had time iff yet i have had to attend coughing almost wetting myself violent sneezing others moaning they dont want it in hopes they send me home. Had a job on to get bus fares and another was refused her parking till we kicked up a fuss as others were getting it. Spent a day bored to tears doing that old teamwork bull strandrd on a desert island what 12 things would you take. Honestly i nearly took a spade in next day to show the bitch one of the items and how to make good use of it. Subject to 10 weeks of usual rubbish about interviews then 4 weeks free labour and we have to gind our own placement. I was feeling so ill i had a mini meltdown and told the nee trainer i didnt want to be there and i felt imprisoned and my mental health was being affected. I feel that i shouldnt have been taught bu someone with a virus she should have beem off sick. Cant i sue them?

    • I have just received a referral to attend a job search skills course for the over 50s at my local job centre, from 2 pm till 3 pm on Thursday afternoon from the 25th of May till the 8th of June 2017. If you think these courses are tedious (and I know they are), try and put yourself in my position. I actually help the over 50s with job search: I volunteered for a local charity and have been doing this for about three years. When I pointed this out to my Work Coach I was told that it was a chance to look at the ‘experience’ from the other side. What on earth is the point of passing on skills to people who already have them? I have come to the conclusion that the unemployed are receiving psychological bullying in an attempt to bore us into submission. Needless to say I know who is running the course and a few choice words and phrases will be issued.

  2. Curious as to if these courses have reasonable adjustments for disabled people too. Ie, screen read/write software, etc.

  3. All these ‘courses’ ever have been is a means to keep the unemployed occupied. This is why the content is often meaningless: they don’t care what you are doing so long as you come in for a couple of weeks. Originally they were organised by the DWP themselves but that was a time when unemployment was a short-term thing. Now they are all done by contractors. Typically they will teach ‘how to write a CV’ and ‘interview skills’. If an employer wants you you won’t need a CV. Generally companies have their own form for applicants to fill in so that they can easily compare different people as they will all be in the same format. Interviews are extremely rare so courses for them are a waste of time. You are likely to be sent for interviews for jobs that pay below the level you need or are only part-time work as they get brownie points for interviews attended. In my experience many of the staff on these courses have contempt for the unemployed and consider them losers. Use your RSA Level 2 Diploma to light your bonfire with.
    Also the computer equipment and software used by some of these contractors is likely to be out-of-date because new versions cost money and they do this ‘work’ at minimum cost.

  4. I’ve been on three such courses. One of the providers said they couldn’t improve my CV and that with my experience I could run the course for them!! I also went on one to “learn” How to do a job search. Oh…. And I have an HR qualification too. It’s laughable

  5. There are these employability skills courses all 10 a penny in and around Heywood. I’ve been on at least 4 and all oftthem are the same just with very slightly different course content but amounts to the same thing. Some of these places don’t offer disabled access unless the lift is working which is useless in an emergency

    • I must say I agree Sandra.
      I think they are designed to give the course coordinators something to do.
      and they make it last all all day because it pays for them…not us…I just said to my friend that at my age I don’t need to be told what and what not to say in a Job Interview.
      these training courses are so patronizing and for many people it takes much effort to bear the entire two weeks and then be forced into attending for the next 6 or so months doing so called Job Search.
      the DWP seem to forget that Job search can be done at home.
      but its all about keeping tabs on us Sandra hence why they insist we go to the designated place day after day
      despite the fact that for many people it costs them a small fortune in bus and train fares.
      its so unfair.

  6. Pingback: Threatened For Complaining The ‘Work Skills’ Course Was Useless | Same Difference

  7. when advice is given to mh sufferer to contact local MP re being taken off education course that’s helping to stack shelves or lose benefit and MPs secretary says its DWP problem, it’s a clue to how much chaos it’s in and how profit is being sucked out of the unaware public

  8. My local JCP appear to have run out of courses to recommend me to!
    I can use PCs to a reasonable degree, I add any jobsites I come across to my list (35+, but not rising as fast in last 6 mths) for use, I update/revise & resubmit/reupload 1 comprehensive & 3 industry-specific C.V.s every 3-6 mths, have attended jobskills, interview techniques, customer services courses, etc…been awhile since they suggested Manual Handling, H&S or ForkLift Licence 1s, though: the 1st 2 are usually packed-out (as it`s easy for JCP to refer to) & the latter is almost impossible to find (outside of an actual employment offer, that is) for less than £350-£500 (1 adviser recently suggested I save up & take a course…or take out a loan!).

