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How bad is "The Work Programme" and does it ever help?


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However, the employer will make an initial success/reject decision within, at most 10 seconds.

 

Hence the reason why you ought to use the employers' own language in your CV / covering letter.

 

If I've asked for: (taken from here - http://gurucareersplatform.com/job/junior-web-designer/)

 

Role Requirements:

Please contact us if you have experience in the following fields

 

  • Successful applicants will
    have a working knowledge of PHP, Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver & Jquery.
    (Experience in Wordpress not essential but will give you an advantage)
  • You will need to
    demonstrate an advanced level of graphic design.
  • You have a portfolio of completed
    websites that you have personally designed & built.
  • Be organised, articulate,
    punctual and be prepared to worked in an environment heavily influenced by
    deadlines.

Then a CV that says:

 

"I have a portfolio of my own work which was designed and created using PHP, Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver & Jquery as well as Wordpress integration. I'm driven by working to tight deadlines etc etc etc..."

 

Is far more likely to be shortlisted in that 10 seconds than one that drivels on about team working and being a good learner.

 

I agree, 10 seconds - flat, so use that time to make an impression and don't think that I've the time nor inclination to go digging for the information I'm looking for. I want candidates who can be bothered, rather than those making some sort of principled stand on a CV, save your paper/bandwidth if you can't be bothered to make an effort. I'll shortlist someone who is.

 

Look at roles in the third sector for example that demand pages of written information on how you meet their requirements, they take days. Altering a few passages on a CV shouldn't take more than 2 minutes, especially to someone with any IT ability.

 

Fragil1ty, like I said earlier. It's YOUR cv, not mine or indeed anyone elses. So, send the document you feel represents you the best. It's entirely up to you whether you take my or anyone elses advice and all I can say that you're likely to get in retort to a refusal to try something different from a WP adviser is a slightly sarky comment asking you how well your current one is working...

 

After 3 years in Uni you'll be no stranger to a bit of research, so go and do some digging about recruitment and the techniques used. If as Rebecca says, that 80% of jobs go unadvertised, then you're fighting with everyone else over the 20% left. Give yourself the best possible chance.

 

Good Luck!

My views are my own and are not representative of any organisation. if you've found my post helpful please click on the star below.

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My CV has now been spotted by an agency who rang me up about a very suitable vacancy and hopefully I will have a telephone interview with the employer on Wednesday and a Face to Face interview on Friday.

 

Had my hair cut yesterday afternoon just in case!

 

Goes to show having a CV which pushes the right experience does help.

 

I've seen many bad CV's in my time when I did recruitment, the number of mis-sellings, poorly written templated covering letters and applicants who had no experience whatsoever applying just to keep their work provider commitments happy.

 

As I've previously said the work providers should only have been used for people with NO work experience - that way they could give more tailored help rather than the generic low level workshop help they offer.

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My CV has now been spotted by an agency who rang me up about a very suitable vacancy and hopefully I will have a telephone interview with the employer on Wednesday and a Face to Face interview on Friday.

 

Had my hair cut yesterday afternoon just in case!

 

Goes to show having a CV which pushes the right experience does help.

 

I've seen many bad CV's in my time when I did recruitment, the number of mis-sellings, poorly written templated covering letters and applicants who had no experience whatsoever applying just to keep their work provider commitments happy.

 

As I've previously said the work providers should only have been used for people with NO work experience - that way they could give more tailored help rather than the generic low level workshop help they offer.

 

Good luck!

My views are my own and are not representative of any organisation. if you've found my post helpful please click on the star below.

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Has anyone here turned down their offers to remove/add stuff to their CV's and if so, what happened?

 

Yup. I took one look at the awful spelling and grammar in my 'new improved' CV and told them I wouldn't be using it and if they complained I'd take it to the media and let the world see how illiterate their staff was. I also said I'd show the DWP as in my opinion by giving me a bad CV they were trying to sabotage my attempts to find work. All they said was 'Oh well, it's up to you, use it if you want, we're only trying to help'.

 

They'd also added classic phrases like 'I am a good timekeeper' and 'I am reliable' which may have been the fashion on school report cards back in the 70's but is certainly not to be put on a CV. Very childish and unprofessional.

 

Of course they do it because they're paid for it - simple as that. They change one word on your CV and they can then say they've worked with you and helped you. I reported A4e once because I did CVs for a few people and the tutor tried to claim she'd done them. This same 'tutor' did a CV for a guy who was a welder and brazer and she wrote 'braiser' (as in 'braised beef') instead. Hilarious.

