* Prices may differ from that shown
Have you ever seen the new television series called "The Job Lot? Watch it as it's so true to life. The very description "Job Centre" has got to be ironic as the staff I have encountered appear to have never done a days work in their life, and moan about how hard their job is. When you ring, the phone rings, and rings and rings, because no one answers it - I have been there whilst a member of staff texts or carries on talking whilst the phone is ringing. When you do eventually get through, bear in mind it's a premium rate number and the person ringing the Job Centre to begin with is obviously out of work and does not have excess cash to make these calls, you are then told, "Sorry I don't know" And are then given another number to call"
Signing on is a different ball game and a lazy power mad wannabe's dream. I have worked non stop since I was 15, was then made redundant at 26, and am then patronized, and talked down to and made to feel like rubbish by these so called advisers, who tell me I have to be actively job seeking, and I do this online.....I have been made redundant - luxuries such as the internet is one of the first things to go. So I am told to pay the £4 return bus fair to the library...daily...that's £28 out of my £72 a week allowance! I then have to fill a form in detailing every aspect of my job search, the fact that it is the same 10 things daily is irrelevant. I also have to be available for fork within a 90 minute radius....meaning that on a minimum wage job I would then be financially worse off due to travel costs.
The best bit was, one week I got told I hadn't done enough despite filling in a whole booklet as I hadn't contacted 14 employers, my response, "you can see I have searched but this week there were not 14 jobs and employers to contact this week", the reply was "that's not my problem that's the agreement and I have a good mind to refer you for sanctioning and not pay you" she thought twice when she saw my face,....but the week after I got told....."ohhh you do alot don't you.....?"
Then there's the interviews with your adviser. I felt I was picked on because they felt they could detect a weakness, because I do everything by the book. because I couldn't afford not to and because that's the way I am, and so they used that against me. Within the letter requesting my presence it states "if you require a translator please advise".....
If you don't speak English....How can you be actively jobseeking?
How are they claiming JSA?
How are they allowed to?
Then there are the chavs that hang around outside, drinking beer at 9 o clock in the morning...how are they actively job seeking? They even point blank say that they haven't done anything.....do they get sanctioned? No....why? because there is little to threaten them with that they would bother about!
Then, despite the fact that a full time job is only 40 hours, and therefore you should only have to job seek for this length of time, you have to account for your movements 24/7. You cannot claim JSA and expect to have a life. I volunteered as a carer for an elderly relative in my SPARE time, to be told, it could interfere with my claim?
I found the whole thing very embarrassing, belittling, and so wrong on so many levels!
I have been self employed for best part of the 25 years since I left school. It's great at times being able to do what I want and when but it also has its problems.
Twelve years ago I contemplated going to work for somebody else and thought my best form of communication with the employment world was with the job centre. How wrong I was! I made an appointment to speak to an advisor ad browsed around the jobs whilst waiting mingling amongst those who obviously didn't want a job and those who just appeared to have given up. You could just sense the atmosphere. It was so sad to see.
After an hour or so later (them not me) I was introduced to an employment advisor. For those who remember the TV series 'Bread', it was a bit like that. 'NEXT' boomed the lady from a few desks away. Quite ironic that she was a Scouser too. I was shown many jobs, mostly security and warehouse work, which was totally against what I wanted and what I was used to. I had qualifications in IT and was also a mortgage advisor. I was talked down to as if I was something worthless and I filled in the form in order to receive employment benefit.
Upon returning home I really felt on the scrap heap in my early thirties. God knows how people feel after months and years on the dole. I immediately called the job centre and told them to rip up my application as I'd rather do without. This they subsequently did and I advertised myself in the paper for some part time work, to allow me time to look elsewhere.
Within a couple of days an employment agency contacted me. I was invited to their bright modern offices. The appointment started promptly with me being offered a cup of tea and a biscuit and I was offered job interview that same day. Within the week I had a job working for a large Blue Chip company in IT. This continued for 7 years until I decided to leave to continue my self employment work, which I still do to this day.
So for those of you out there looking for work. I know it is really hard but from my experience I would try an employment agency rather than the job centre - certainly when looking for a job. They are paid massive incentives to find you work and I'm sure they will.