  9. time before last i went to a4e, and one of their courses as interview techniques.. ok. thats fine.. except the tutor said well since employers are now doing mass interviews, they do problem solving as part of it and one of them was making a tower out of drinking straws and pins to make the highest because you had to work with someone else to do it.. and that was the “course” on interview techniques i did.. How that would get me a job I havent a clue

  10. Twelve Marbles

    Imagine a large church hall. It is 8am, and twelve unemployed people are standing six to a side, holding carefully between them, three long pieces of white plastic drainpipe. They have overlapped these pieces, to make a single length. It is pointed downwards at a slight angle, towards an empty bucket on the floor.
    In front of the group stands an ex-member of the special forces, wearing camouflage trousers and t-shirt. He does not look pleased. But this may simply be his ‘killing-face.’

    On the small wooden table placed by his side is a glass bowl. It looks like a fruit bowl. But instead of fruit it contains twelve marbles. Each of the participants has been given a number, and this enables the special forces man to shout ‘’Number 1, Number 2, Number 3’’, as required. He is the only one that will speak, for military discipline has been imposed, and no talking is permitted during this exercise.

    The command is given, and Number 1, an ex-teacher in her fifties, leaves her place in the group, comes forward, and takes a marble from the bowl on the table. She is carefully observed by the special forces man, who makes notes on a clipboard he is holding. With great concentration, Number 1 approaches the upper end of the drainpipe, holding the marble as instructed, between thumb and first finger. She places it on the edge of the drainpipe, and gently releases it.
    The marble runs noisily down the plastic pipe, and falls with a plonk into the bucket. Success ! Number 1 returns to her place in the line.

    Now it’s the turn of Number 2, an unemployed bank clerk in his thirties. He looks nervous, he fumbles for the marble, and drops it, wasting time. The special forces man makes a note on his clipboard. This isn’t good. If Number 2 fails to reach the required standard on the exercise he will have to do it again and again, until he can pick up the marble correctly. If he persistently fails to reach the required standard, he will be sanctioned for non co-operation with a provider. Nervously, Number 2 approaches the upper end of the drainpipe, but he is still not holding the marble correctly, he is using two fingers and a thumb. One finger too many.
    The special forces man unfortunately has seen this, with his sniper’s vision, and makes another note.
    Number 2 releases the marble, it runs noisily down the plastic pipe, and falls with a plonk into the bucket. Two down, and only another four hours to go !

    • I know it’s over 3yrs ago since you wrote this, but just had to say that has made my day simply hilarious ?

      • Yes its like you couldn’t make this stuff up but its true. The “providers” must have a right laugh. It’s so blatantly taking the mickey The money rolls in and who would dare question them?

  11. Ive just escaped a course that offered me “customer service skills” and a “CV” followed up by a job interview with BT and a job if I impressed after 3 weeks mentoring with a BT employee its what they offer 16 year old kids there was no real job just a traineeship. The DWP paperwork offered me a job interview when there was none I was able to use this to escape the course I took 2 other people with me so I am probably on a DWP shit list I am led to believe the training companies that these courses are on between £1500 – £3000 a head to deliver these non courses.

    • It was part of the contract that these so called training schemes were NOT to be investigated by ofsted or any department so rather than real training they get away with not training at all but claiming they are and if i recall they get money for each course they put people on but i could be wrong

  12. The reason they are meaningless….it is not done to occupy people, it is done to bore people, but mainly these courses are there to CATCH those who do not turn up…(those who do turn up have to be occupied)…those who dont are sanctioned, or they sign off jsa and live off their parents..The older people cannot do that, so you will find most of the participants are older and have no choice…Its about saving money by sanctions and scaring people into signing off…

  13. Pingback: Learning difficulties and signing on? Can’t be bothered with you #jsa #sanctions | Kate Belgrave

  14. Pingback: Eff all and total silence from the DWP: update on the JSA Work Skills Courses Are Rubbish post | Kate Belgrave

  15. Pingback: On the subject of the useless work skills courses JSA claimants must attend… | Kate Belgrave

  16. Having been on one of these pathetic courses in 2009, I complained, the female manager took umbridge that I should be so ‘disrespectful’!
    Being taught about how to use industrial language in the workplace, really was pathetic and patronising.
    We of us that are unemployed are seen as a ‘drain’ on society. ‘unworthy’ and dare I say ‘unclean’….

