Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

On Back to Work Courses.

with 63 comments

There must be many people, if not all of us, who read Ipswich Unemployed Action, who’ve done (and have had to have done) courses on helping you back to work.

Despite having finished the Work Programme I just did a Course (half a day) on Effective Job Searching.

The back-to-work industry is focused on getting people’s CVs right.

This is useful and you can’t complain.

There’s also the guidelines on how to apply for jobs, use the Net, keep records, set goals, and prepare for interviews.

So far so good.

Though having done a handful I can’t say that I’ve learnt more by having to do to more and more and more of them.

One thing I have noticed is that as the welfare-to-work industry gets more desperate about their pitiful record in the Work Programme the more intense the pressure on claimants has become.

It used to be that we should present ourselves respectable and take a serious attitude towards getting a job.

At the worse it was if we should be like agricultural labourers in the 19th century.

They had ‘fairs’ where the assorted shepherds, milkmaids, cordwainers, cowmen, and ploughmen, not to mention domestic servants, would assemble in their best clothes and clogs, covered with ribbons, and smiling, all looking for the kindly farmers and gentry who would employ them.

Now it’s our CV’s that are bedecked with finery.

Yet I notice that we are expected to do more.

We have to make nuisance calls, and generally pester people saying ‘Give us a job please.”

Those giving the courses (I am not signaling out any individual, but if the cap fits…), seem have got harder as well.

Inspiring tales (true or not) of those who’ve found work are only a step away from saying that those who have not got any are to blame themselves.

The idea that the high streets are increasingly derelict (post-Xmas), that machinery, from automatic check-outs to robotics, are making the long-term  need for human employment less likely, never gets mentioned.

Instead it’s get up and go! Be like me!

Live off the out-of-work the UK’s Unemployment Industry.

And, I hate, really hate, an audience being called “you guys”.

It’s like that tick in the shops, “Sorry to keep you waiting.”

I am not a ‘guy’, blood.


63 Responses

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  1. I know what your saying and that’s why I love going on them but as I end up leaving all who attend with me with more questions than answers, DWP try their best not to put me on it or interview courses. I regularly visit jobclubs around my area that aren’t a part of DWPs schemes and all practice the same tired crap, often always lacking important skills like IT, knowledge of laws surround the net,DPA,etc and no working knowledge of the correct use of English.

    If people are unaware, these employability tutors are not requested by law to be qualified, infact theirs no formal qualification for such a practice making them no more qualified to teach the subject than yourselves.

    Being a ex recruiter or welfare worker doesn’t make you an authority as both often always practice the art of creating fraudulent CVs while claiming that an interview is a bum licking lesson when infact apart from an overview is in the real sense a negotiation of contract terms for both parties involved.

    Theirs nothing I would like more than someone to think out of the box,sadly I have yet to witness anything beyond a truly tried and failed system.


    December 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm



    December 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

  3. You may have heard today that people in work is up, please be aware that this doesn’t take into account the period of time the term of employment is meaning being Christmas that a reasonable portion will be temp Christmas work and the growing number of people leaving DWP and declaring themselves as selfemployed despite lacking any professional skillsets not to mention customers meaning most within a year will once again be unemployed.

    Lastly worth to mentioning is that officially anyone on a government back to work scheme IS COUNTED AS EMPLOYED ON STATISTICS.


    December 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    • You forgot those on SANCTIONS. They are not counted in the unemployment figures!


      December 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      • That one I cant prove Ed but technically if you are sanctioned for NOT ACTIVELY SEEKING WORK or REDUCED AVAILABILITY then it could. I also remember reading a while back that if a person does a temp job and then signs on say a quarter of the way through a month that, that person is to be counted as employed for that said month despite as INFO states they are now receiving benefit.

        I don’t know about you but I for one would love to know where these people are who signed off that the tories brag about are now in work (mainly those unemployed longer than 6 months).


        December 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

    • Does that mean although you are getting jsa on the wp you are not included in the gigs for unemployed


      December 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

  4. YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH even though signing and on wp ?


    December 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    • Quite correct INFO but DWP would disagree as what do you and I know about English and Math, we according to them cant even produce a CV let alone know how to communicate with our fellow humans.


