Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Truth behind Jobcentre Plus advertised jobs

with 36 comments

We are currently analysing past jobs advertised at Jobcentre Plus (be it the Jobcentre Plus website, directgov, job points, jobseekers direct and jobs handed over by advisers) to bring back some pretty nice statistics on the UK labour market.

Every jobseeker knows that:

  • Most agency jobs on there do not exist
  • Jobs from time to time are fake
  • Sometimes job vacancies are merely sting operations by Jobcentre Plus
  • etc.

But did you know that amongst the thousands of new vacancies posted daily, that hundreds are unpaid work trials (workfare) or employment programme “opportunities” that inflate the real number of jobs advertised?  By workfare, we are excluding workfare “work placements” handled by providers…

New builds, many workers not on a wage

A genuine job advert (posted 14/09/2011) is as follows:

Job Code:    OLD/35697
Location:    OLDBURY B69
Hours:          30 PER WEEK OVER 5 DAYS
Wage:            JSA CONTINUATION
Description:   This is a Work Experience opportunity. Interested customers should contact their local Jobcentre to see if they are eligible but must not apply to host employers directly. You should be able to clean to a high standard and be flexible, reliable and thorough. Duties include different stages of cleaning new build houses in preparation for handover to clients and tenants. A driving licence and previous experience in using scrubber dryers and carpet cleaning equipment would be advantageous. This could lead to permanent employment. A CSCS card would be reqd and I have suggested to the employer that this could be financed through the flexible support fund.

This is clearly not a job. Regardless if the gained CSCS certification improves the person’s prospects in the future. Even in the recession, house prices are still of very high value. Someone shouldn’t be doing this work for free, on the expectation that there might be work for them in future… why would there be? They will just get more from the same method, the workfare circle continues…

Work Trial but no job…

Job Code:    ROC/68444
Location:    ROCHDALE OL16
Hours:          16 HRS WEEK, 5 DAYS FROM 7
Description:   Experience preferred but not essential as full training will be given, good communication skills are essential as you will be expected to liaise with our clients.Duties will include general cleaning, vacuuming, mopping and cleaning toilets of domestic, industrial and office locations. The successful applicant will need a full UK driving licence as they will be required to travel around various sites in the North West.Work trial only.

Are you having a f**king laugh? Driving around the North West cleaning toilets for free 5 days a week?! We know the 16 hours is excluding travel time. We assume expenses mean fuel costs.

Workplace training, great but not a job…

Job Code:    RMF/23868
Location:    EAST LONDON RM1
Hours:          16 HRS P/WEEK OVER 5 WEEKS
Wage:            N/A
Description:   Skills Conditionality Mandatory referrals for JSA and ESA WRAG customers only.A comprehensive training package for entry into cleaning roles in offices, schools, hospitals and factories. Course consists of a Level 2 Award in Cleaning Principles, awareness of COSHH, identifying risks in the workplace and preparation for entry into work 1.Refer to Initial Provider Interview LMS Opportunity RMF 23670 and send REF 2 form.Course will begin in October.SL2 must be sent to the College prior to start date for result to be recorded under Skills Conditionality rules.

Just some notes

You may have noticed the above examples are all of cleaning. This is mostly down to a huge database of a million or so entries… and having to work out what looks like paid jobs (regardless if fake or not) and what are workfare. As you can see I got to job titles beginning with C… but I can safely say there are at least a few thousand of these “opportunities” last year across all different industries…

There is volunteering for your local community and/or for a charity, then there is working for free to benefit some profitable company. We do not recommend it. I am sure as these are on the Labour Market System, some people were forced to apply at threat of benefit sanctions.

Only a few examples, to keep the research under-wraps prior to realising statistics on the entire year.


Written by Universal Jobmatch

February 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

36 Responses

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  1. Waterstones ends unpaid work placements after investigation

    Waterstones stops using unpaid jobseekers, as government rejects claim scheme is contrary to Human Rights Act

    The high street book store Waterstones has pulled out of a government scheme that employed unpaid jobseekers in its stores after a Guardian investigation uncovered the practice at one of its outlets.

    More than a dozen other high street chains have been taking on unemployed workers for weeks without pay as part of the government’s Work Experience scheme and others like it.