Copyright stebiz 2013 - also on ciao.co.uk
Substitute the word white for black and you've got what would be immediately considered, by any right minded person, racist propoganda. The area I live in is representative of multi-cultural Britain and this is reflected in the customers of my local jobcentre. Please think carefully about what you write before you inflict it on the rest of the world.
I had been on income support for about a year as I was made orphan and was in education
I turned 20 and they stopped my benefits and told me 4 months before my level 3 course ended and i have to give up my course if they find me a job at poundland, I was left from January 16th 2012 til 26th of may with no income as they didn't believe I should finish my course and also kept messing up my claim.
I hate the Job center and cannot wait to find a full time job so I no longer have to go into that unhelpful revolting place again!
Last year I was almost evicted from my house as my housing benefits had been stopped, I never realised, it turned out to be a job center fault and they didn't even want to print me a statement to take to the council to prove it was their fault!
Well as I've now been unemployed for 12 months I think that I am fully qualified to review the Job Centre.
If you've never had the misfortune of having to go into one of these places then count your blessings, as then no part of your life has been tarnished by these cold, inpersonal, depressing places.
Personally I've never had a good experience with the Job Centre on any occassions that I have been unemployed and had to use their services. For example any employment I have undertaken has always been through my own endevors, never theirs. I actually hate having to go there as it's so depressing and a waste of my time. I just walk in, view the job points, wait whilst my appointment time comes and goes and then around 20 minutes late I see an advisor who asks how I am and I have I worked and then I sign my little bit of paper. I walk out feeling like all hope, happiness and enjoyment has been squeezed out of me and I just want to go home and curl up in a ball. I'm normally a happy go lucky person, but this is one thing that does affect me.
The advisors, which is a term I use losely, rarely look for any work for me or advisor me of anything. To me this is a great injustice as this is what they should be doing. There is one man who occassionally points out jobs for me that he knows I can't do due to location and then has the nerve to call me picky. I don't drive but I will travelling on public transport but this man expects me to do a job as a hotel receptionist where the start time is 4am. At this time there is no public transport in my area, so I would have to travel by taxi everyday at great cost, I am not going to do this and I think this is quite reasonable, but he's one of those that just doesn't understand.
Recently I enquired about any funding for new businesses so I was amazed, and happy, when I was told the governments Enterprise Scheme was now available in my area. All I was told was that I could get a loan of up to £1000 towards start up costs and a mentor for 6 months. All I had to do was submitted a business plan and then once it was evaluated I would be told if I was successfull or not. I asked about the loan, ie repayment times and interest and was told there was no information yet available. I looked online and couldn't find any information about this. I needed this information to finalise my business plan so I went back to the Job Centre and asked them about this and also if there were any minimum timescales for which your business had to run for. The answers I got were shocking and dissappointing. I was told they don't know anything at all about the loan and was this information really important, and I was informed that I was asking too many questions. I walked out dumbfounded by this lack of help, I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel but it was getting dimmer and dimmer. I did some further research online, research the Job Centre should have done for me, and all I could find was that no one knew anything about the repayment period or interest! So as this couldn't be written in my business plan and I've no funds of my own I have had to leave my business plan. So basically the Job Centre have prevented me from starting up a business, coming off JSA and being self reliant.
I normally hate it when I hear people saying thinks like, "I could do that job, they're so rubbish" but I really think I could do their job as I'm a friendly, understanding person who likes to help people and I would actaully spend time with whoever is sat in front of me treating them like a human being and look on the computer to see if there is anything suitable.
Not so long ago I had the misfortune to be unemployed for the first time in my life. I had a number of fixed ideas in my mind as to what actually happened when you went to the Job Centre. These ideas all turned out to be false, especially my belief that the "advisors" are there to help you find work.
Apart from an initial meeting with a really nice older lady who asked me lots of questions about my qualifications, experience, and seemed genuinely interested in helping me, my trips to the Job Centre were a depressing and pointless experience. Every time it was the same. A bored and jaded advisor would ask me if I had been looking for work. I would say yes and show copies of job applications I'd filled out since the previous visit... and that would pretty much be that. Never were any suggestions made to help me, or was any advice given. I'd check the computers for a few minutes to see if there were any interesting vacancies listed, then go home.
