Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Training for the Unemployed ‘Failing’.

with 5 comments

The BBC reports,

Colleges in England are failing to put job seekers on courses that help them find work, inspectors warn.

Instead, these adults are being offered basic classes which simply lead to qualifications or more training, a report from the watchdog Ofsted says.

Fewer than one in five job seekers found employment after taking courses at further education centres, it found.

It follows a push by ministers to get colleges to prioritise vocational training for unemployed adults.

These courses are known as “Getting into Work Courses” “Getting Back to Work Courses” and so forth.

I have personally not heard of this in Suffolk.

But elsewhere they follow this kind of pattern:

Get the skills to help you get back into work. These courses will offer you entry-level training and there are a range of subjects to choose from.

A Work Club runs alongside the courses, offering support with job searches, applications, and interview preparation.

This course is free if you are claiming Job seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance and have a referral letter from your Job Centre Plus adviser.

It’s  not hard to imagine that such qualifications stand little chance of helping people compete with fully qualified individuals with particular skills.

But it  would be interesting to find how the Welfare-to-Work Business (from A4E, SEETEC, etc) is doing in this respect, with their own version of ‘getting people back to work’. this involves, at least for some, ‘courses’.

We hear that Ofsted no longer inspects the Welfare-to-Work Industry.

The report found that out of 10,270 jobseekers at 31 colleges and other FE centres, 19% found work.

This compares favourably with what we know about the success rates of the clients of A4E.


5 Responses

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  1. does not surprise me – I work in an FE college.
    Retention of students (even those who don’t try) and progression (Persuading students to come back and do another course, after the first one has ended) seem to be the most important considerations. This is how the college attracts money. Also mostly pointless courses such as “Alcohol Awareness” and “Diversity and Equality” which tend to get stuck onto vocational courses. None of the students take these seriously, but they attract further funding from the govt. The whole education system is geared towards teaching students how to pass the exams, not giving a meaningful insight into a subject. We have to look good on league tables and in inspections – that, and money for “bums on seats”, all that seems to count.


    July 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

    • I can well imagine this.

      But the Work Programme providers did their own courses which are probably worse. They seem to have cut down now – since the funding is geared towards placing people in jobs, which means concentrating on those already likely to get work, and ‘parking’ the rest.

      While they still did them I did one on something like Motivation (can’t recall the exact title) and it included advice such as looking in the mirror every morning and saying “I am a worthwhile person and I will succeed.” The booklist had Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus on it.

      Plenty of other examples come to mind – many from people who’ve posted about them here.

      Personally as someone with a degree I would not find basic literaracy of much use – though they did try to get me on such a course.

      Andrew Coates

      July 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

  2. You are what is termed “Low Hanging Fruit” colleges try to get students to take easy courses, so they will pass and make the colleges figures look good. A couple of years ago the college where I work tried to get all staff to take level 1 – 2 literacy and numeracy for no reason other than to boost our figures. (I have a Ba and a BSc, a PGCE and an Ma by the way). As I said before in not so many words: its not about educating / training helping or improving, its all about success rates, figures and league tables. This has been brought about by a govenment that is obsessed with controlling that which it does not understand, and measuring things for the sake of measuring.


    July 12, 2012 at 11:39 am

  3. Hi Anon.
    You say:
    “This has been brought about by a govenment that is obsessed with controlling that which it does not understand, and measuring things for the sake of measuring.”

    Well that may well be an accurate summation of the Government’s attitude to further education (I wouldn’t know as I stopped being formally educated many, many years ago).
    It is also true of the Work Programme.
    Strange world we live in.


    July 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm

  4. Spot on anon

    I cant speak for every area but most of the colleges around the mids didnt want to get involved as its not their responsibility but because of being the snakes they are the government used the reduced funding to force them into it.

    It appears yet again unless things change which could well happen engineering takes the big beating and as a result far fewer courses are concession based,infact the government even though they say they dont, owe money to alot of colleges which has ended in these colleges having to keep students who were eligible for concessions on at zero cost or should i say the college funded it out of their own pocket.

    This government has really messed things up as this is the worst college year i have seen, teachers being offered early/vol retirement ,teachers sacked for lame reasons,teachers handing their notice in. In my college alone at least 5 and a half days of my full year were without a single solitary teacher to teach us yet we had to turn up as your attendance forms apart of your qual ( must attend 80% of course or fail automatically).

    Whats really amusing however is the fact that theirs all these so-called experts to instruct you on how to find work yet this industry has no qualifications of its own, look at any ad for an advisor and all you see is any degree or equivalent.

    To put some prospective in, even retail and warehouse have a qualifications so what does that tell you?


    July 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

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