 

If you're happy with your CV then just stick with it.

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After been handed one of their [A4e] booklets that had clearly never been proof read before going to print along with their first few letters, I refused to let them anywhere near my CV. Hell would freeze before they had opportunity.

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Papworth has bad spelling too many promitive computers

Fake staff who'd ignore you once you got passed on

Waste of time courses and CV help that was you at a computer for an hour

A tutor who effectively called me a liar

And that's just the short version

WP doesn't help unless they think you are likely to get work speedily - other then that it's endless stupid courses plus Learndirect

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How bad is the WP? Short answer, very! Does it ever help? Well, it would perhaps be churlish to say it NEVER helps anyone. However, the House of Commons very own Public Accounts Committee did say the WP performs even worse than JCP. In effect, it performs worse than had it not existed. All this for £5bn over the past parliament. Nearly HALF the £12bn this current lot is cutting from the welfare budget. The mind boggles!

 

In addition to what others have said, expect never to have just the one adviser - despite being told you'll have a tailored one to one service from your own permanent adviser. At Ingeus I had SEVEN different advisers including an external business adviser. little wonder I never saw my exit report as not one of them could give an account of my time there owing to not seeing them anything like long enough. To be fair, three or four advisers were fine. One was a total ignoramus who I made sure I complained about.

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Exit reports are pointless

Mine has my name and a few other facts and nothing more

My barrier was being unemployed - hardly news but it took two years to reach that conclusion

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My barrier was being unemployed - hardly news but it took two years to reach that conclusion

 

You couldn't make it up. I never did see my exit report but no doubt it probably said the same thing, even though I am on ESA.

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I never did see my exit report

 

Send the DWP a SAR (it won't cost you anything), insist that they include ALL information held by subcontractors including WP providers. If there is still no sign of an exit report, file a complaint with the DWP pointing out that the provider in question has failed in their contractual obligations.

 

You may also find the SAR turns up additional material should you have other grievances to pursue.

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You couldn't make it up. I never did see my exit report but no doubt it probably said the same thing, even though I am on ESA.

 

Probably

I know in the Sanctioncente I was stuck at they weren't impressed with the exit reports

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Hence the reason why you ought to use the employers' own language in your CV / covering letter.

 

If I've asked for: (taken from here - )

 

Role Requirements:

Please contact us if you have experience in the following fields

 

  • Successful applicants will
    have a working knowledge of PHP, Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver & Jquery.
    (Experience in Wordpress not essential but will give you an advantage)
  • You will need to
    demonstrate an advanced level of graphic design.
  • You have a portfolio of completed
    websites that you have personally designed & built.
  • Be organised, articulate,
    punctual and be prepared to worked in an environment heavily influenced by
    deadlines.

Then a CV that says:

 

"I have a portfolio of my own work which was designed and created using PHP, Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver & Jquery as well as Wordpress integration. I'm driven by working to tight deadlines etc etc etc..."

 

Is far more likely to be shortlisted in that 10 seconds than one that drivels on about team working and being a good learner.

 

I agree, 10 seconds - flat, so use that time to make an impression and don't think that I've the time nor inclination to go digging for the information I'm looking for. I want candidates who can be bothered, rather than those making some sort of principled stand on a CV, save your paper/bandwidth if you can't be bothered to make an effort. I'll shortlist someone who is.

 

Look at roles in the third sector for example that demand pages of written information on how you meet their requirements, they take days. Altering a few passages on a CV shouldn't take more than 2 minutes, especially to someone with any IT ability.

 

Fragil1ty, like I said earlier. It's YOUR cv, not mine or indeed anyone elses. So, send the document you feel represents you the best. It's entirely up to you whether you take my or anyone elses advice and all I can say that you're likely to get in retort to a refusal to try something different from a WP adviser is a slightly sarky comment asking you how well your current one is working...

 

After 3 years in Uni you'll be no stranger to a bit of research, so go and do some digging about recruitment and the techniques used. If as Rebecca says, that 80% of jobs go unadvertised, then you're fighting with everyone else over the 20% left. Give yourself the best possible chance.

 

Good Luck!

 

Hey man, thanks for the long winded reply, it's very much appreciated.

 

I do all of these things already. I've got myself on linkedin, monster, reed, etc etc and well I do get phone calls a lot of the time from recruiters via: Linkedin, now the problem is that they call because they just see 'web developer' on my CV, but they don't really know much and they think all Web devs are the same, so some go somewhere and some don't.