Apart from trying to combat benefit fraud by checking people exist I really do not see what the point in these appointments is!
In saying that, I had a much better experience with the Jobcentre Plus on the telephone. After I had been unemployed for about six or seven weeks I received a call asking if I could work in a town about 15 miles from home. I replied that I could and was given details of a job and a phone number to call. This actually led to me getting a temporary job on a three month contract. It seems like part of the system does actually work!
Whilst the visits the Job Centre itself really did nothing to help me find a job, it does seem that things do happen behind the scenes.
Perhaps the actual role of Job Centres these days it to provide jobs as advisors to those who would otherwise be claiming benefits themselves, or am I being a cynic?
I had finished college and was looking to start to stand on my own two feet so I sent a few CV's to local companies and business's. After a couple of weeks of no luck I enrolled at my local job centre and subjected myself to a barrage of forms and proof of identity checks. The first three weeks or so were fine, it was after the first three weeks that I felt I was being looked down upon by these people that had a job because of me not having one. As one of the most public faces of the goverment I was quite disheartened by what was being said to me. So this continued for a few weeks after which I was told to go in every week to sign on instead of the usual two. What a mess that turned out to be. Twice as many people there meant twice as long to be there to see someone. I have nothing good to say about the job centre what so ever, if you can use an online job website such as Monster. There are that many more jobs available and your not looked down upon either, really only go to the job centre if your back is against the wall.
I stopped going to uni for a year because I had some health issues I had to get sorted out so I had a gap-year so to speak.
My mother couldn't stand seeing me mope around the house and upon this particular day the local paper had an article about the local job-centre despartely looking for disabled clients to join them in search of work. Thursting the article in my face my mum pleaded for me to join them.
Being someone who doesn't want to be reminded that her own body is weak (I have mild weakness in my body and a heart condition) I tossed it around for a few days and decided that since it would be hard to start off a career without finishing my degree I would try this job centre.
Well let me tell you. I met with the case worker who had a folder with conditions, clauses etc on what would happen between me and the case worker and after talking about an hour about my medical condition, my interests and my uni course, I thought this wouldn't be bad so I signed on. I wish I hadn't.
Two weeks later I get a call by the case worker telling me to come in and she passed me off to a new case worker. Entering the case worker's office, I was confronted by patronizing posters on the walls of silly headings like "Your are able if your disabled" and "It's not bad to be disabled" etc. Now I want to be treated like a normal everyday person. My body is sick not my intelligence.
Ignoring the posters, this new case worker had a good chat with me and said she found me a volunteering job one day a week at a preschool for a month and then she would find me something else after. Uh I want to work not volunteer.
In the mean while I find a job that was what I was looking for and I was successful at gaining the job. Telling this to the case workers, I hoped to be taken off their list of clients. Oh no they wanted to know every gritty detail on how I got the job, how much I was being paid and I had to sign documents. It was as if my case worker was claiming she got me the job. Every three weeks they wanted to see me to "check on how I was getting on."
All I could think of was "Hello I got the job myself, without your aide."
The most humliating thing for me was when the first case worker asked me to do some tests to see where my strenghs and weaknesses were in terms of my "capablities". As I said before I'm not stupid so having asked these questions by the case worker, she asked "How fast do you read?", I replied I'm a fast reader. To which she picked up a booklet and goes "Are you sure you are? Can you read this faster?" Flicking the book fast that no average person could read it.
I got teary as I know I'm a fast reader and typer and she made me feel like I wasn't capable to do it. In the end I ended up telling the job centre I was going back to univeristy and I no longer required their service.
All in all to summarize:
No help in finding an actual paid job. Will keep harassing you even when you find a job on your own. You are treated like a number/commission. You are tested to see if you are even worthy to get a good job.
After this exprience I would never ever go to a job centre of any kind for the rest of my life.