  17. Pingback: DWP: You’re perfectly free to say No to pointless courses as long as you’re happy to be sanctioned | Kate Belgrave

  18. Pingback: Say no to pointless courses if you’re happy to be sanctioned – Kate Belgrave | Vox Political

  19. Having been on a course with Sarina Russo (they had me tear up a newspaper and reassemble it too. I have to say, I kind of enjoyed it. It was like being at nursery again), I can tell you that that particular provider recieves between £6000 and £13000 per person that finds fulltime (by which they mean 16 hours) employment whilst on the work programme with them. It’s a pretty sweet deal considering that all they do is get you in for a 2-week course and then make you come in once or twice a week to do worksearch for the next 6 months.

  20. Pingback: Daily signon and workfare: they don’t think of us as human beings | Kate Belgrave

  21. People trying to survive on benefits should really consider their language and whether or not they are willing to sign any document other than their signing on..
    A signature is a contractual device.. it signifies your agreement. Of course they will threaten not to sign ‘may’ lose you benefits with a sanction, but no-one can coerce or force you to sign.. in fact i think its illegal under EU law to coerce anyone to sign with threats.
    Don’t say ‘no’.. ask ‘am I obliged to’? if they say yes, ask to be shown the legislation. If they say you’re being awkward, say you’ve been lied to by previous JC+ and if they say ‘I don’t lie’ ask them IF they say to people ‘you MUST sign to allow me access to your UJ account’.. they all do.. and they all lie.

    Don’t refuse to sign any forms, just say i need to take this home and run it by my legal team.. I know for one, that A4e wont let you… and if initial day one CWP LearnDirect will refer you back to the JC if you wont sign their health and safety doc.. a doubt will be raised.. and possibly a sanction delivered.. but it wont get to tribunal.. they’ll overturn it before then as they know they cant sanction you for not signing.. keep everything in writing…
    oh and SAR them they really hate that. Not legal advice.. just my experience.. use info or not, choice is yours.

  22. Hi Kate,
    I just want to say that reading some of your blog is encouraging for me because I am also questioning these work related courses and whether they benefit the people who attend them or they simply designed by the government in order to give job center staff and the people who run these courses something to do?
    its totally ridiculous.
    for example I have a life long anxiety disorder which affects every part of my day and despite qualifying for Employment support allowance and meeting at least 4 of the ESA regulations Chapter 46 and Appendix 5 of the CPAG Handbook),
    I have been put into work related ESA
    despite the fact that I satisfy at least 4 of the criteria needed to be put into the support related category.
    I have just written a letter to the DWP about that.
    but in the meantime I have now been referred to a two week so called Employablity training course which is going to cost me £15 in bus fares and It will probably last all day.
    Ive been through this again and again Kate and it does not bring me anywhere near to getting a job.
    but the Job advisors don’t listen
    all they say is you must go or your benefit will be affected.
    its all mind games Kate…they use fear to get us to do what they want.
    all day yesterday I was stressed out.
    of course I shouldn’t let it get to me like that but that’s due to the anxiety disorder and the DWP don’t seem to take that seriously.