 

I had a phone call on Friday and was on the phone for over 30 minutes and then she told me that the position was in the far end of Manchester (Not going to work, considering I live 2 and a half hours away from that location and I do not drive).

 

I'm actually going for my WP interview today, I'm just hoping that it's going to go well and now going to be a complete waste of my time (it probably is).

 

To address one point you made earlier though:

 

Then a CV that says:

 

"I have a portfolio of my own work which was designed and created using PHP, Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver & Jquery as well as Wordpress integration. I'm driven by working to tight deadlines etc etc etc..."

 

I do this all the time, in-fact the information you've provided there goes onto the front of my cover letters. Over the past 12 months, I've actually had work, but it's just freelance work and with me being freelance it's never stable enough for me to completely pursue it as a career. You're constantly competing with people on websites like e-lance and peopleperhour and when people have more contributions/work completed than you and often will undercut you? it's just a little hard.

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I fully understand how difficult it is, there's a point perhaps where it's worth reviewing your preference when looking for something. In that sort of scenario is there not the opportunity to find something tolerable as a job even if it's not in your chosen field of web dev and then gradually build up your freelance work to a point where it does become sustained and then step away from the interim role? There's nothing stopping you carrying on looking for the ideal job while you do the tolerable one and even perhaps look at putting your services on PPH if that's possible? The WP / DWP in all honesty will not really care about your preferences in the long term so it's worth taking control of your situation as early as you can.

 

Good luck either way.

My views are my own and are not representative of any organisation. if you've found my post helpful please click on the star below.

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Fragility; Hope you catch this before setting off for your appointment.

One point that Think about it made that is worth bearing in mind and that is to take control of your situation as early as you can.

Start with today's appointment/interview.

Firstly they will try to impress you with how clever and efficient they are, how their help is invaluable, etc.

Remember it is your right not to volunteer any information of a personal/private nature. That includes handing over your CV. If you choose to give them a hard copy of your CV it would be advisable to redact phone number and email address. If you give them those contact details you will regret it later because they will constantly harass you for the next 2 years. Insist on postal contact by conventional mail only.

You also have the right not to sign anything. Ask for time to study any document or form that they offer/ask you to sign.

Chapter 4, Section 15 of the Work Programme Provider Guidance lists the personal information about a claimant that Jobcentre Plus may forward to the Work Programme Provider. DWP considers that list will be sufficient to enable WP to formulate a package of help that will cater to your individual needs.

Ask for details and/or further information/explanation on whatever they say that they will do for you. Interrupt the flow of their spiel at every opportunity. This will take up the interview time, disconcert and fluster them, and reduce the time they have to gain/exert control of the interview to their advantage.

If you have a recording device, it would be a good idea to use it. Could prove invaluable at some time in the future.

Best of luck, and whatever happens don't let the buggers get you down.

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Insist on postal contact by conventional mail only.

 

There are two reasons for doing this:

 

  1. You have an undeniable paper-trail.
  2. It costs them time and money.

I'd perhaps also insist that any mandatory activity notices are sent recorded delivery.

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..and also make it clear - politely - that you'll have no problem at all reporting any infringements by your adviser to their Manager, then reporting the Manager to their Head Office, then reporting the lot of them to DWP Monitors and, in the case of Data Protection violations (which the WP is especially prone to) to the Information Commisioners Office. A4e were fined a massive sum not so long ago for such an offense, so it's a valid threat.

 

..not forgetting to inform the media if you deem it interesting enough :). Start as you mean to go on. Pleasant but firm.

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Best of luck with your interview today, please do let us know how you get on :)

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Reporting back, I would just like to thank everyone thus far and I will give an in-depth analysis of what went on and as expected, it wasn't entirely good nor entirely bad.

 

The interview was for 10:15, I got there and wasn't saw until 10:35, so that was off to a depressing start.

 

She introduced herself as did I and then I immediately got into, "I've heard terrible things about this place, how they treat people, bla bla", I went on a 5-minute rant about all the things I had found out about online, via other members of this programme, via other people who are actual employers and so on. Her initial retort was:

 

"Well there are people who want to work and there are people who do not want to work, which do you think are the people who are writing the WP sucks, are?", to which I responded:

 

"Well to be honest, a lot of them are on the WP and are getting no where, some of them are personal friends, some of them are just employers, it varies, but the general consensus is that it's very bad, a lot worse than the actual Job Centre.", she didn't say anything after this and just moved on.

