Author Topic: What help should I be getting from the work programme?  (Read 3451 times)

Sofie

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I've been on the work programme since September. In that time I've had help applying for 2 jobs, been told to go on to ESA and have been sent on inaccessible courses.

I am now getting fed up of being called in every 2 weeks just to do a job search. I can do that myself. In fact, it's easier for me to do it myself - their computers aren't set up for my needs; mine is.

They want to send me on courses, including an NVQ for which I have no interest in doing. (customer service)

They claim they've also talked to me about Access to Work - they have never done that. It may have been mentioned; but I have never had someone tell me "this is Access to Work. This is what they do". (I have an idea about what they do; but don't know the ins and outs of it)

They're also telling me I have to work weekends and don't seem to care that the buses on a Sunday are every half hour. I've told them I can't do weekends; but they won't listen. They've also told me that a job must come before needing a life / studying.

It's getting to the stage now where I feel as though I'm wasting my time going there once a week to do basically nothing. I'm lucky if I even get seen on time.

I've been told that their job is to help people back into work - how is forcing people to go on courses which are inaccessible and quite frankly, useless helping them back into work?

I've just sent my adviser a bit of a shitty email telling her that I feel as though I'm getting no help at all and that it's a waste of time being called in every 2 weeks.

devine63

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #1 on: 27 Apr 2012 06:38PM »
Hi Sofie

I don't know much about your circs and I understand you may not want to say here (welcome to PM me with details if you prefer).
Perhaps you need to make some suggestions to them:  What would be helpful to you?   What could they do for you to help you find work? 
 e.g. are there any resources you need to help you that they might be asked to pay for?  The things which leap to mind are help with cost of consumables (ink cartridges, paper) for your home computer so that you have the means to print out potential applications for checking and so on.

Is there any additional Assistive Technology or hardware it would be useful for you to have?   If so, perhaps they could pay for it?

Is there any training which would help you to get into work which they have not offered you?   

e.g. if you have no current qualifications in IT, those skills are usually valuable, then it might be appropriate for them to pay for you to attend a college and get something like the "European Computer Driving Licence" qualification - which essentially ensures you can use all of the main office type software (spreadsheets, word processor, etc)
I think at one point you said something about doing book-keeping / accountancy type stuff (apologies if I have misremembered)
so  if you need it perhaps they could pay for you to do a basic book keeping course, etc.

Is there any additional human support you might find helpful that they could pay for?

e.g. might not be good for you, but some people struggle to organise themselves and motivate themselves for applying for lots of jobs, so perhaps they might need someone to act as a mentor for them (not someone from the Job Centre) for an hour or two  a couple of times a week, to help them keep on track and so on....   the Work Programme could maybe pay for that....

A few additional thoughts:   have you tried signing up with temping agencies?   sometimes doing a few hours / days can get you in with an employer and then something comes up...   and if not, they might at least get you a bit of experience with some different employers doing different admin tasks.

Re Access to Work:   they could pay for transport (e.g. taxis) to get you to / from your workplace on days when buses are less frequent and / or after dark (as you mentioned safety issues before) and they can sometimes help with adaptations to computers and stuff and whatever you need at work to be able to work effectively (though employer may have to do some  of costs); they can help with support workers if you need them.

regards, Deb





AndMac

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #2 on: 03 May 2012 01:23PM »
Sofie,, I hear what you are saying with this, but why not try a different tack?

 Looking for work is a full-time job in itself.
You have to make things happen, they don't just happen because someone waves a magic wand.

I don't know the answer to this, only you do but is there a genuine reason why customer service work is so unacceptable? Both my son and daughter have careers in this, in different roles.

 Neither of them envisage doing this for the rest of their lives but for now it provides a decent income for them and an extension to their social lives too, via the friends they've made through work and attending work social gatherings.

What help should you be getting is one question but you need to make sure you are doing everything you can too. The more pro-active you are the more things will happen for you.

Because I was a single parent and owned my own house, I had no choice but to find an income. It wasn't easy. I still own my own house - I've managed to find jobs that I can do as my disability has increased in severity.

I accepted training opportunities whenever they arose both in and out of employment. I studied for qualifications that would make me more employable. I applied for jobs I had no real interest in but you wouldn't have known that at interview.

 I played the role of super-keen person and landed the job - and crucially, the salary that kept me afloat. I  continued to play the role in the work environment; eventually it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and I enjoyed the job.

When you say that the training was inaccessible, were you able to talk to the training provider about this? My disability didn't affect me too much when I went on a course but I used the system to get on the training early, rather than wait until I had been claiming benefits for six months.

As someone whose been involved with this from both sides, I can say that most training providers do everything they can to encourage inclusivity on their courses. Look at it from their point of view, it's a feather in their cap if they can provide the training that gets a disabled person into work.

Your area has a really good Sunday bus service in comparison to mine. My daughter works Sundays regularly. She frequently walks the three miles to work as she hasn't passed her driving test yet and her partner can't always take her. My son also does Sundays as overtime, and rather enjoys the boost to his income. Luckily he has a car.

 I have a friend on ESA who once worked for the same company as my son. She was given Sunday shifts and used a taxi to get to work when she couldn't organise lifts. As a non-driver  I spent two hours on buses to get to one teaching job. It was difficult and painful but I did it - I know of someone who got up at 5.30 am to do a 80 mile round trip by train and bus to get to her teaching post.

There is also the question of how much time the employment services are prepared to invest themselves in someone who doesn't appear keen. If you are clearly helping yourself they will be far more likely to help you. 
I do all I can to help my students succeed, but in the end it's up to them how much they choose to access the help that is offered and to ask for more help. Try and be honest with yourself with this.
"I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things".

Dorothy Parker

Sofie

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #3 on: 03 May 2012 01:33PM »
When you say that the training was inaccessible, were you able to talk to the training provider about this?