I visited my local Job Centre as I had been searching online for a particular college course and had trouble finding one, when I did I couldn't find any information on funding for training so decided the best course of action would be to go and ask the professionals who, after all are paid to help people such as myself with finding the right job/career/training. When I went through the door I stood aimlessly for a few minutes as there was no sign of a reception or receptionist until a lady behind one desk looked down her glasses at me and in an annoyed tone asked if I had an appointment. I didn.t. Silly me to think a Job Centre was open to everyone - appointment or not. I explained I was looking for a particular course and could they help me find one that had funding available. "Have you tried the college?" she asked, Errm, yes beleieve it or not I had the initiative to do that all on my own! She then nodded in the general direction of piles of leaflets and went back to her computer. At this point another Job Centre worker asked me if I would like to do voluntary work in Asda. I turned round presuming he was talking to someone else and finding no one there realised he meant me! I shook my head, grabbd some leaflets and headed out the door vowing never to go to that particular job centre again. I am a single parent and the government want me off benefits and back to work - as I do myself - in which case they seriously need to update their job centre staff in customer service skills.
1. I applied for job seekers allowance after graduating from university. I arrived back home, there were no jobs and I couldn't afford my medication. I applied over the phone, the woman who called me clearly didn't want to speak to me, she huffed and tutted her way through the "interview" (as she called it) and made m e feel worthless.
2.They asked me to arrive at the job centre at 9am for a meeting with a personal advisor, all customers were left standing in the rain until 9:30 until the security guards opened the door, we were then herded (like cattle) to another area where we were told that we'd have to wait until further notice because we were late and the next appointments were arriving.
3.I was sent by the jobcentre advisors to apply for jobs that were advertised on their website, some were fine, some vacancies had never existed and resulted in an awkward discussion between myself and the manager of the place I'd been sent to.
4. They aren't interested in you as a person, in my opinion they're more concerned with figures. I'm trained in science, they were sending me for cleaning jobs because "having ajob in science isn't realistic" I was then rejected from the cleaning vacancies because I was "overqualified" instead of listening to me and considering my strengths they blamed me for not trying hard enough to get a job. I filled 2 of those little books they give you in one week....I am definately trying!
5. They brought me in for a lecture on how to find a job, I went in thinking it may be useful, I left feeling patronised. The hour lecture was spent teaching us how to type "job vacancies" into google. The staff look down on you, treat you like a child and make you feel worthless.
6. I was actually mocked for having got my degree in science.
7. This "matching team" they try to sell everyone on. I was told to expect a phone call from that team so they could help me with CV's, applications etc,....3 months and a lot of chasing later I still haven't heard from anyone.
In fact, even though I haven't found a job I am signing off. The service is no help what so ever. Everything I've done in my job hunt has been done by myself with no help from them.
It's taken me awhile to post this as I had to get up the courage to post something which could be quite controversial. I hope you enjoy it none the less and understand it's just my opinion on what happened.
I'm sure that about 1 in 4 people reading this review at the moment are in the same situation I was a few months ago. At the moment in the country, over 1.60 million people are on Jobseekers Allowance and I'm sure the majority of them are constantly looking for work and failing at every obstacle.
What is The Job Centre?
The Job Centre is a Government Agency which is for people of a working age in Britain. In April 2002 it was rebranded from Jobcentres to Jobcentre Plus when it joined with the Benefits Agency.
The Job Centre Plus advertises job vacancies on their Labour Market System which is accessible at their offices, online and even over the phone. They also accept claims from people for Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefits and Employment and Support Allowance.
JobCentre Plus & Jobseekers Allowance
With this review I'm going to be talking about the only part of the Job Centre that I have had dealings with. I don't want to bore you with details of the other parts when I don't know anything. Jobseekers Allowance is for 18 to 60 year olds who are available and actively seeking for work, are not working more than 16 hours per week and who need a bit of help to live whilst they are out of work. There are currently two types of Job Seekers Allowance, they are the following:
Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance- It's paid for up to 182 days, and it is based on how much NI you have paid in the last 2 years.
Income Based Jobseekers Allowance- If you have not paid enough NI contributions and you're on a low income.
When it comes to getting Job Seekers one of the things you are expected to do is, is declare ALL of the money you have. Even if it's your savings, even if it's something you don't want to touch for a few more years, you will have to declare it and it'll all be added up, and if you are over £6,000 your Job Seekers will lowered. This means if you are good with money and have been saving up for a house for the last few years you are expected to use your own money to live, however people who have wasted all of their money on drugs, booze and anything else over the years, get the full amount and are not expected to have to find their own money at all.