 

After this, it was just general chit-chat and coincidentally she informed that her son was also a "Web Developer", so I asked about it, she couldn't give me any information what so ever, she didn't know what he did, how he did it or whatever, first it was "Oh my lad is attending University down in London" and then it was "Oh yeah, my lad is a web developer, he's been doing it for X years and loves it", clearly at an attempt to gain some familiarity with me.

 

I then brought up that at one of my previous jobs, I worked for £175 per week and was often working from 10am - 8pm and the reason I left it was because I wanted a more stable job /w better hours and better pay and then she applied the old "Well, that's just life, I'm often in here from x hours to y hours", so I was sat there like, "Oh okay? great", didn't really have anything to say to that, it's not a competition love, calm down.

 

One of the other issues that arose was that of the fact that I said, getting to Manchester will be exceptionally hard for me as it's 1hour to 1hour30 away and it's very costly, she then tried to tell me that it's only 30 minutes away and just for clarification, from where I am, I'm located in the NW, it takes me 20-25 minutes to get to Warrington, 30-40 minutes to get to Liverpool and 60 - 70 minutes to get to Manchester, but apparently she knows better, she has a direct line from her computer to the actual Train Lines, so I had to argue the fact that no, she was wrong and that's completely not the case, even if it were peak vs non peak, that's just wrong, she moved on after this.

 

She had a look at my CV and was overall impressed, she said that I should add on some key skills etc, but I just said flat out, "No thanks, this CV is well up to my standards and the standards of others (that I've sent it too), I'm going to keep it like it is.", she said fine, I can't force you to make any changes but the options are there if needed, so we moved on from that.

 

Throughout a lot of the conversation, she was pretty condescending, a lot of what she said is what I would expect her to say to someone with no qualifications/no goals, but I guess that it's just a rehearsed speech or whatever, so I just looked past it, I didn't let it bother me.

 

One of the things that she informed me about was, around the corner to the WP building is a Market, she informed me that we gather there at least once per week (her and others who are on her WP) and we literally sign on, search for jobs there and help others who are currently in our situation, the way she explained was like the following.

 

I attend and I meet the other people who also attend and say for example if there is a young girl there called Amy and she is looking for retail work, if I go away and see a retail job I will then come back the following week and tell Amy, "Hey Amy, I saw a retail job on X website, maybe you should check it out", this seems completely pointless to me, I don't have time to look for jobs for other people when I'm busy looking for one myself. My Advisor informed me that it's a good programme that has good results, but is currently full, but I'm number #2 in line to be next invited onto this programme/course thing and of course, it is mandatory.

 

She also informed me that I would be (in the future) attending the WP building at least 3 times a week to job search, meet with my advisor and so on, I thought this was a bit excessive, on top of the fact that I've still got to search for jobs on my UJM account, but hey, whatever, I guess this is what has to be done, nothing I can really do about that. At least I'll be getting free busrides on days that I'd be going down anyway.

 

So to summarise, when she input my information onto the computer and the types of jobs that she would help me get, it was Web Development, Admin Work, Tech support and Assistant Technician work, so that wasn't too bad. She also failed at trying to open up a link on Word (as you may know, if you ctrl and click a link in word, it'll open in your preferred browser), I told her this but then she said, "Oh yeah, well there's a problem with it at the moment, I wont bore you with the details", to which I thought was a little funny.

 

One final thing she asked me towards the end was, "Is it as bad as you thought it was going to be?", to which I replied, "I'm not going to lie, but it seems as if what I've read online is true and I doubt I'll get any real help here, but we'll wait and see, wont we." I left shortly after, I was supposed to send my CV over in the form of a Word Document, but I've not had time, she has it in PDF form, so that's that.

 

Sorry about the long post, but I thought I'd try and give back a little bit of information in case it can help anyone in the future. Thanks for reading :).

 

Oh and one important thing that I thought was completely and totally unprofessional was, a chat window on her computer had popped up, (some kind of internal chat feature or something) while she was talking to me and saving some of my information for their records, she opened the chat, read it and then proceeded to respond to it, while I was next to her and answering her questions, I thought this was very rude.

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The interview was for 10:15, I got there and wasn't saw until 10:35, so that was off to a depressing start.