      December 6, 2013 at 9:42 am

  5. Modern Day Slavery Debate – Live now on the Parliament Channel – House of Commons.

    Not one word about Workfare or MWA’s/CWP’s.

    Fucking hippocrites!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    • That’s because theirs nothing left to take that wouldn’t send ripples, another reason why sanctioning was their only option but even that is nolonger an option now the public know that its been used as a tool to create a false picture.


      December 6, 2013 at 9:46 am

  6. Been on several of these courses in the past, biggest load of rubbish ever. Psychobabble with unqualified tutors, where the only care taken in devising the course is thinking of a different name for it. The one I am scheduled to take in January of next year at a local college is called ‘Positive Change’ – I am sick of supposed institutes of learning agreeing to host such nonsense.


    December 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    • Has anybody else noticed, that when you are ”invited” on a course, it’s the same faces time and time again. Also we get the same Bovine Faeces from the ”trainer”, who has also been ”Unemployed” Homeless” and the rest of the C——p.

      Headline News

      December 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

      • Yes had that at my wpp on friday.


        December 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

  7. I was signing on yesterday and the advisor showed me two jobs on uni v job match that she ordered me to apply for. i pointed out that i don’t have all the skills the companies are asking for. so i sent my cv and applied. i got a reply from one who wanted to interview me until i pointed out that im not qualified enough. i had to say sorry for wasting their time and to complain to the joke center.


    December 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm

  8. Some good news at last:

    Government to miss Universal Credit deadline, Iain Duncan Smith announces,

    In a political humiliation for Duncan Smith, the minister has had to admit that at least 700,000 claimants will not be on UC by the end of 2017.

    Angela Eagle, shadow leader of the Commons, condemned the work and pensions secretary’s “contemptible” decision to slip out news about delays to UC on the day of the autumn statement.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    • Hopefully in the near future the newspaper headlines will be:

      ‘Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith has been sacked today for his Universal Credit fiasco’.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm



        December 6, 2013 at 9:18 am

      • Who knows, maybe after the 9th their might be a reshuffle.


        December 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

  9. Apparently, the following statement is now being included in all JSAgs. Current JSAgs are being updated to include this as well:

    “I understand my adviser may require me to take part in certain schemes to help improve my chances of finding work. I will search for ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance Back to Work Schemes’ on Gov.uk snd consider this guide. If I have any questions about it I will ask my adviser’.”


    jj joop

    December 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm

  10. It is a bit like outplacement courses where I have been before.

    They could not find a job so they tell the rest of us how to do it. Some with a “religious fervour” and they say (reading between the lines):-,
    “I was once in need,…. and in need of a little succour,.. and I found millions of you!”
    (Please correct spelling as needs be).

    ps I am on one of these courses in a week’s time so wish me luck. From what you say, I will need it.


    December 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    • It sounds like you’re joining a cult, or something. Let us know what happens. My PWPS adviser informed me I will have to do a week long course at Cambridge Regional College sometime in January.

      jj joop

      December 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      • For “succour” read “sucker”. That way it makes more sense (OK it was a bad joke)


        December 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    • Windmill, as in those that can do, those that can’t, tell people how to get a job.

      Andrew Coates

      December 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    • What you say hits the nail right on the head and a point I hope you intend to raise.


      December 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

      • Gaia. As our American friends would say, “Are Bears Catholic? And does the Pope shit in the woods?” (or is it the other way around?). Of course I will. That and the number of other things besides, ie, real jobs etc.

        But don’t hold your breath.


        December 6, 2013 at 7:37 pm

  11. I actually don’t mind going to these courses. It’s great comedy material.

    And you get to ask lots of difficult questions and educate anyone who is willing to listen.

    Off topic – I refused to sign my ‘Claimant comittment’, which is just a Jsag with a new name!

