Getting Britain back to work

The news that unemployed people will have to start visiting the Job Centre daily made my heart sink. With two recent periods of unemployment, I’ve visited the Job Centre regularly. I can say hand on heart its the most demoralising experience ever. I can see the idea behind the recent headlines, but unless the job centre has a complete shake up, rebrand and new purpose then I can’t see how it could work.

The whole process is a tick box exercise carried out by demoralised staff. “Have you got a copy of your CV?” The CV is then folded and put onto your file – its not even glanced at to see if its yours, let alone read and commented on. When did the staff last apply for a job in the outside world? How do they know what recruitment is like now?

It always annoyed me that each visit my form was checked, and the advisor counted how many steps I had taken to find work. The form had around 6 lines to write everything I had done in the last week. I could never fit it all in. One week I was advised I hadn’t carried out enough steps so they wouldn’t be able to pay my Job Seekers Allowance. The fact that the form was full, and I couldn’t write anymore on it didn’t matter. Luckily I keep a diary, and had carried out around 3 times more than the required number of steps.  So a basic starting point would be look at the form, and allow the space needed to complete it to your requirements.

The Job Centre has its own centralised job database. You are expected to check it daily, and the advisor has access to check that you are checking it daily. Now it may have improved but when I was looking, there were never any HR roles on it, they are on the specialist HR websites. However the rules say you have to log in and check daily so thats what i had to do, check for the jobs that aren’t posted on the website.

Some motivated career coaches in the job centre would help – giving real advise and encouragement. The whole environment needs to be positive. Maybe some ex HR Managers in there, to give advice on what companies are looking for, how to handle interviews, what to expect when you start work. Unless you have been through the Job Centre system, you can’t possibly know what a depressing, de-motivating experience it is. 

There are so many improvements that need to be made at the Job Centre – I would love to help improve it, because unless it changes Britain won’t get back to work.