 

Oh and one important thing that I thought was completely and totally unprofessional was, a chat window on her computer had popped up, (some kind of internal chat feature or something) while she was talking to me and saving some of my information for their records, she opened the chat, read it and then proceeded to respond to it, while I was next to her and answering her questions, I thought this was very rude.

 

When i have been kept waiting, my introductory line is usually: "You expect me to be on time. It is only reasonable to expect the same of you." - Yes, I have used this with a WP provider.

 

As for "chat sessions", one "adviser" would sit there banging away at his keyboard and occasionally mumble a few words in my direction. I would turn my back on him in contempt and then berate him for mumbling :madgrin:

 

You are at liberty to provide (or not) your CV in any readable form that you choose. If it is in PDF format (suitably locked to prevent editing), then that should be enough. Not everyone uses M$ Word or any other Microsoft product. If she wants a format that can be edited, you could try telling her that you use LaTeX.

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When i have been kept waiting, my introductory line is usually: "You expect me to be on time. It is only reasonable to expect the same of you." - Yes, I have used this with a WP provider.

 

As for "chat sessions", one "adviser" would sit there banging away at his keyboard and occasionally mumble a few words in my direction. I would turn my back on him in contempt and then berate him for mumbling :madgrin:

 

You are at liberty to provide (or not) your CV in any readable form that you choose. If it is in PDF format (suitably locked to prevent editing), then that should be enough. Not everyone uses M$ Word or any other Microsoft product. If she wants a format that can be edited, you could try telling her that you use LaTeX.

 

I will bear this in mind, haha! Thank you so much, I'm going to use that late line for sure, I'm not wasting my time and getting there early/on time if others can simply not do the same.

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Moto of the day: Treat them as they themselves treat you.

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Well done Fidelity, looks like you got the better of that first encounter. Good comprehensive feedback too, thanks for taking the trouble to do that, hopefully it will help to prepare future 'victims'. Looking forward to the next episode.

You seem to have got a good impression of what you are up against, which looks like not much.

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OK, what the hell is it with making qualified, motivated, computer owning individuals look for work on the work programme's computers three days a week? For how long each day? Is this supposed to be some sort of check the person isn't working and claiming? A measure to encourage people to sign off, or to assist in the application of sanctions? Or is it just to be able to make the claim that they assisted the person find work when the time comes to collect their fee? Do you have an account/ID that you search/apply for jobs on their computer, in other words are they monitoring the jobs so they can check up at a later date to get the proof they need for their payment?

 

I'm not on the work programme, and I understand that some people need much more support and encouragement to find work than others. What I don't understand is why resources are wasted on motivated people. The reality is that the jobs get filled regardless of whether there is a work programme - there aren't employers wailing about how no one is applying for their jobs (though in more specialised positions it may take time to find the right person).

 

The work programme is nothing but an expensive exercise in making sure people aren't getting 'something for nothing' when they claim benefit. It's not about helping a person into work, it's about making life uncomfortable for the claimant and imposing sanctions.

 

I'm all for a voluntary programme where people who want help to find work get targeted, one to one assistance in job seeking, work skills, grants to help provide new skills or education to help with work, or to change to a career with better prospects etc. Spend money on a programme like this, and people who really need help would have so much more resources on offer to them and receive real help, instead of this sham inspired by victorian moralising.

 

We're never going to have 100% employment - business doesn't want it as it puts the ball in the court of the employee rather than the employer, meaning that the employer has to compete for employees, rather than employees having to compete for jobs. There is always going to be a section of society that aren't really ever going to be employable for one reason or another, but we make life difficult for them because in our culture no one is supposed to get something for nothing, not even basic food and shelter. 'Society' wants to know that if they do have to provide these people with subsistence, then the people damn well better be made to suffer for it and jump through as many hoops as possible.

 

The jobs get filled without a mandatory work programme, it is simply a waste of money to force motivated grown ups to jump through continual hoops so that they may continue to eat while they find a job. And forcing professionals to take jobs they don't want, like shop work or warehouse work, means that unqualified people in often poorer circumstances now can't have those jobs. And for the unmotivated people - the jobs aren't there for them anyway, so what is this? A punishment? A life lesson? A moral crusade? A way to funnel tax payer's money to businesses? a way to swindle the jobseeking figures by using sanctions? I would have hoped that by 2015 we would have accepted that every human being is entitled to food and a roof over their head without having to fulfill conditions.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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WP sucks according the the people who reviewed it and found it made zero or a negative difference to people's chances

It does sound like she regurgitated a script

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