If you want any more information about the Jobcentre Plus and Jobseekers Allowance then please look at the DirectGov website.
Back in September 2009 I made the hardest choice I've ever had to make. On the 19th of the month I went to University, by the 25th I came home. It was the hardest choice, but I was very home sick, to the point of being ill and I hated every point of the course that I would have been doing. I came home to a lot of criticism from friends and family and family friends were probably the worst. It was only natural to be honest, but it quickly by the middle of September sent me on a downward spiral.
On the 28th of September I went down to the Job Centre, after having a good talk with my family, I knew it was going to be very hard for someone like me to get a job within the place that I live. It's not a big town, our nearest Starbucks is 20 miles away as is our nearest Primark, and our nearest Tesco's is 6 miles away and you have to go by car.
To say the Job Centre was helpful would be, well lying to be honest. I went in, quite down from the week before and I got grilled about what I was going to do now. Not about work, I would have understood that, but about University. I had not even thought about the next year and was getting quite angry with the person behind the desk. In the end we got around to the Job side of things and after taking my details, I was sent out, with a date for my next sign on session and no real help at all.
I don't know if it was naivety or just plain hopefulness but I was expecting a pack of how to find work, how to create a CV as at that point mine was pretty poor and how to create a Cover Letter. Things that everyone will probably need to find a job. I also had to help the guy on the Computer as he couldn't work something out and when I gave him my CV to have a look at for my qualifications, he had no idea what a BTEC National Award or BTEC National Certificate is and argued with me when I said they were A Level equivalents.
I did a lot better with jobs than I thought I would, I had a trial at one of the most posh hotels in the area, however I was carrying too much and an old injury from a car accident (the car was fine, I wasn't) a few years ago, meant I was then not able to move for a few weeks after, so that job fell through which was a huge shame. Then in December I found myself with 3 job interviews in the same week, 2 phone shops and a local independent music and film shop. Orange got back to me straight away saying nope sorry, and O2 I found out last week, 3 months later that I wasn't successful. The Music/Film store however wanted a Christmas Temp and they liked me.
Next came my second bad dealing with the job centre, I went in on the Monday morning half an hour before my first time at work to say I don't know what to do about cancelling my allowance when I would only be working just over a month, I am working full time 9-5 and by the time I get home your closed so can't I do it via you guys here. I was told No, and I had to ring up this number and was told I'd have to do it on my lunch break and was then stood there waiting for some more help and the person behind was served. About 2 days later I managed to call up them on my lunch break, and actually was apologised to by the lady on the phone as I was quite amazed at the rudeness portrayed at the job centre.
When that job finished, it was Christmas Eve so of course I couldn't call them up to redo my claim, and when it came to January I decided to put it off a little while. I had just passed my test and I thought it might be worth doing it on my own for a little while. That was a mistake. By the 14th I decided I needed help to begin to pay for petrol to get to places to see if there were jobs, so signed on again. The guy this time was lovely, and I got a bit more help.
A few months ago, I was sent a letter. I was to attend a Back To Work Session for 18-21 year olds. I thought good, maybe this time I'll be able to get a lot of information from the Job Centre and make them do their job. I went in, and sat down with 5 'kids' in a small room, with a projector on the table aiming at a wall in front of us. We had to sit there for an hour, with a woman going through this PowerPoint presentation with me and this lad I knew from school being the only people to actually talk. I asked 4 questions about finding jobs in the local area, she didn't know. She didn't live in the local area so couldn't help me, she said at my next sign in session to book an appointment with an advisor. Why couldn't she do it then for me? It's not my job was her answer.
A few weeks later, I received a letter in the post to say that one my sign in time had changed from 3-4pm in the afternoon, to 10.55am on the dot. I also was being MADE to go to a Back to Work session, again. I immediately called up the Job Centre and was told I had to attend this one, as it's for adults. I'm sorry, but I thought 18-21 year olds were for adults. I was made to sit through the same session again, sure this time there were people who were a bit older than me, but again I seemed the only one who wanted to get something out of it. I had again wasted time when I could have been out looking for a job, on hearing the same information from the previous session. Constantly through the presentation, she kept asking questions, the same questions from the previous one, when no one else answered she looked to me. If you do ever get a Back To Work interview, then please don't expect much help. To find job help, the internet is the only way.
