Tuesday, 21 February 2012
There has been sporadic outrage at the Government work experience programme whereby unemployed people get unpaid (with jobseeker's allowance plus expenses) work experience at signatory firms. They get experience in a line of work and a guaranteed interview for a job at the end of the maximum 4 week spell. In Tesco's case (who have born the brunt of the criticism) there is actually a guaranteed job at the end, performance-dependent. The firms in reply get paid for getting the unemployed into work should they take them on paid (and of course some free work).
I'm really struggling to see the problem. Work experience works. Part of the issue with unemployment is the cycle one falls into. The longer one spends out of work, on average, the less likely people are to ever return to work. People get used to not working and find other things to fill their time thereby deciding they no longer have time for work. Also, confidence and self esteem spirals as joblessness extends. Work experience or just volunteering breaks that cycle. It gets people used to doing a working day. It lets them see they are able to achieve an employable standard. Job-dependent there may also be the chance to gain employment-relevant skills. It gives them face time with employers too.
Now this is not a new idea. It wasn't more than a few months ago that the leftstream media were all too happy to bash those pesky middle class parents who actually want their children to succeed (probably the cause of all the world's evils) when they were securing their kids work experience at various firms. Now the types of employment we are talking about here were probably mainly jobs in finance, accountancy, the legal profession and the like. They are certainly different jobs to stacking shelves at Tesco. But the principle is the same.
Exactly the same.
Apparently it is unfair that middle class folks can get their kids good unpaid work experience. But the same commentators rail against the idea that the Government might do the same for the unemployed of this country. You can't have your cake and eat it. If it is unfair that those with connections can use them to get their children work experience it must be because there is some benefit in unpaid work experience. Which leads me to think the only important difference people are not specifically complaining about but really want to, is the type of job, and this is the crux of the problem.
We as a society have become arrogant. We believe immigrants should sweep the streets, stack the shelves and pull the pints. When they take the jobs we refuse to entertain as options and unemployment rises, we complain that immigrants are stealing our jobs. Newsflash - this country cannot survive without a spectrum of employees. If you cannot find a job of the calibre you think you 'deserve', scale back your ambitions, eat some humble pie and just get a job. Well done the Government for trying to help the unemployed (and 20,000 of those who have taken up the programme are now employed). Work experience works. Probably better than a meeja 'degree'...