      • Hi Kate,
        hope your Well.
        I went to the course on Monday morning (I decided to walk rather than get the bus)
        but to cut to the chase,
        I ended up coming back home after about 90 minutes because there wasn’t enough people on the course yet.
        and this of course wasn’t mentioned the last time I visited
        neither did my oh so zealous you must get back into work etc,
        job Advisor think to check that my time wouldn’t be wasted.
        so it was a good job I had not decided to put £15 onto my oyster card and extra food for the week because it would have been unnecessary.
        so now I’m due to go back on the 9th of August same time same place and there is no real guarantee that the course will start without anymore delays.
        I must say I feel relived that I didn’t have to go there for the rest of the week.
        but in the meantime I got a letter this morning informing me that I have been officially placed in the work related activity group
        despite the fact that I meet certain criteria 12 and 13 in the ESA regulations handbook (schedule 3)
        Either those regulations have been changed to suit the changes brought in with the universal credit benefit,
        or they have based their decision on physical tests such as touching my toes
        and putting my fingers together etc?
        either way the impression I am left with is that I haven’t been assessed properly?
        the main focus seems to be on my physical health rather than my mental health,
        hence why few questions were asked during the assessment about my mental health.
        I decided to write a letter and appeal against the decision.
        Ive been here before and I won.
        and so I have nothing to lose by trying again.
        I just feel disappointed with the way the whole benefit thing is carried out.
        the impression I get is that the government just want to get as many people off welfare regardless of their mental and physical health.
        and lets say they get their way and a few ex claimants find jobs but lose them due to their on going mental health problems
        what are the chances of them being able to go back onto ESA?
        surely the government is doing all it can to make reclaiming as difficult as possible to protect their interests?
        after all benefit claimants have been described as so called “scroungers” and so if that is the way we are considered in the eyes of the government then it is only natural for them to do all they can to make claiming benefit difficult so that only those who are severely incapacitated are the only people considered worthy of state support.
        I can nevertheless understand the need for reform of the welfare state
        but its the way the government brings in the reforms that leaves me feeling cold and stressed.
        they bang on about making work pay and more attractive than welfare
        but I am yet to be convinced.
        time and again I hear people on the radio saying they are working and yet struggle to keep going because rent etc eats up most of their income and so once the essentials have been paid,
        most people are left with next to nothing to live on.
        my friend for example works as a quantity surveyor
        and brings home about a grand a month,
        but after he has paid the bills
        there is barely anything left and so he’s having to go to the food bank for top ups.
        and yet he has a job.
        so there is a clear difference between fantasy and reality.
        the fantasy is the line from the government that they have made work pay,
        and the reality regarding my mate and many other people in similar situations who are working and are still in want.
        they may earn enough to keep the roof over their head
        but what about essentials such as food and clothes etc?
        if most of their wages go on rent etc
        how can the go tell us that employment for the working classes pays?
        it clearly doesn’t.
        in fact earlier today I was listening to a new program on the radio four called “your money and your Life” presented by financial Analyst Louise Cooper.
        and it was really moving
        hearing working class 20 somethings talking about their struggles to survive despite being employed.
        one couple admitted feeling upset at the older generation for making life harder for them
        whereas the older generation had it far easier in their day.
        I can understand why they feel bitter.
        but I think it is the politicians and bankers who are to blame for the difficulties experienced by the younger generation.
        I feel so sorry for them.
        I’m 49 but I know how hard it is to survive in this country.
        and its getting harder despite all the optimism from the government.
        honestly Kate sometimes I feel like throwing my towel in.
        but I think to myself why should I let the government and the capitalist system crush me?
        if this country is a democracy then surely we can all come together and insist on better government who won’t treat us badly?
        I want to see positive change so so much Kate but not Just for me but everyone who feels crushed by this unfair system.
        after 49 years Kate I still can’t believe the world I live in is real?
        its like I go to bed and night and barely sleep and hope to wake up and find that its all been a lonnnggggg nightmare.
        but no its reality and none of us can escape from it as long as the steering wheel is controlled by power hungry corrupt greed driven self righteous hypocrite Politicians who pretend to be concerned for us but are really using or abusing democracy for their own benefit.
        I swear if I wasn’t so shy and lacking in courage I would devote the rest of my life to make life better for everyone in the right way.
        and bring an end to the exploitation of the working classes.
        anyway Ive had my say
        please keep up the good work Kate
        its heartening to know your fighting our corner.
        and best wishes to you and Everyone.
        Thumbs Up.

  23. I signed on this morning and my Work Coach mentioned that because I have had several interviews recently and failed to gain work she might consider putting me on a course to learn interview techniques. I received feedback from the employer for the last two interviews I attended. The reason for not getting the job was because the successful applicants were already working for the company and wanted more hours. I have been told my interview technique is very good by several people, but why bother making an effort to apply if I am just destined to repeat these courses over and over again?

  24. Hi Again Kate,
    I just want to say again that I feel heartened and encouraged by your website which gives a much needed platform from which people of all kinds can express how they feel about these government backed courses.
    in the absence of your web page,
    people like me and many others would be ignored by the government and job centers across London and the country.
    I’m due to start a two week so called Employablity skills course next Monday
    and I’m not looking forward to it.
    I had to go there last week to fill in some forms and then I was put on a computer to do some very basic English and math tests,
    and then the connection went and the receptionist bless her did try to find another computer but all the connections were down
    and I sat there thinking to myself what the hell am I doing here?
    this is made out to be a place which will lead me back to work
    and they can’t even ensure a reliable and stable internet connection.
    and for the next two weeks I’ll probably find myself facing another connection loss and having to sit in this place till 3.30pm and go back again till Friday.
    all for a mere piece of Paper telling me I have completed a course which will supposedly make me more employable?
    I shake my head in despair Kate and I also feel a strong sense of frustration and injustice because the whole thing is poorly planned and no matter how it is dressed up the fact is it doesn’t make individuals more likely to find a job.
    they only dress it up to look that way rather than strip away all the gloss
    and present it for what it is…a total waste of time and taxpayers money.
    I’ll give you an update when I finish this lousy course Kate.
    in the meantime Thanks again for giving us people a platform to speak from even though we are still ignored by the incompetent hypocrites in charge.