    In a case lodged in the high court, the government has defended itself against claims that the unpaid work experience schemes are contrary to Human Rights Act legislation on forced labour.

    Cait Reilly, a 22-year-old geology graduate, brought her case against the Department for Work and Pensions, saying she was made to work in her local Poundland store branch for three weeks without pay.

    In court papers filed on Wednesday, the DWP admitted that it made a mistake by not telling Reilly she had a chance to opt out of the placement. But it says her scheme and others like it are not contrary to the Human Rights Act, and the department is “strongly resisting” the case.

    In an 11-page document setting out a provisional defence for a case that could affect the position of hundreds of thousands of jobseekers in a similar position, the DWP has argued that having benefits docked does not equate to forcing the unemployed to work.

    “Where a person is required to perform a task and, if he or she does not do so, loses benefit, that is not forcing a person to work.”

    The Guardian understands that the department is facing multiple legal challenges to the terms of various unemployment programmes, including the recently announced Community Action Programme in which those out of work for a number of years must work for six months unpaid, including at profit-making businesses, in order to keep their benefits.

    The Guardian has found that Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Asda, Maplin, TK Maxx, Matalan, Primark, Holland & Barrett, Boots, McDonald’s, Burger King and the Arcadia group of clothes stores, owned by the billionaire Sir Philip Green, have all taken staff via “work-for-your-benefits” programmes.

    James Moorehead, who recently finished an eight-week stint working unpaid for the electronics retailer Maplin, said he found his jobcentre-organised placement exploitative.

    Moorehead, 24, who holds a degree in computer games programming, said he found Maplin staff to be very helpful but resented the idea of stacking shelves, taking deliveries and doing stock-taking for no wage.

    “While I understand the need to gain experience to get a job I think the whole idea of unpaid placements like this are unfair,” he said. “We’re doing the same amount of hours and work as actual employees and temp staff are doing, and we’re doing it just as well and there is no guarantee of a job at the end of it, meaning it could potentially be all for nothing.”

    Moorehead said after finishing his placement on 20 January, the DWP then asked him to work in their own local office for a further eight weeks, again without pay. On hearing this, Moorehead said Maplin staff offered him 12 hours of paid shift work a week so he could be exempted.

    Another young graduate jobseeker, who wanted to be known only as Thomas, said he worked at Waterstones from late August until early October without pay and after a few weeks was doing the work of other employees.

    “They got me to do a lot of the grunt work, such as moving entire book sections around the store. I never saw anybody else do this kind of work. I was also shelving a great deal, which regular employees didn’t bother with too much.

    Thomas said this impacted on his ability to search for other jobs. “Technically, I had time to look for other jobs. When I finished a day’s work, or on the weekends I could browse graduate sites and send off emails. However, when you work a physical job full-time it’s very difficult to put much effort in when you’re finally home.”

    Waterstones said that after the Guardian highlighted the practice at one of its stores, it initiated a review and no longer allowed branch managers to take on work experience people as it did not want to encourage working without pay.

    In his autumn statement in November, the chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the number of eight-week work experience placements would be massively extended to 250,000 places over three years to be funded from the £940m youth contract.

    Under the previous Future Jobs Fund set up by the Labour administration, subsidised work placements were restricted to public bodies and charities and work experience was limited to only two weeks.

    A spokesperson for the DWP said: “Our priority is to help people off benefits and into work. We are looking to help people get practical experience that will give them a better chance of getting into work.

    “It is simply absurd to suggest that we should not be providing this support and effectively leaving people at home doing nothing. The DWP is strongly resisting this challenge.”

    Many of the big chains involved in the scheme say they do not know how many unemployed people have been working for free in their stores because the placements are arranged at a local level and not through head office.

    One of the companies involved in rolling out work experience placements is the health store Holland and Barrett, which has 1,000 such placements across 250 stores.

    A full-time employee at one Holland and Barrett store, who did not want to be identified, said they believed the placements were starting to replace paid work.

    “We have had a number of placements in our store and have noticed that the hours for part-time staff have been reduced. Staff are upset because we are all struggling to make ends meet,” the employee said.

    “The real benefactors of this scheme are the companies who receive millions of pounds worth of labour absolutely free of charge and the losers are the jobseekers who see potential jobs being filled by workfare placements for months at a time and the loyal part-timers who find their regular overtime hours savagely cut.”