    In that extra box where they put additional requirements It said I WILL… And in this box it stated that they wanted 5 hrs a day jobsearch Mon – Fri.
    And at least 10 applications a week. I told them to stick it. Politely of course, with a hint of dismay, shall we say!
    It’s being referred to the DM. And I couldn’t give a toss anymore. 4 weeks since a hardship claim, I’ve heard nothing. Enquiring tomorrow. Probably deliberately ‘mislaid’ it.

    Planning on saying hardly anything when i attend, just put my signing book on the desk with my written jobsearch. I wonder how silence goes down? As for talking, you’re damned if you do so might as well find out if you are damned if you don’t!

    They apparently cannot refuse to let me make my signed declaration.
    At least i think not. As long as i have kept a record of my jobsearch. never mind applications. Bloomin’ nightmare.

    I need a job, I’m looking for a job, i cannot find a job. No JSA since July and probably never again, The only time I expect to be getting an income is if and when i find a job.
    Truly a waste of time appealing, My word against an advisers. Me saying no to what they order me to do. Naughty boy. Assumptions and guilty until proven innocent. Etc.

    I’m usually a pretty strong willed person, but at the moment I feel thoroughly demoralised.
    Sorry if my posts are rambling sometimes. But zero income is no fun. As many know.

    Stay strong people.

    Mr No

    December 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    • Your posts are not “rambling” as you put it. You are just telling it like it is. And we on this site understand. You are not alone.


      December 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

  12. Mr No :
    I actually don’t mind going to these courses. It’s great comedy material.

    I agree.
    When I was on an “employment” course together will about 12 other adults, the first question the tutor asked was “What’s the biggest barrier to employment?”.
    As no one had an answer I suggested “lack of jobs”. Half of them, including the tutor just burst out laughing.
    After they’d finished I asked, “When there’s always at least 8 unemployed people per vacancy, how can that not be a barrier to employment?” No one had an answer, but at least they then knew who was in charge, and it wasn’t the tutor!

    John knight

    December 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    • When I enquire these days I’m told about on average 20 – 30 applicants per vacancy.

      My biggest current barrier to work? Months of sanctions!!!!! And the the stress caused by the DWP and their conspirators.
      Luckily I have family and friends to help me get through. But that only helps so far.

      Mr No

      December 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

  13. Mr No :
    When I enquire these days I’m told about on average 20 – 30 applicants per vacancy.

    Yep, if you only count the low-paid and entry-level vancanies which are the only ones the unemployed and the under 25s are likely to get then there’s 30 – 40 per vacancy – leading to 100’s of applications.

    My biggest current barrier to work? Months of sanctions!!!!! And the the stress caused by the DWP and their conspirators.

    Absolutely! Same here. I know of a few young ones who’ve simply turned to petty crime.

    John knight

    December 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm

  14. Mr No. I agree with you, wholeheartedly. A lot of these course are almost surreal. They have a kind of Little Britain/League of Gentlemen feel to them. An almost dream-like quality. You’re there, but you can’t quite believe you’re there. When I was on the WP, I could never quite believe that I knew more about jobseeking and the local geography than my so-called advisers. And yet they were on about 25K. Bizzare!

    jj joop

    December 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    • Hi jj joop.

      You have perfectly expressed how I feel about the whole benefits regime.

      These supposed ‘courses’, the WP and the JC too. They have gotten really nasty too over the last year. Surreal indeed!

      ‘You’re there, but cant quite believe you’re there’. That is spot on.

      I often say that if it wasn’t so crucial to our survival it would be quite amusing. Thankfully nowadays I can still manage to laugh at it through the stress. Choose not to have a job? Really?

      I just got by on JSA. Now they are dragging their feet processing my hardship claim. if they haven’t lost it, that is. Gosh, a brick wall would be easier to reason with then the average adviser. Adviser? Hmmm?

      Kind regards.

      Mr No

      December 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

      • Its pure crap what they are doing to you compounded worse still by the fact the public show no interest in how unusually cruel this is. What does it say about our country when in the public eye that its unacceptable not to feed a criminal yet perfectly fine to starve a citizen.