  25. learn direct job club ; waste of time ; can anyone please tell me why I have to spend 7 hours a week searching for a job ; when I have a computer at home ; that’s what universal jobs match is for.
    After 25 years of working in warehousing ; can any one tell me why I need a 2 week course in storage and warehouse ; to gain a certificate to say im competent to work in a warehouse DUHH.

  26. Its for several reasons. The unemployed are an easy target to make money for others. It makes the JC look as though they are doing something but at the same time its designed to humiliate, bore and make people think about shacking up with their parents again. The JC are the main problem as they must know its a wate of time.

    Most courses are useless and they are at such a basic level that no employer is genuinely interested in seeing it on a CV.

    Think about it…what a perfect business model where “clients” are essentially forced to attend. You are all quite right that complaints are dealt with by passive agressive techniques. You will be listed as a troublecauser and they know if they tell you to leave it can have repercussions even if the course was not mandatory. Youve only got to show the tiniest bit of natural scepticism and they escalate it fast. Its not even disent and Ive seen these tutors get very agressive because they know its pretty much a scam anyway. I feel they are employed for a tough nature because we wouldnt want the unemployed asking any questions would we now!

    Theres something going on because Ive only got to mention a key word and Im booked on another course within about a minute. Its a conversation where the advisors dont listen.

    Im on another useless couse this week. Im beginning to wonder if the JC are on some sort of commission for the fees these parasites will be charging. I feel that everbody benefits apart from the unemployed person.

  27. I have just spent a week writing happy above a smiling face in a look at the facial expression exercise. Another exercise had me filling in basic words which were provided at the bottom of the page. I cant even begin to really get over how patronising this level one course is. It is totally useless! I have learnt nothing and I couldn’t leave because it seemed to be mandatory.

    Now I am A level educated with 10 years office experience and about 5 years experience in other jobs. Nothing special but I am being treated as if I can’t read or write and don’t even understand what good customer service is.

    I will be contacting newspapers like the Guardian to see if they will investigate. The European Social Fund is paying for this and its an utter waste of taxpayers money.

    I will book my own courses but I keep getting sent on these useless courses by the DWP

  28. I can emphasize with everyone also in the same boat, today I was put onto ‘Workskills’ by the DWP despite protesting that i’ve already attended these same structured courses at least 4-times with no job at the end of them and only a meaningless piece of paper. This new one run by Chesterfield-College means I can gain a diploma, big whoop, I already have my GCSE grades and OCR qualifications in the same fields that overshadow a diploma.

    I decided to give the first day a try at least, woke up at 6am and caught the bus 40mins late due to the one I was planning on catching breaking down (good start so far.) Showed up and it was being held in a Hotel conference room with artificial LED lights, no fresh-air, no beverages other than room-temperature water. Partook in assessment tests (the tutor claimed it wasn’t a test but it really is) where we had to find a 20p coin in a bunch of change, asked what 5+2 was, spoiler…it’s 7. After all that fun it was time for lunch which we had to pay for out of our own pockets which should be paid-for directly by the course, afterall we was referred there and it’s expenses being taken out of our UJM claim.

    After a day of doing tests designed for pre-secondary school leavers, baked under LED lights, barely having anything to drink, £20 out of pocket, completely exhausted and unable to sleep for the past 11 hours, I got home and the stress and environment brought on a stress-induced migraine which was unbearable. Tomorrow I won’t be showing up and instead focusing the day, as I normally do, looking for work on the PC and if I get sanctioned for it then i’d rather take the hit and look after myself and my health than go through the experience all again for the next 3 weeks and 4 days.

