Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cait Reilly 1 IDS 0

There can be no doubt a period unpaid placement for job seekers can be usefully and as someone who has undergone them my I have only a few regrets about my experience.

One was a problem with payment. In that you are taken off jobseeker allowance and paid a separate allowance  and then have to reapply at your jobcenter  at the end of your placement. When it would be simpler to simply have people not sign- on for that period  provided they attended the placement as required.

In fact my main regret was that I enjoyed the placement and found that the work I was doing valuable and boosted my CV; But the despair of finding myself thrown back on jobseekers  particularly as I was enjoying myself and the feeling that that at my age it was not making a difference didn't help me.

But at least the work was suited to my talents

The case of  Cait Reilly, who has won her legal fight after the court of appeal declared that almost all of the government's 'work-for-your-benefit' employment schemes were unlawful. is different .

Cait Reilly responded  off accusations that she is little more than a "job snob", as the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith once branded her. She is currently working on the checkout in Morrisons. And she is no scrounger. "I hated being on benefits," she said.

What roused the 24-year-old geology graduate, a self-described reticent and shy woman, who likes to "keep herself to herself", was her Jobcentre telling her that she could no longer do her work experience in her local museum.

Instead, she was told that she had to do unpaid work stacking shelves in Poundland.

"My first reaction was to be really upset because I loved going in there. They [the museum] depended upon me quite a lot and I depended on them for the experience.
"And then it was a feeling of frustration because it didn't make any sense," she said of having to trade one unpaid placement, which she was personally gaining from, to stacking shelves in Poundland – something she had already had plenty of practice doing.
Her Jobcentre managers, she said, "knew I was doing the work experience ... they knew I wanted to go into museum work and they just said, 'you've got to do it, you've got no choice ... it's mandatory.'"
Guardian 13 February 2013 
I wonder what Iain Duncan Smith or ant Westminster politicians reaction would be if their son and daughter was told that apparently their future lay with stacking shelves at Poundland?

But of course they have the connections to make sure that their spouses no matter their academic achievement or lack . Will not spend much time on jobseeker s allowance but Mummy or Daddy will find them a job or an unpaid internship and give them an allowance more than a working class kid getss on the dole.

If any one is a snob its the likes of IDS who believe that those on jobseekers allowance are lazy good for nothings who need to spend time working in a mindless job which will hardly improve their CV and will hardly advance their sense of value.

Indeed we need to ask whether in Cait Reilly's case putting "stacking Shelves " in Poundland  for the sort of jobs she would be applying  for would be a deterrent among Human Resources Managers . Who might simply label her as workshy and point to a compulsory job placement as proof.

What we need are real Jobs on a living wage and not exploit young people like Cait Reilly who clearly was already willing to work unpaid at something she valued rather than be exploited by the likes of Poundland.

1 comment:

Nic said...

I spent three years in retail, three years of being treated like dirt by people who genuinely believed that shop workers are merely one rung above the amoeba. As you can imagine, I'm rather sensitive to job snobbery.

And I honestly couldn't make up my mind whether to laugh or cry in response to those calling Cait Reilly a job snob. She didn't turn down an offer of paid work. She didn't turn down new experience. She didn't turn down a placement having made no arrangements of her own. And, to top it all off, I believe she is now working part-time in a supermarket. So much for her swanning into the graduate jobs market and demanding nothing but the best.

Of course, there are those that are saying Workfare obviously helped if she's now working in retail, but I'm simply not buying that. I might have done if it wasn't for the fact that she didn't already have retail experience, but she did.

I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised by this ruling. Whether or not it truly is a crippling blow to Workfare, I don't know. I have an uncomfortable feeling that a few minor points will be altered and things will carry on much as they have done. But it's possible that Cait Reilly might just have given others the courage to resist.