All in all, I've had pretty much no help from the Job Centre at all. When I have had questions and needed help about my CV and writing a Cover Letter they couldn't do it, or didn't know the answer. I'm sorry but what happened to if you didn't know the answer, going to find it out?
Everything turned out brilliantly for me however; I worked my butt off and managed to find a temporary job through an agency. Telling the Job Centre about this job was again impossible. I rang up the number they gave me the first time around, and was told I had to fill in a form and go to the Job Centre. I did this and was told at the Job Centre, I needed to ring the same number again. I rang up on my break at work, as I was working 9-5, and they said they'd ring me back as there was no one available. I waited, and waited, and got no response. The next day I rang up again, and was told they had rung up and I was wrong. I finally got them to cancel my claim. The job I'm working on at the moment is only temporary; it all depends on how much work there is for me in the next few weeks. I will however not reapply to the Job Centre afterwards, I would rather live off my savings to be honest. They are generally the most unhelpful and unkind people I've ever had to ask for help from.
I was quite surprised with how little of help I got from the Job Centre. I really had to do all of the work on my own. At no point did I get any help, I don't know if it's just the branch I go to, but the people there, generally don't want to help you at all. The Back To Work session was just ridiculous, a waste of all of our time and I still don't know what I was supposed to gain from it. Despite all the problems, for some of us it is necessary to use the Job Centre, most specifically the Jobseekers Allowance. I had to run a car, pay rent and still find a job, and found that the money I got went very quickly.
I really think the people who work there should understand the word compassion and understand how to 'help' people. Most of the people I have come across are lazy and really do look down their noses at you, which is a horrible feeling. It is a good system however and I know it helps a lot of people in this tough time.
Everything for me has worked out though, I have a good part time job, which I enjoy and have been accepted into another University this September. Lets hope I won't need to ever deal with the Job Centre again.
Hope this helps
Kirsty 2010 (C)
Before I start giving my review of the Jobcentre, I think it is worthwhile me giving a little bit of information about how I ended up using the service, as everyone is different, and the experience that applies to me may not apply to anyone else .
In 2004, I developed severe post natal depression . I'm not going to go into too much detail about it, but at the time I regularly contemplated suicide . When I was at my very worst, after actually having a breakdown at work where I verbally abused colleagues, was when I was finally diagnosed by my GP, and signed off work for two weeks . I returned to work (against my gp's advice) after the two weeks, and found the work environment very discouraging . Despite asking my managers for a few small changes to my rota that would have made all the difference to me, I found them unwilling to help, and was further annoyed to discover my managers had told colleagues I was working with directly about my problem . I felt my trust had been abused, and felt like every eye was on me at work - it was not comfortable and was, if anything, making me more depressed, and so I left . I haven't given too much detail here, but rest assured, leaving was not an easy decision - I actually quite enjoyed my job, and saw real prospects for myself within the company until this time .
Naturally, as a single mum, I couldn't live without any finding, so I decided to apply for benefit. I was offered two kinds, and had to choose between them . One was Jobseekers Allowance, which would require me to attend the benefit office every two weeks and sign in . The other was income support, which did not require me to sign in . I was offered the exact same amount of money on both benefits, and I chose the most convenient option for me at the time - Income Support - as having to trek down and sign in would have been inconvenient with a young baby .
One of the very few conditions of my benefit was that once every six months, I would attend a work focused interview, with the intention of finding out my planned career path.
Now, actually applying for the benefit itself was a little confusing . I had to first make a phone call, where they took some very basic information. They told me at the time they would call again to get more details , and a few days later they did . I can only say I'm glad it was their phone bill and not mine, as they then spent close to 50 minutes asking me every question under the sun, including some I found quite odd, such as had I ever been registered blind. They also asked me many questions about my depression, and at this stage I was informed that I was apparently entitled to disabilty benefit because of my depression, and asked if I would like to apply . I declined - while I appreciate that depression is incredibly hard, I don't consider myself disabled.