  29. Hello, how interesting to read the mixed reviews. Having been on this universal credit for the past year I had two jobs offers. Had to take the one with more hours but when one of my references weren’t good enough for the care company, they pulled out. I couldn’t get the other job as had been offered to someone else. Now I am doing 5hours a day, 7 days a week jobsearch online at home which is fine but without suitable references how can i secure a job? I asked to go on the Employability course, have done one before so know what they’re like, but since I ASKED TO GO ON ONE, it might look better. I have the induction tomorrow morning then start full time in a week. They jobcentre pay the travel which helps as my universal credit does not last til the end of the month. I am bored and my anxiety is rising a lot lately so I hope this course will help with something. I don’t expect other people on it to be so keen, some people are MADE to go, but since I asked to go on it, it might look better to the DWP. I long for a part time job but no luck. This universal credit is not working for me. I miss the old two weeks of JSA where they pay rent for you so you are not left in arrears. I sympathise with anyone who does not like these courses as yes they can be demorilising especially if you don’t like hearing other people’s life stories about being on benefits but I will give it another go. There might be a light at the end of this dark tunnel of the DWP.

  30. I have been under threat of sanctions upon sanction for about two years now. Verbal threats I get harrassed and raised voices when in the job centre and they make sweeping statements like I dont want to work and the main problem is me. Its all my fault when my application gets passed over and Ive even had to show them completed application forms as they stated saying I couldnt fill one out.

    I am trying to build myself up for self employment but you know none of it is as easy as the DWP make out. Yes I should be working but they know the issues and it just isnt that easy at the moment. There is no quick job to go to.

    Ive been sent on these schemes as a threat and eventually I was asked to leave a “course” for no other reason than she was looking for any opportunity to get me into trouble (ie sanctioned) because I finally said I would not do the voluntary placement which would have been no use as I have already volunteered and got nowhere with having it on a CV.. See the workfare situation where these scandalous “training” companies use B&M or a local charity shop for a four day placement. That was my right and after suffering the patronising waste of time its no wonder

    I use quotation marks and will say scheme rather than course because they are not courses and they are not useful training.

    I am now on a three month banning order so no money at all now and looming homelessness If you think it was my fault, think again as after a tirade of abuse and personal comments these people are just not accountable and are clearly working to harrass and meet targets . He was going to sanction me for not answering my phone so beware of giving your details when they pretend its beneficial. They dont care and they get you in the end

  31. Im now working in a great job and I was always capable of doing a good job. The main issue is the lack of opportunities or being passed over for every reason other than being able to do a job with the experience I have.

    Im just saying to you all…… fight for your rights and watch out because I was eventually harrassed out and received NO income for nearly two months….that is what they are capable of doing as they are malicious and corrupt in my opinion.

    They have no answers to the precariat job economy but are trying to dismantle the welfare state at the same time…it just doesnt add up beyond the malicious contempt I now expect from every government

    What they put me through in terms of patronising, mickey taking courses is unforgivable and if I approached them again I would be a whole lot tougher. I realise that they were trying to stop money I was legally entitled to at every turn. I recieved no real help or guidance on proper education for my future and the tuition fees didnt help matters

    Its also absolutely disgusting those who were making money from the unemployed and providing nothing of value…..disgusting and amoral.

    I will never forget and I will never forgive. Take them on as you are all worth more than that!

  32. I have done everything my job centre has asked including useless courses, What I want to know I have just been referred to another company by the job centre to do the same thing again which apparently Voluntarily although rereferred and when contacted I explained after listening to what they were about that I had already done this…..I was told she had to meet me within a timescale (conveniently before my next job centre fortnightly appointment ) So out of politeness and not wanting to get in trouble so I went and yet again everything she explained to me the company was about and what they did/do I have been doing alongside another company and on-line (with which I had completed 100%) and all activate was logged on to my job centre account so they can see…..I now receive another email for next appointment (again the day before my fortnightly job centre appointment) But do not wish to continue as do not need this course as have done and still have the support where I need in my job search. I sent an Email to my work coach explaining why have I been referred and went in my job centre to see if I could speak to someone about not attending this apparently ‘Voluntary” course and heard nothing back? The thing that worry’s me if its voluntary and I don’t go as feel its just another company doing what the other companies have done just in a different way…..Do I get in trouble or my money capped if I don’t attend this so called voluntary course that I have been referred to do. I feel I was bullied into this unnecessarily as have done similar course attended and travelled too weekly never late and never missed any appointment’s attended All courses and times even when
    travelled too them. I now have interviews coming up for hopefully a job a good CV attended various courses on getting back in to the work place, And this course is exactly what I have already attended. Can they cap my money if I don’t want to attended having emailed my reasons and it is suppose to be voluntary ?