        I put it that it is government and some of the working public that rely on foodbanks, rely that they mask the naked truth about their contempt for their fellow citizens, rely on it so they can all absolve themselves of their guilt infront of the world stage.


        December 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

  15. I actually don’t mind going to these courses. It’s great comedy material.

    They are like comedies,specifically the comedy Groudhog Day,because each course consists of the same material (interview skills,CV writing,spec letters,teamwork bollocks) that you have to do again and again and again.In fact,most of us are probably qualified to take these courses ourselves by now,hey its a job right……?


    December 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

  16. Meanwhile, the sanctions continue unabated. Here is another ludicrous sanction – which even the Daily Express has condemned:



    December 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

  17. According to Osborne the new 6 month CWP due to start in April is for the under 25’s only.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    • Very Interesting to note that the dwp has taken their Community Work Programme page down from their website.

      Check for yourself – here’s the link:

      Community Work Placements – Department for Work & Pensions


      4 Nov 2013 – Community Work Placements Information Pack for Delivery Partners …

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      • Right back at you, Obi. Osborne was supposed to give more information in his Autumn Statement about CWP. We’ve heard nothing. Hmm….!

        jj joop

        December 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

    • What about us over-fifties?

      jj joop

      December 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

      • I wonder. Is CWP about to collapse before it has even started?

        jj joop

        December 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

  18. OFF TOPIC. Re the new signing regime at Jobcentres for those of us at Seetec ans Ingeus/Papworth Trust. Has anybody else had problems getting their benefits on time. 3x since this started I’ve had too call the delivery centre and get a same day payment made


    December 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

  19. Maybe co it’s CWAP


    December 7, 2013 at 9:31 am

  20. JJ joop

    You ask: what about us over-fifties?

    Don’t forget the over-sixties nowadays.

    Prior to the Work Programme, people over sixty were not required to participate in Government employment schemes. Nowadays, unemployed people over sixty are eligible for the Work Programme and all the rest of the “slave” schemes around!

    I’m just waiting for someone to drop down dead with exhaustion while serving their hard labour sentence!


    December 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

    • Tobanem at my WPP here in Ipswich, one of my co-colleagues on this scheme is due to retire in January aged 60 {Female}. She was sent to this provider in October. If she decides not too participate further, she wanted to finish on start date. 30 October, she was warned that unless she stayed until retirement date in January and had an EXIT REPORT and LEAVERS interview at JCP she would risk any remaining sanctions going on to NI contributions and thereby affecting her pension payments

      Information Only

      December 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

    • Sorry about that, mate. I didn’t know the over-sixties had to take part in this shit as well. Jeezus! What an age we live in.

      jj joop

      December 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

      • At one time not so long ago, if you were 60 or 60+ you could refuse to go on any JCP course without any sanction to your benefit or anything being said to you.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

    • There was a brilliant “Matt” cartoon a few years ago of a fireman at the top of a ladder leant against a burning building, saying, “What did I come up here for?”.

      I take your point.

      When somebody dies, it will be no-ones fault. that’s for sure


      December 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm

  21. For “Information Only”

    Good comment. Yes, the sanctions regime is absurd – and becoming absurder.

    A comment which I came across on the web recently seemed to leap out the page – here it is:

    “One of our volunteers has learning difficulties, she only managed to add up 50p and 50p at the second attempt. They’ve stopped her benefits for not applying for a low-level accounting job. Criminal”.

    Another comment says a lot too:

    “These offences are not tried publicly in a court of law, but determined administratively by a low-level officer at the Job Centre”.

    The very idea of pen-pushers at a Jobcentre handing out sentences to Jobseekers greater than those handed out by the Courts to convicted criminals, is indefensible.


    December 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

    • …And contrary to “natural justice”, ie, as a legal principle, ” you cannot be judge and jury in your own court”.
      It is rule followed more often in the breach than the observance. You need Judicial Review. Costs lots of money unless you can find a brief who will do it “pro bono”. I am sure there are some of these but it has to be a case that will help their career.

      I am not cynical just practical.