    Holland and Barrett said it had taken on about 50 work experience jobseekers as paid employees. “We have committed to working with JobCentre Plus to make available 1,000 work placements available for young people aged between 16 and 24 years. We have 250 stores taking part in the scheme as well as our head office and distribution and packaging site,” it said.

    “We ensure they are given skills and confidence to move forward with their job search and of course a valuable reference.

    In a statement, Maplin said: “We are more than happy to get behind the different work experience schemes nationwide. We fully support, where possible, placements initiated by the local employment offices to get individuals into the working environment.

    “This is by no means a way of replacing our current paid employees as all the individuals involved are shadowing a full-time member of staff.”

    A spokesperson for the Arcadia group, which includes Topshop, Burton, BHS and Miss Selfridge, said: “Arcadia are committed to providing both work experience and career opportunities in both head office and retail. Our stores currently work with the local Jobcentre Plus contact and any work placement arrangements are agreed at a local level. Our stores also work on an ongoing basis to support the community.”

    Article here.

    The Guardian

    February 3, 2012 at 11:40 am

    • Good on waterstones!!

      Well… Unlawful Sanctions will be loving this information. My understanding of the above is, the DWP sees it as not forced work because benefits are not conditional on taking part (i.e. you don’t have to work to have an active claim)… only you can lose benefits in the future for failing to do so… Unlawful Sanctions has been claiming that benefit sanctions are directly comparable to refusing someone benefits in the first place.

      Work Programme

      February 3, 2012 at 11:45 am

      • I read this comment, and then this on the Boycott Workfare site: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=328

        “Royal Mail “Work Experience” Programme

        The leadership of Communication Workers Union have this week issued a letter to branches stating they will support DWP ’Work Experience’ at the Royal Mail. The scheme will begin with ten 30 hour a week workfare placements at a time in each region. Over the course of a year, each region will see 130 forced unpaid workers. There is no sign of any jobs at the end for those forced to take part in the scheme.”

        Andrew Coates

        February 3, 2012 at 11:52 am

      • Of course no-one is being “forced to work”! You can always sign-off!

        Voice of the Work Programme

        February 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm

  2. I agree. Not being able to eat food or heat a room to survive the winter is a mere inconvenience.

    So, experiencing some work for £2.25 an hour is an honour,

    I am going to appear on the BBC and sing a song of joy on breakfast TV in a show of great passion for our beloved country and how wonderful and beautiful our glorious leaders are.
    For showing me what life is, to make me feel like I am serving them well and being a model citizen. That I was straying from a righteous pathway to work, that I was steered back to being whole and appreciated by our society and that I am doing my duty.

    Hang on, that’s not quite right…

    Mr No

    February 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    • Voice of the Work Programme :
      Of course no-one is being “forced to work”! You can always sign-off!

      You are so clueless when you can not afford to feed yourself because the jobcentre sanction everyone when they please and you think people who have been brought up poor have options lmao your more stupid than i thought ill tell you what society shows is that they help the rich and don’t care about the poor thats why rich company’s don’t care about geting free work they love it and then the jobcentre get funds from the big company’s for helping them get free employees its wrong and society needs to wake up it only takes people to stand up and fight before changes start to change


      November 11, 2013 at 8:12 am

  3. @Voice of WP
    Why don’t you troll off back to Indus Delta?


    February 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

  4. Work programme on track, Chris Grayling says

    About 20% of unemployed people who have been on the government’s main welfare-to-work scheme, the Work Programme, for at least six months have been found a job, the BBC has learnt.

    The figures come from the trade body representing the main contractors delivering the programme.

    The government says the figures show the programme is on target.

    But several contractors have said they are struggling to employ the long-term jobless in the current climate.

    “The early indications for those customers who started in June 2011 are broadly in line with expectations,” said Kirstie McHugh, chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), which provided the figures.

    “However, the economy is a concern so we are going to have to keep a close eye on things.”

    When the programme was launched in June 2011, the government said it hoped that 40% of people on it would get a job but speaking to the PM programme on BBC Radio 4, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said he was still pleased with the progress.

    “The Work Programme is doing a good job and is on track. It is helping long-term unemployed people into work.”