  33. I too have attended toomany courses( I have been told to attend) by the job Ingeus, Intraining , The Work Programme and all have been a waste of time. As a qualified teacher, I don’t need sessions on gaining qualifications and now I have to attend a course for those unemployed people who are unqualified. It undermines my integrity. Before I go on this course called Returneeship ( for 40 plus people), I have to have attend the job centre for a meeting about signing up for the course first. I don’t know if this course is mandatory but when I googled it, I was angry to find out it’s about class based skills and work placement . It also said it was a chance to develop their IT skills ( I already did an IT course in 2014 for level 1 and 2) and customer service skills which I know about having worked in a charity shop. When I attend this meeting after Christmas, I will be making a point of stating the obvious because I’m fed up at the age of 59 being treated as if I have nothing to show for what I have and can do.

  34. In my considered opinion the jobcentre dont know what to do with you unless you are a very easy placement. They have no idea to do with the middle management jobs that have dried up or older workers.

    Whether we like it or not…its a face fits…strict recent experience qualifications economy…whole industries are employing certain age bands only. Doesnt matter how nice you are or able to do the job…if you are older or more experienced than the manager there is little chance.

    Ive been working for two years but am still angry at the way I was treated. With hindsight it becomes much clearer

    They havent really got an idea what to do with anyone because they tow the establishment line that there are plenty of jobs and the unemployed are just tax avoiding scroungers

    More importantly they are not honest about this and their help systems are not fit for purpose.

    Its just a tick box exercise for them and they dont care. After a certain time your name will flag up for the next stage in a process designed by people that have never had to sign on. A process designed to treat you with contempt. They expect you to be polite but they will constantly bully you with passive aggressive techniques. the people that stay working in the jobcentres are the ones who get off on working in that sort of regime which is bad news for the unemployed

    The process is designed to bully and humiliate you into leaving. They don’t care if you get work. They just want you to stop signing on as that is easier to achieve. Days,Weeks or Months without you is a result for them…some people just give up signing on and become the hidden unemployed…another result for There are plenty of hidden unemployed…would you sign on if your partner was working?..that would affect and reduce your benefits for a start…possibly to zero anyway

    Many younger people sent on these useless courses left within hours and that is mainly because they will stop signing on for a while as they live at home for example. I’ve asked them and obviously anything is better than being bullied and totally humiliated. It is total humiliation…make no mistake! If I was living at home I would have walked out within minutes of these courses

    I even had periods where hitting the streets seemed a better option. Yes it was that bad!

    All I can say to you all is complain because they are trying to sanction you. They know the courses are useless but you will never get that out of them because ultimately they don’t care. The DWP are the main problem. The course “providers” (and I use that term very loosely) are just cashing in on captives. I cant believe people have the brass neck to use people in this way but they do. Its big money for these companies. Ive had tutors that were unemployed the week before but have no customer service/teaching skills.

    Tell you something though…they do know how to get nasty and sanction you if you complain…go figure!

    Best wishes to all and respect to Kate. I will try and help the unemployed in any way I can

  35. I read your post on this and I am open to sharing my experiences about one of these courses.

    I previously signed on last year (around Nov; couple months after graduating from university, I have been off benefits for 3 to 4 months now as I have a new part-time job) and I went on a Civil Service workskills course. I chose to go on it (just to see what it was like really); in my case I wasn’t forced on any mandatory courses but then again I had a work coach who actually helped me find a new job (my UC experience wasn’t that bad as I had family support + a decent work coach but this doesn’t mean I will discredit the bad experiences).

    The Civil Service course I did was a week; we had to fill in a workbook with the basics about how to make a CV, cover letter, how to prepare for an interview, what type of jobs exist, health & safety etc. In other words, each session was pretty much going over the basics for jobseeking. I did do this course with others who had qualifications & work experience like myself; from my overall outlook I do feel jobcentre courses tend to be a one-size fits all approach (considering how most assume all people on benefits are scroungers who’ve never worked a day in their life). I feel that the jobcentre doesn’t seem to know how to deal with people of certain age groups or those who have worked/studied but have been laid off/quit work for specific reasons…

    It does make me question the validity of these courses (especially as the certificates are pretty useless, in my case it’s been 8 months since I finished my course and I haven’t even got my certificate still, probably makes me think it was a shame despite the course being from an accredited college).

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