Yes. I then got the blame for someone not doing their job properly. And then the training provider failed to make it accessible. >steam< I had no way of contacting the provider beforehand; so couldn't check what adjustments would be in place. I was assured by someone else it would be sorted before the first meeting took place. It wasn't and then it was made out to be my fault.

As for why I can't work in customer service - according to several people, my speech can be difficult to understand. Unlike some people, I don't have an accent as such either.

AndMac

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #4 on: 03 May 2012 01:43PM »
When you say that the training was inaccessible, were you able to talk to the training provider about this?

Yes. I then got the blame for someone not doing their job properly. And then the training provider failed to make it accessible. >steam< I had no way of contacting the provider beforehand; so couldn't check what adjustments would be in place. I was assured by someone else it would be sorted before the first meeting took place. It wasn't and then it was made out to be my fault.

As for why I can't work in customer service - according to several people, my speech can be difficult to understand. Unlike some people, I don't have an accent as such either.

Hmm.... I wouldn't let that stop you, unless you have real reservations yourself.
 My son used to mumble A LOT; working in Customer Service has knocked that one on the head and it didn't stop him getting the job.
"I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things".

Dorothy Parker

devine63

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #5 on: 03 May 2012 10:41PM »
Hi Sofie

do you know what it is about your speech which is problematic?  I ask because some things are trainable and some are not.
e.g.  I have a friend who is a former actor,  he teaches people how to speak better - better presentation, better diction, better projection of the voice (with less strain) and so on

regards, Deb

Sofie

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #6 on: 04 May 2012 11:21AM »
No I don't know what the problem with my speech is. I know that a few times, I've not been able to say certain words.

Some people just say they can't understand me.

elevenses81

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #7 on: 04 May 2012 11:29AM »
It was reported on 'Today' on Radio4 the other day that those who have been on the Work component of ESA for 12 months without finding work would have their claim terminated. I suppose it will just force claimants to go through the whole Access To Work hell again.
The day war broke out, my Missus
said to me she looked at me and she said, "What good are you?"
 "Well," she said, "All the young fellas'll be getting called up and you'll have to go back to work!"
 Ooh she's got a cruel tongue!

devine63

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #8 on: 04 May 2012 11:44AM »
thanks Sofie - I was just curious.

Elevenses - Access to work is not related to ESA, Access to Work is the scheme which helps with additional funding when you are in work to help pay for the support you need.   The problem with ESA is that some unemployed disabled people are on a version of it which you can only claim for one year, at the end of the year the ESA stops.  SOme disabled people are entitled to claim other benefits instead, but lots of disabled people who have a partner are finding they are told they can't claim anything else and their partner is expected to support them - regardless of how little their partner earns - so the household can be losing about 100 per week when the ESA ends with nothing to replace that money.
regards, Deb

elevenses81

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #9 on: 04 May 2012 12:22PM »
Deb,

  what  are the other benefits that are available to someone if they are on the version of ESA that terminates after 12 months. I only know of DLA.
The day war broke out, my Missus
said to me she looked at me and she said, "What good are you?"
 "Well," she said, "All the young fellas'll be getting called up and you'll have to go back to work!"
 Ooh she's got a cruel tongue!

Sofie

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #10 on: 04 May 2012 03:44PM »
You might be better off starting your own thread about this.

I have 2 consultant appointments before my next meeting with my adviser. It would be interesting as to what they say in regards to work. Especially as I'm hoping to finally get somewhere in terms of a diagnosis.

devine63

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #11 on: 05 May 2012 01:50AM »
Hi elevenses

I'm not an expert on benefits, so best to consult the Citizen's Advice Bureau and find out what you are entitled to.   There are also some online advice guides - e.g. there's one at http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/benefits-check    it is not only disability benefits you might be entitled to

regards, Deb

SashaQ

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #12 on: 06 May 2012 11:14PM »
One thing you may be able to ask for, Sofie, is Interview Practice - I was offered that by the Jobcentre, and it was useful to get feedback on my interview technique before the real thing.

I also applied for Two Ticks companies, so got more interview pratice that way, so when the great job came along I was ready for it and was successful  >thumbsup<

Access to Work may be able to help with weekend work - I didn't rule it out on my Jobseeker's Agreement as it would have advantages having time off midweek rather than at the weekend when most other people are not working, but in the end I got a Monday to Friday job anyway.

I do think it is reasonable to be able to specify your search radius, though (which I did) - if I had had to travel 80 miles a day, I wouldn't have lasted 3 days never mind 3 years keeping fatigue at bay, and I'm "just" a wheelchair user that the jobcentre staff thought would be easy to find a job...

I know how you feel getting fed up after so long on the same treadmill of rejection and application - terribly tedious, but you won't give up because you do have skills that employers will be very impressed by and you'll get there in the end.  Very best wishes with it all >thumbsup<

Sofie

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #13 on: 06 May 2012 11:24PM »
I do think it is reasonable to be able to specify your search radius, though (which I did) - if I had had to travel 80 miles a day, I wouldn't have lasted 3 days never mind 3 years keeping fatigue at bay, and I'm "just" a wheelchair user that the jobcentre staff thought would be easy to find a job...

This has never been an issue. I was told by the job centre I must be willing to travel for up to 90 minutes each way and was told it doesn't matter where that gets me.

Thank you Sasha. :)

I did do interview practise last year when I was with working links.

devine63

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Re: What help should I be getting from the work programme?
« Reply #14 on: 07 May 2012 09:09PM »
Travelling 90 mins each way might be reasonable for an average person, but for many disabled people fatigue is an issue, so the Job Centre should be able to modify that travel radius as a reasonable adjustment to your disability if fatigue is an issue.

regards, Deb