After this long phone call, I then had to go to the JobCentre itself and fill out forms . Big, long huge forms - luckily, the people at the centre are experienced in filling them out, and did most of the work for me, otherwise I think I would have confused myself.
Then, it was as simple as waiting to be paid each week. And attending work focus interviews every six months.
These interviews are easy, but until recently, I never got the impression anybody cared too much . I've been applying for jobs for years, and my depression has I suspect had a negative effect on my chances of getting a job. I'm not for one minute making excuses, it's just that because my depression issues are ongoing, I like to be honest with potential employers about the fact that I do need support and understanding in some areas. But when I had the work focused interviews, I felt that the people were looking at me as though I was some lazy layabout - until I met Nicola a year ago .
Now, Nicola was amazing. She was from the second I sat down incredibly professional, yet very human. I felt comfortable in talking to her and explaining exactly what my situation was . I told her which particular aspects of my depression I felt were a barrier to me finding a comfortable job, and about various things that I found hard to deal with. I explained to her that as a side effect of my depression, I lose my temper easily, and that that scared me off from applying for high stress jobs. I told her that my own physical appearance repulsed me and made me think that people were judging me.
She was incredibly helpful . Not only did she help me to think about things I want to do, not necessarily now, but in the future, but she also made a real effort to help me out with my confidence issues, referring me to free higher education courses in the area (which I have since taken up and made several new friends, as well as gaining a couple of qualifications) and even letting me know where there were some free counselling sessions available. As if that wasn't enough, she also sends me jobs through the post that she thinks I might be able to do as they fit in with school hours, and always puts a little encouraging note in with them .
My experience with the job centre has been mixed. For a long time, I felt like I was just another person in the queue, but Nicola has really gone the extra mile to help me feel like a person again . Thanks to her, I'm now doing a Literacy course (having already completed two other courses) and feel like my life is going somewhere again . But sadly not everyone has that amount of passion for the job, hence I am deducting two stars for all those people who made me feel I was just another number .
Whatever i am going to write is in no offense to anyone but i am writing this review based on my own experiences and obstacles I have come across with the jobcentre.
I understand that not all who have dealt with the jobcentre have the same experiences.
This is in my own words and my own experiences.
I was on jobseekers allowance the beginning of January 2008, I found going to the jobcentre very intimidating, at the end of the day we go for our hand outs that only we are entitled to, you think it would be easy, but it's not at all.
I waited over 8 weeks to get any money that I was entitled to it was a struggle and I still find it a struggle.
You get a little leaflet to jot any jobs you have apllied for, called etc....
I don't see the point in this as people can just say they are, but there are geniune people who do want to seek work.
I found the staff were not very helpful in helping at all.
Then last January 2009 I had to start claiming employment and support allowance as I suffer with my mental health and have done since i was 13, i found going to the jobcentre every two weeks to sign on very hard and couldn't cope.
Now I have been signed off from the doctor stating I am not suitable for work, and my ESA went into appeal how can that be ??
I have sent letters, made phone..... which I must say all charge you and are not free, they never call you back if you arrange it with them.
Then I found out through a friend that I should also be getting disability because of my problems which i won't bore you with , this is something else they don't tell you, I have been waiting two weeks for the forms I could have been told all of this, over a year ago.
I am now on a cut rate of less than half because of my ESA being in appeal I feel as if they will try and do anything they can to et out of it as they will have to back date all the money which stands over £400 which is basically MINE !
I don't think as jobseekers we are helped enough, and people who need the extra help no matter what age don't get it and have to fight for it.
NO wonder there is so much hate and racism as british citizens we don't get alot.... but then that is the government's fault I feel.
I think being out of work with the recession and credit crunch things are hard enugh with out matters being made worse by the pople that should be helping.
The problem is there is too many broken promises !
I can actually give you a fairly good idea of what to expect from the Job Centre as I have been on benefits and have previously worked for the DWP.
Firstly I think its great that our country provides people with the means to survive when they are in poverty. However, I do think more could be done to help certain individuals as many, especially the elderly, are unaware of what it is they are exactly entitled too.
Job Seekers Allowance - I think this is probably one of the main benefits that people are in receipt of. The amount depends on your age and circumstances. This is a very good short term solution to unemployment and allows individuals to support themselves and their families in hard times.