    The overall figures provided by the ERSA may well hide regional variations and several contractors and sub-contractors spoken to by the BBC have expressed concerns about the situation in their own areas.

    Other figures obtained by the BBC show that in some areas – one in central Scotland, one in south-west England – fewer than 10% of people on the work programme have been placed in a job.

    In Liverpool, one of the main contractors, A4E, says it has managed to find work for 10% of people, while in Barnsley, the local council, which is one of the sub-contractors, says it is managing to place about 12% in a job.

    “The problem we face is that the jobs simply aren’t there,” said Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Council, “so no matter how good the work programme is, there aren’t jobs for people to go to.”

    Referral fees

    Under the terms of the Work Programme, contractors are paid a fee, usually £400, when the job centre refers an unemployed person to them, typically someone who has been looking for work for a year.

    Further, larger payment can then be made when a person has been in sustainable employment for up to two years. The harder the company has to work to find and keep someone in a job, the more money they get.

    But Mr Houghton said the rules actually worked against the people the scheme was intended to help, the very hardest to employ.

    “We are concerned that the providers, and we are doing this, are taking the low hanging fruit,” said Mr Houghton.

    “Even though the work programme gives more money for getting the really long-term unemployed into a job, the reality is that in order to help our cash flows and keep our organisation going, we have to take the easiest ones [to find work for] in the first instance.”


    Thirty-eight year-old Martin Williams, from St Helens, has been on the work programme for five months.

    Having been unemployed for eight years and attended previous back-to-work schemes with the same contractor, he is understandably frustrated.

    “They haven’t helped me at all. It dehumanises you, and you feel worse,” said Mr Williams.

    “It got to the stage where I thought I’d rather be hit by a bus than come in here which is not the right frame of mind to be in when you are looking for a job.”

    The challenges facing the Work Programme will be investigated by the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee next week.

    One witness at the hearing will be Professor Dan Finn of Portsmouth University, an expert in welfare-to-work programmes.

    He says the scheme has had a difficult birth.

    “It’s been rapidly designed and implemented. [During that time] employment circumstances have deteriorated so inevitably it’s had a rocky start,” said Prof Finn.

    Article here.

    The BBC

    February 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

  5. Comment from a wp sub-contractor on Indus Delta:

    “The Prime are insisting that we sanction clients after one missed appointment, regardless of previous attendance levels. This seems likely to undo all the progress we make in trying to break down the client’s barriers in the first place. Even my work ready clients( not many of those) will be alienated.”

    From here.

    Indus Delta

    February 4, 2012 at 9:55 am

    • Why not gather a group of your employees to visit the prime armed with baseball bats and knuckle dusters?

      I do not endorse or suggest violence is the way, but whats the point of logging on to Indus Delta bitching (complaining) about a “prime” whilst too scared to relay this back to the prime saying you aren’t prepared to do this?

      Yeah, something on your conscience w2w employee? Feeling guilty about the 3 people you sanctioned last week without prior merit?

      Also, bragging about “work ready”… “clients” … I am sure most these people will be “ready” for “work” if you gave them a proper sustainable job. Too much emphasis on unemployment being the persons problem and fault – and not the external factors like the state of the economy, employer attitudes and lack of jobs.

      Work Programme

      February 4, 2012 at 10:12 am

  6. Why don’t you lazy, bone-idle scroungers do all of us hard-working taxpayers a favour and go and sign-off!

    Voice of the Work Programme

    February 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

    • is that before or after you get sacked from your hard-working job and are replaced with a forced labour work programme non waged “employee” at great taxpayer expense but at a substantial saving to your company?


      February 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    • Er, because then we wouldn’t have any money at all !.

      Miss H

      November 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      • My last comment was in reply to what Voice of the Work Programme said.

        Miss H

        November 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    • Voice Of The Work Programme:- If as you say you are a hard working tax payer. What are you doing looking at a website for as you put it ”bone idle scroungers”. We are giving each other advice and warnings etc. Do us a favour and
      DO ONE


      May 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

    • To The ”Voice Of The Work Programme” Post Number 10 February 4 At 10:20 AM
      When if and when you have the misfortune to become economically inactive, you too could be grateful of the advice of this website. In the meantime, please bear in mind we are NOT scroungers or bone idle, we are looking for work. But due to the economic situation in this country, there are too many people chasing too few jobs.