      December 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm

  22. JJ Yep wpp can overlap into retirement date

    Information Only

    December 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

    • For “Information Only”

      The old “Employment Zones” scheme (prior to the Work Programme) had a maximum age-limit of 59.

      If a 59-year-old candidate was to reach 60 before the Employment Zone was due to finish, then that candidate did not need to start the Employment Zone scheme to begin with.

      Sadly, reasoning like that has flown out the window with the arrival of the Tories and the Welfare Reform Act!


      December 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

  23. And you thought I was joking when I said I was just waiting for someone to drop down dead?

    Read this:



    December 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

    • Many people I know we’ve done heavy manual work have died not long after retirement, with big health problems.

      Andrew Coates

      December 7, 2013 at 11:37 am

      • Andy:

        Most young people now won’t get the chance to retire before they drop dead.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

  24. Here’s one for all you Esther McVey fans: – Oh Dear!

    Oh I say, minister! The photo shoot rising Tory star Esther McVey might rather forget.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

    • Ms McVey. Semi naked ambition. Not invited to Berlusconi’s “Bunga bunga” parties then?


      December 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      • And was probably refused entry to TV X as she had political ambitions in 1999 – however I don’t see the differnence4 between TV X and the DWP – They both stand for fuck and suck!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm

  25. Jobseekers’ site spammed with CVs by activists.

    Unpopular Universal Jobmatch site bypassed with a browser plugin that automatically sends CV to multiple advertisers.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    • A great shame…

      Andrew Coates

      December 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      • Andy Coates:

        You really have to start doing a ‘Comment of the year thingy’

        Please take under advisment, I’m sure most of us freedom fighter’s and other’s on here would be ok with that idea.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    • You really should have advertised this better Obi as the program is their to help claimants. I would have to see this programme but it looks macro in nature.

      I for over 2 years now have used a few programs to pull off the same thing as why toil for hours when you can just post hundreds per second. Mine allows complete automony so I would check theirs is likewise. Todays world is all about technology so why not use it to ones advantage I say. I particularly like telling DWP how I do it as it drives them mad that I hardly lift a finger while job searching any site let alone UJ as its not against the rules and can NEVER be.

      This app apart from saving you hours upon hours, if used by many at once will place untold burden on UJs servers and may even cause them to crash or at least slow down.


      1: Open a new UJ account along with a new email account but do not declare it to DWP.

      2: Place your third party restraint rights (DPA) on CV, this means whoever has this CV that under law they cant talk to any third party (includes government) otherwise they breach said act and can be reported for breach. Inform advisor before letting them contact UJ advertised employers vacancy if they intend to.

      2: Before using this app first edit your CV by removing all contact details bar your first name and email address so as to protect against fraudsters and data stealers.

      3: Before presenting evidence first scan applied vacancies and select 3 times the evidence asked for that you feel happy presenting then right them down on paper and present them.

      4: If you really want to piss them off then during your selection select those right on the 90 min belt as your never get offered the position what with most employers only usually hiring those that live local (optional).

      By doing this you effectively prevent DWP from finding fault not only with your agreement but also with your ability to search for and apply to work.

      PS: Been told by your advisor that you cant apply for jobs requiring a CSCS prior to holding a said card and that it wont cant towards your evidence, well this is utter rubbish as it is NOT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT UNDER LAW as their are other ways an employer can measure competence.



      Merry Christmas one and all


      December 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

      • Been told you cant apply for that job as you don’t have the qualifications and or experience, well actually their isn’t many jobs that require qualifications and or experience inorder to perform providing they don’t put life at risk like a doctor say.

        This means you can apply for say a recruiters or accountants job despite NO qualifications and or NO experience as it puts no one at risk and is the wish of the employer and NOT A legal requirement.

        You wont get the job BUT none the less its still creditable jobsearch evidence.

        Merry Christmas one and all.


        December 8, 2013 at 8:12 am

  26. IDS ‘waster of tax payers money’ (thinks it’s his money and can throw it around like confetti) should have to pay back every penny that he has wasted for example £5 Billion on the more than useless Work Programme, and that’s just one folly!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm

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