Income Support - This benefit is mainly used to support those who are able bodied but have other commitments etc which would make it hard for them to be in employment. For example lone parents. This benefit is great for those who are single parents as you do not need to visit the Job Centre regularly, I think you have a meeting with your personal advisor every 6 months, which is basically a casual chat about your options in relation to work, education, childcare etc.
Disability Allowance - This basically allows those who are unable to work due to long term sickness or disability the chance to be able to live within the government guidelines.
Carers Allowance - This is a benefit, which carers are able to claim. If you are caring for an individual with a disability or illness then you may be entitled to this benefit especially if it is interfering with your employment etc.
If in receipt of certain benefits you may also be entitled to additional help such as community care grants - this is a none repayable grant which helps to relieve exceptional pressures on your day to day lives, although they can pay you a grant for household items such as cookers etc, this is not available for items such as paint, clothing, etc. You apply by collecting an application form from your local Job Centre. In addition to this you can also apply for a budgeting loan as long as you have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit for over 6 months. A budgeting loan can be used for various purposes and is repaid by small amounts from your benefit.
In times of sever hardship where you are left with no money a crisis loan may be available, this is a repayable loan which is provided by the job centre. You will usually be given enough money to last you until you receive your next benefit payment.
Your local Job Centre can also help you with clothing for interviews, travel expenses and advice on other benefits you may be entitled to such as tax credits and childcare grants.
They will generally point you in the right directions when it comes to benefits but I think that sometimes they themselves are ill informed, for example if you are under a certain age I think it is 25 then connexions are able to help you financially, mentally etc and if the job centre are unable to help you then connexions are pretty good at assisting you. There is another service available which is called working links which also provide a similar service.
Its also handy that the Job Centres also have job points within the centres making it easy to look through jobs, they also have useful information about job open days and events helping those who are unemployed or looking for a new job the chance to meet employers and find information about new careers etc.
The system has been highly criticised since it was proposed in Beveridge's report but without this state intervention the poverty in this country would be dire, this is proven in countries without benefits such as ours.
However I do feel the system need s to be changed, we will always have people who feel it is acceptable to unnecessarily stay on benefits although a majority of those claiming do not feel this way. I think that the government could do more for individuals in terms of training etc, although they do provide certain things it does not give you a great amount of choice. For example they will help to fund certain courses but the ones really worth doing are generally not funded.
I also think that the government focus too much on getting those who have been claiming for over 6 months jobs, when I was employed by them I was told to give priority to those individuals and they also receive a lot of perks if they find employment. I feel that the maximum help should be provided to all of those who are unemployed.
Other than that working for the DWP was very good and their employees are treated very well. They are also very good at employing various different people form different backgrounds, I was a single parent on benefits when I was working for them. During that job I learnt vital skills which has helped me find other employment.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Job Centre, the services they provide or want to know if you are entitled to a certain benefit then you can visit them at www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk.
Thanks for reading, hope this helps.
What is the Job Centre? By the sound of it you may think these guys are going to get me a job or find me one! Nah that is not the case really instead they are there to help you look for work or claim for a number of benefits. Its been one month now since I left coming to here since finding a new job and I would to tell you all how it went here.
Did the Job Centre help? To be honest no it never much because all the help they provide is basic knowledge. We all know how to apply for a job and how to ring up. I remember being on Job Seeker's Allowance and being told you should ring up for this available job. Do they never realize its a recession and one person will not get a job that over 500 people apply for! This is the case with most of their jobs and the only thing their advisers keep telling you is to apply for the jobs available.
How good is their benefit? Its terrible you get a little over 50 quid a week making it 100 pounds every two weeks. You can hardly live of the money they give you plus the headaches is too much. Most of their staff I have come across have had some bad attitudes on them and been really arrogant. Some of them also speak in such a rude manner never came across one that was even decent.
The one use of Job Centre is the advantage of using their phones to apply for work. Why would you though? Job Centre branches are packed out with trouble makers messing on the phones and in side to. Security hardly handles them I really hate the Job Centre and would advise to look for a job at recruitment agencies or other places where the job is not advertised at the Job Centre.