This is some really dumb rubbish I'm getting from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) right now. OK, let me explain.
I'm unemployed, have been for years. This means I'm entitled to claim unemployment benefit, although it's officially called Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA). That name is to make the point that you aren't given it for being out of work, but for LOOKING FOR WORK. Anyone who isn't looking for work is not entitled to claim JSA. When you sign on for JSA, you have to agree to sign a contract called a Job Seekers' Agreement. It states the rules you have to follow, and the results of failure to follow those rules.
1) You must be able and willing to work.
2) You must be available to start work immediately if you are offered a job.
3) You must show up to all appointments made by the DWP, including any and all training sessions they sign you up for.
4) You must complete a minimum number of job applications at all times. This varies slightly, but a general figure is 1 job application per day. This must also use all appropriate methods of finding and applying for jobs. 5) This used to include sending out unsolicited CVs, making cold-calls to companies asking if they had any vacancies, and replying to ads in the newspaper. All of these have been superceded by
6) Universal Jobmatch, which you must use to record all job-searching and applying activities on. A jobcentre advisor checks your computer activity log each time you sign on, every 2 weeks.
If you don't complete your job search activity diary regularly, apply for at least 1 job a day, turn up to sign on every 2 weeks (to prove you're still looking for work), turn up to all other appointments made (to check you're not working and getting paid on the sly), and turn up to any training sessions/courses that the jobcentre book you into with sometimes little-to-no warning, then they can and will stop your benefits for however long they deem to be a suitable punishment. I recently missed a 2hr session on writing resumés - by accident - informed them willingly and asked if there was another chance to attend the session on another day, and got my benefits stopped for A MONTH for my trouble. (Admittedly, if I hadn't come forward, it might easily have been even longer).
The laughable part of it all though, is that the jobcentre don't like it when people enrol themselves into training courses.
I recently enrolled in my local community college on their AAT Accountancy course. It's quite expensive, but all courses at levels 1 and 2 (up to GCSE difficulty) are free for anybody claiming Job Seekers' Allowance, so I I get a free start at it. Sweet! Until I told the Jobcentre I had signed up, and was told by my advisor that doing a course - even a part-time course like this one, 2 days per week - could affect or even stop my benefit as I'm not available around the clock to start work if I get offered a job.
OK, fair enough, it does cut down the hours I'm available for work slightly. That's fair, right?
Except last November, the Jobcentre themselves sent me on a course titled "Employability" at the same college, which was about writing my resumé, proper interview technique, thinking outside the box, planning and making ideas, etc...in other words, all the usual rubbish that the Jobcentre had sent me on about 5 times already that year. And it was a full-time course - I was there every weekday for a WHOLE MONTH. Surely that would greatly affect my ability to take up employment immediately, wouldn't it?
But apparently, that's okay, because the Jobcentre sent me on that course, and that's more important than getting a job. But if I enrol in a 2 day-per-week course, I'm threatened with maybe having my benefits cut for not being available to work. Wait, what?
Indeed, telling my advisor today that I've finished the level 1 AAT course and am now enrolled for the following level 2 AAT course, she basically said that if I find work then I'll have to ditch my course, but that I absolutely MUST attend a 7th stupid resumé-writing course next Tuesday under penalty of getting my benefits stopped again. Because clearly, THEIR dumb session is of paramount importance in getting me back to work (when I've done 6 others just like it in the last year), while my studies to become a qualified Accounting Technician and drastically improve my chances of being offered work in my chosen field are utterly irrelevant. She also said that if the Jobcentre books me an appointment (for however-stupid a reason) on the same day as my college course is taking place, then their appointment takes precedence 100% of the time over actual studies.
How the hell does THAT make the slightest bit of sense??? Yes, I understand that the DWP/Jobcentre are paying my benefits, but that doesn't mean that they are absolutely the most important thing in (hopefully) getting me back into work, I feel that this AAT course will improve my chances far more than yet *another* resumé-writing session ever could. But logic doesn't apply to these idiots in the DWP, just meeting their quota of appointments, sending jobseekers on pointless resumé-writing courses over and over, and quotas of sanctions. They don't give a shit that I'm trying to become qualified so I can get into work, because it doesn't fit THEIR quotas.
Here endeth the rant about the stupid Department of Work and Pensions.
My accounts: Yet-One-More-Idiot
- cartoon art commissions Power-and-Chaos
- traditional and digital realistic art commissions, photos RTCF
- the Royal Toon Cadet Forces of the Kingdom of Loldova
Please check out all these great artists I've worked with! ^_^
In-progress commissions I've paid artists to draw for me:
*6FB+BG *10FB+BG *3AFB