      A Blogger

      May 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

    • i hope you get made redundant and then get replaced by a work experience employee that would be funny as and i’m sure it will happen with a attitude like that you need to grow up and realize its not about being lazy its about society idiot


      November 11, 2013 at 8:21 am

  7. so i pay £200-£300 in taxes, a week. For well-over 5 years. worked as a plasterer for 20 years paying taxes.. Get laid off from work and replaced with a polish man, who is willing to work on a salary i was getting 17 years earlier, for an extract 3 hours per shift. Then told i’m not a plasterer, without paper work,{y.t.s grant funding stopped} while the polish man get’s fast tracked.Then i’m Put on jsa because i cant walk onto any building site in england. i asked the jobcentre for help, after being told to wait 6 months before i can get offered for a course or funding to get my paper work, and wait 8 months. i get sent to a workshop where a tiller with a teaching degree try’s to show my how to plasterer after being one for 20 years.FUNNY. i’m all set, oh got the cscs card that i needed as well, plus the van, tool,s. Now the jobs at the jobcentre don’t exsist. i phone them, there is never an answer or reply. sent cv and covering letters, to adresses. that do not exsist. I have no clothes , had to give up driving my insurance is £220 a month , and i have to live off £6 a day for food for me my dog plus my electric, water and travel, i had to cancell my phone and internet.i cant afford simple things like deodarant or shaving blades. ive applyed for cleaning jobs carework gardening jobs, All the old jobs on building sites, that i have done in the past , groundwork laying pipes using jack hammers or chain saws, driving forklifts i now need paper work . i have to work for no wages on a work placement from the jobcentre, for experience. what a joke. i asked the advisor for a job . i said i would pick up poo of a warehouse floor ,but there only employing 18-24 year olds for trainee money. i want a real job with real wages. I though if i stayed out of trouble with the police, learn a trade and didn’t knock out children i couldn’t afford , that when i reached 30 i could by a house and start a family, No i got turned into a tramp and given £60 for food and forced to work for free.


    February 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

  8. Whenever I read this I am reminded of an account of the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Germans decided that the people living there must be guilty of theft because they were not provided with enough food yet not enough had died of starvation.

    Will the next step be to imprison people who lose their benefits unless they can show how they are surviving?

    Ghetto Dweller

    February 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    • already happens mate, after I won an appeal, the first thing the jobcentre done, when you’d think they’d make a back payment, was to launch an inquiry into how I had survived the sanction period! unbelievable!

      jobcentre victim

      February 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    • yeah, they expected me to be DEAD… cos that was the PLAN!! f!”£$%^&!!

      jobcentre victim

      February 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

  9. I have only been unemployed for seven months after losing my job to redundancy. In that time I have applied for over 200 jobs, resulting in seven interviews, which included a “face saving” interview, ie being interviewed for a job that had actually already gone to a friend or family member of a worker but they had to make the competition seem viable. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to improve my employability. I started a course/voluntary work program that lasted for 2 months which would culminate in me achieving 3 recognised qualifications which would widen my jobsearch. I also enrolled on an IT course, which I paid for out of my own pocket, because I wasnt told that the jobcentre itself could refer me to such things, free of charge. Now I have been but forward to a Work Experience Placement, in the actual jobcentre itself, to gain administration and customer service experience. When I was in full time employment, my employment was in admin and customer service, FOR TWENTY THREE YEARS! So, by doing four months admin work at the Jobcentre when I am not even entitled to JSA because of my redundancy package I would have to give up all my other courses and voluntary work (which run for less than 16 hours a week) and lose all those recognised qualifications which would have enabled me to widen my jobsearch. But hey ho, I will have another 4 months worth of admin and customer service experience to add to my previous twenty three years worth.

    Can anyone see the logic in that?

    I was under the impression that the purpose of the Jobcentre was to help us all get back to work and offer us support, advice and encouragement and so far all that place has done for me is hinder me and add to my stress, anxiety and dissapointment.

    jobless and trying

    May 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm

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  22. I do not create many responses, but i did some searching and wound up here
    Truth behind Jobcentre Plus advertised jobs . And I actually do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind.
    Is it just me or does it seem like some of the comments look as if they are written by brain dead
    people? 😛 And, if you are writing on other social sites, I would like to keep up with
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