New Deal or no deal?

  rodriguez 14:50 13 Feb 2007

Just finished another brainless day at the place that is the latest attempt to get the unemployed people back into work. When the Job Centre put me on the New Deal programme last year, I thought "Great, now maybe these can help me get a job." However in reality it was a tale of misery and woe...

The first week involved them giving us interview tips, which was fair enough. But this then moved on to them telling us how to fill in a job application form. Now I thought it was just a simple case of filling in the boxes, however when I found out there was to be a lesson on it I thought there must be some sort of twist - but nope I was correct, the guy just went through the whole paper telling us what we should put in the boxes (BTW the boxes were also labelled). Then after this first week, the fun really started. Well "fun" meaning sitting there looking for jobs with no other help whatsoever (which is what I can, and have been doing, at home anyway). This means it was no different to before I started, except now I don't have the comfort or direct access to the computer that I would at home, so it's actually worse. I ended up writing job details in my phone and phoning up to apply for the jobs when I got home because both (yes there were only 2) phones were always in use because the place was way overcrowded. So overcrowded in fact, that people who arrived later than the others wouldn't get seats so they stood up. Finally this "option" finished at Christmas (the fact that they're called options is a joke, they are in fact compulsory) so I got put onto the 2nd "option" which is in Dudley and is supposed to involve them putting me out on work placement in the hope of it leading to full employment. Both these placement attempts failed miserably - the 1st one they didn't even tell me I had an interview there for it, and the 2nd they sent me and I was told they already had someone on placement so was sent home. And what do we do now for 6 hours a day? Look in the paper for jobs (which are usually out of date) and play "spot the most bizarre item for sale in the Bargain Pages". Surely there are better things to do with my time than this, but no. If you leave, they stop your money so you can't even go round looking in agencies. In fact, they'll try and stop your money for pretty much anything. Even if I finally had enough and jumped head first through the window (without opening it first) and plunged to my doom, someone would shout down "we're closing your claim". Another problem is my age - I have to apply for a lot of jobs as I'm only 20 and people want at least 2 years experience, so maybe for every 10 I send out, I get one interview.

So anyway, I'd be interested if anyone else has had similar experiences with the New Deal "scheme" (I think maybe the person who thought of it was wearing baggy trousers and a red nose). The 2 places I'm referring to are West Brom and Dudley - these are no help at all, and if anything they make it harder to get a job, but in other parts of the country it may actually be useful. Found out the addresses of about 13 agencies to visit tomorrow. If New Deal won't help me get a job, then someone else will.

  Kate B 15:01 13 Feb 2007

Sorry to hear that you're having such a disheartening experience, rodriguez.

What kind of job are you looking for? I'd suggest that you ask the Job Centre folk help you put together a really good CV and then you simply start phonebashing and writing letters. Find out who is the best person to write to - and get the correct spelling of their name - and write them a personal letter, keeping it to one page and enclosing your polished CV. Follow it up with a polite phone call asking not if they've got a job for you but seeking feedback on your approach and asking advice. People *love* being asked for advice so it endears you to them.

I really think it takes a lot of self-starter-type initiative. Most of the best jobs are never advertised. And good luck - it's no fun, I'm sure, being out of work, and it's very hard to find jobs, despite remarks in other threads about how no able-bodied person needs to be without work.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 15:03 13 Feb 2007

personally I think you are much better off applying to agencies rather than this New deal. They have to aim the course at the lowest common denominator and believe me this is low. The work form agencies will probably be production type but at least you are in a place of work. As a top up there is usually a lot of bar work around and *ahem* it is up to you to declare the income.


  rodriguez 15:15 13 Feb 2007

I was looking for I.T (did a 2 year course at college) but there aren't a lot of I.T jobs that only need the BTEC qualification I've got. I used to work as a technician, basically building repairing and setting up machines from scratch but there aren't a lot of jobs like that about. So now I've started applying for office and warehouse jobs, but even these are starting to say they need at least 2 years experience so I send off for all the trainee ones. The other thing I might try again is looking in the yellow pages and sending off letters to all the computer places to see if there are any jobs going (I did that last time and got 1 interview). Anyway, I'll give my CV to these agencies tomorrow and say what type of work I'm looking for and see if anything happens...

  Kate B 15:17 13 Feb 2007

Could you set up as a freelance, doing short-term contracts? One of the things about the modern economy to bear in mind is that there are fewer "proper" jobs about and much more room for the consultant/freelance/contractor. I'd suggest talking to people who are already doing well on their own and asking their advice.

  Sapins 16:07 13 Feb 2007

Hi, I can't offer you any help, I'm retired and live in France, but I just had to write and say good luck. If you keep showing the application and attitude you have outlined I am sure you will find something.

I nearly missed your post as I thought the title referred to that TV programme:-)

  The Brigadier 16:14 13 Feb 2007

Go to your local College and see what IT courses you can do for free being on benefit. You may well find a course suitable for you.
As for qualifications for IT a friend found NVQ's were not that great, CompTIA & Microsoft courses carry more weight, see if you can do any of them locally?
But keep your chin up, keep looking and i'm sure something will come along.
May not be you, but HM Forces are always looking out for people to take on in IT/Comms sections, or even your local TA unit?

  realist 16:30 13 Feb 2007

Hi rodriguez

Was interested to read your experiences.

I think you have good motivation and you need to build on that to push your agenda along and achieve your aim (which you need to define).

I would suggest you write some notes to define where you want to be job-wise in say five years' time.

Once done that defines your aim. Then you need to write your action plan for achieving that aim and break it down into simple steps.

Most important is to keep a diary of what you've done so far and to use that to measure your progress ( or see where there has been no progress) so you stay on top of the problem and don't let matters slide.

It all sounds blooming obvious, but it's great when you are pushing yourself along rather than having some DWP official on your case!

  rodriguez 18:04 13 Feb 2007

Cheers everyone - the New Deal place is a joke though, which is why I'm taking your suggestions on board. They even "tell you off" if you leave early or are late - as if you're some naughty schoolboy. Went to the dentist yesterday, told them on Friday that I had dentist appointment for the Monday, they didn't take much notice, then they had a go at me today about not going in. I suppose I did waste a good 6 hours of looking through last week's papers though on Monday so I've learnt my lesson. Maybe next time they'll send me to the headteacher. :-(

  Kate B 18:19 13 Feb 2007

I can sort of understand that, actually - some people need to get into the habit of being somewhere on time; and if they've made an appointment for you, you're wasting their time if you turn up late or don't turn up at all. But how annoying if you'd warned them in advance and they hadn't taken that on board.

  do-gull 18:20 13 Feb 2007

The add on the radio makes me laff!!!

"I spoke to Nina at job centre plus and she gave me all the help I needed" Ha!!

My wife phoned the job centre about about a vacancy and asked " while I'm on the phone have you any other job vacancies in retail"

The answer...... " sorry can't help you unless you have a referance number!!!

Reminds me of the Cathrine Tate sketch...........



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