Review of "Job Centre"
In my previous review, I told you about 1 of the employment websites I was registered with. When I was looking for work, I unfortunately had to sign on at my local Job Centre. I really didn't want to go down this route as I know how demoralising it can be. But at the time I had no option. When you first make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance, it's all done online through the official government website. A few days later you will receive a letter through the post informing you of your first initial appointment with an advisor at your local Job Centre Plus. When I first made a claim it was shortly after my husband had passed away, but with no money, I had little option. They advised me to go on the sick for a couple of months, which I did. When I went back after the 2 months were up, I was back under the Jobseekers Allowance claim. With this, there are certain rules and obligations you HAVE to undertake to search for work.Nowadays, everything is electronic and done online. This makes looking for work a whole lot easier. Well, it does for me as I have a computer at home. At the start, I was sent to a local advice centre to get myself to get myself a CV done, as I didn't have one. I duely took this to the Job Centre on my next appointment, and she gave me a big list of websites I should check out, like employment agencies, recruitment website and the like. You are also given a number for the Universal Jobmatch website. On this website you are obliged to fill it in on a daily basis on what you are doing to look for work.
Your Obligations whilst claiming JSA
There are various benefits that people can claim which fall under the Job Centre Plus umbrella, but I am telling you about my own personal experience on Jobseekers Allowance. You must meet all the obligations that are given to you in the agreement which everyone signs for. If you fail at any time to meet these obligations, your money can and will get stopped for a certain amount of time.
You must be looking for work for at least 30 hours a week. You will also be given a number and a password (of your choice) for the Universal Jobmatch website. And on here, you must record everything - from jobs you have applied for, interviews you have had, CV's you have delivered or sent to possible employers, any speculative letters you have had etc. I have been sitting in the Job Centre and overheard conversations where people have had their knuckles wrapped for not filling in their Universal Jobmatch. Even things like filling in application forms, for instance:
- I spent 20 minutes filling in an application form.
- I walked round town delivering CV's to shops
- I searched recruitment websites for admin work.
Voluntary jobs are a bit of a hit and miss subject. Some advisors encourage you to do voluntary work as this helps with gaining skills etc. Others might tell you that this is stopping you from actively seeking employment. Either way, during my time of unemployment, I had 2 voluntary jobs which I used to duely record without fail. They were okay with this as both voluntary jobs were very different. One was working in a museum, and the other was working in a charity shop.
If the Job Centre tells you to partake in certain courses, or attend certain job fayres, you must go, no argument. Whether you want to do that job or not. They also put me on a 2 year job programme where I was sent to search for work - basically doing the same as what I do on my own computer. Thankfully I only had to attend there for about 3 months as I found work in the end.So, what are the staff like?
Well, that all depends on who you get, I have found from experience. There have been a couple of times when the member of staff has been down right rude and obnoxious.
Him: You should have found a job by now.
Me: It's not through want of trying!
Of course, it's difficult for anyone to find a job, and a lot of these jobs you see advertised they have 100+ applicants. I understand it can be difficult, and I was lucky I landed a job when I did. I love my little job, and am glad I was given the opportunity. Quite frankly, I'm no better off IN work. In fact, I get slightly less cash in my pocket each month. BUT, I do have the satisfaction of not being under the Job Centre Plus now. Yes, some of the staff can be down right rude and unpleasant, and will make you do stuff you really don't want to do, but this is all down to the system and work pressure they are under. But, in all places, you will find 1 good apple amongst the rotten ones.
The Job Centre is only ever meant to be a temporary measure - to tide you over until you find work. We all know there's a lot of people who don't see it this way, but it's no good getting into the politics of all that here. My own personal experience with the Job Centre lasted about a year and I'm thankful I don't have to go there now. Yes, I did find it an unpleasant experience, but that's not to say it didn't help. There are aspects of the Job Centre experience which helped. I got myself a nice looking CV out of it and, ultimately, a job.
Product Information : Job Centre
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 12/07/2006