The government’s much heralded Work Programme is completely failing to help older unemployed people and those with criminal records. TheOpinionSite.org can reveal that according to sources within the Department of Work and Pensions, the government sees employing the young as being more cost effective and more politically acceptable than getting experienced 45 – 60 year unemployed people back into work.
Those who cannot find jobs because of failed CRB checks are completely ignored by the programme, particularly if their offence was a serious one.
The private companies running the so-called ‘Work’ Programme’ – known as ‘providers’ – are allegedly paid on a results basis system. However, they are being allowed to ignore difficult cases and to ‘cherry pick’.
Instead of being encouraged to help all unemployed people back into work, they are being encouraged by the DWP to get young people either into a job or some kind of training, just as long as it takes the young person off of the unemployed list.
Repeated questions to the DWP and the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith have all been ignored.
Providers approached by TheOpinionSite.org have often appeared fearful and have refused to comment on the policy under which they seek to place people in jobs. Conservative and Liberal MPs don’t want to talk about it either, especially where CRB checks are concerned.
The Labour party just seeks to make political capital out of the situation without contributing anything useful and, like the government, refuses to address the real problems.
The government seems to be acting in a manner which makes it look dishonest and also rather stupid. For example, some prisons are now allowing providers to start the process of finding work for soon to be released inmates while the prisoners are still in custody. Great idea one might think – until it is pointed out that most employers refuse to give a job to anyone with a criminal record.
In the rare case where ex-prisoners do find work, they are often paid much less than the going rate and also forced to accept poor working conditions or lose the job. Those who have been convicted of serious violent or sexual offences are thrown on the scrap heap altogether and most are unlikely to ever work again.
Probation officers and police agree that having a job is one of the best ways for a released prisoner to reduce his risk of re offending but, if the offence is a serious one, neither the police, probation or government agencies are prepared to do anything to help an offender find work – other than teach them how to write a CV that will never be read.
In other European countries – and even in America – those coming out of prison are found employment before their release. Many European states have a special job pool specifically for those released back into the community. Britain of course prefers to wait until the person re offends – and then sends them back to prison.
The Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg is as quiet on the subject as his Conservative colleagues, refusing to answer difficult questions for fear of upsetting David Cameron. Yet it is Clegg who is supposedly steering the reform of the CRB system in a bid to make it easier for ex prisoners to find work – but that does not include those with serious records and who most need a job.
A quick trip to your local Job Centre will demonstrate the fact that more and more people – especially men – over the age of 45 years of age are finding that the Work Programme is doing nothing for them. Often, the provider will put a person on meaningless and unnecessary courses or enrol them in supposed ‘training’, even though there is no prospect of a job at the end of it.
The government secretly believes that for economic and monetary reasons, it is more important to get those between the ages of 16 – 24 into work rather than older, more experienced people. The theory is that over the years, those who are currently young will end up paying a great deal more in tax than those who are older which is, obviously, to any government’s benefit.
The government is not remotely worried about the plight of those with criminal records or those who may reoffend; they can always be sent back to prison.
There are also ‘pure’ political reasons for the government’s approach. With over a million ‘young’ people unemployed – many of them with worthless degrees and other ‘qualifications’ that are actually of no use in the work place whatsoever – the government is fearful of a middle class backlash at the polls from disillusioned parents; not to mention the bad press that is following ministers around at present.
So the political formula is simple: ignore the aging and criminally minded and concentrate on employing the young who know nothing and are cheap. After all, youngsters really do appeal more to employers as they cost a great deal less to employ than someone who is older, has a great deal of experience and knows what they are doing.
Employers also get paid by the government in various ways to take on young workers and effectively get a free employee. No such payments are made if the workers are older.
The sad fact is however that many young people are unemployable; even those who are supposedly ‘qualified’. Certainly, they may have plenty of intelligence on paper but in reality, few can solve problems, fewer can make reliable decisions and, most importantly of all, even less can take responsibility for those decisions as most of these ‘qualified’ young people still think – and act – like children.
This is hardly surprising; British governments nowadays do everything they possibly can to prevent the country’s children from ever growing up for fear that parents – and their votes – may become redundant.
Britain has one of the least effective and most limited educational systems in Europe, refusing to take on recognised European and international qualification systems and instead rigidly sticking to the ‘Britain knows best’ doctrine so beloved by the tabloid media.
The overall result is that other European member states do not recognise ‘GCSE’s or ‘A’ levels – or virtually any other middle or ‘first’ qualification produced in this country. Even an electrician needs to retrain if he is to take a job in Europe, all because Britain insists, stupidly in the view of TheOpinionSite.org, on ‘going it alone’ in Europe.
Whilst the government turns its back on the experience and talent of the hundreds of thousands of older unemployed people who would love to work, it seems content to maintain the myth that the UK education system provides employers with the young people that they want, even though many of those young prospective employees don’t even know what real work is.
The employers themselves on the other hand, through the CBI and other organisations, state quite regularly that Britain’s schools and universities are churning out hundreds of people who are simply not worth employing.
In fact, Britain’s school system is so bad that even top universities are now having to run basic numeracy and literacy ‘remedial’ courses for students who, whilst they may have a fist full of A levels, in reality don’t actually know anything at all.
Employers also report that young people state at interview that they are not prepared to work unsociable hours or do anything that they consider to be ‘unfair’.
Yet still the government does nothing to encourage employers to exploit the huge pool of talent and skills that exists amongst the older unemployed.
If employers were paid to take those people on – even if they had a serious criminal record but could nevertheless do the job – society would benefit enormously and employers would get loyal staff that know the meaning of responsibility and opportunity.
Not only that; by employing experienced people, those skills could then be passed on to the young.
This government though, like all recent administrations in the UK, refuses to admit when a major initiative fails. It would rather waste people’s lives rather than admit a mistake.
In the process of living this lie that affects us all in one way or another, the government betrays the older, more experienced and talented unemployed, it fails to provide a crucial component of any offender’s essential rehabilitation and it continues with an isolated, worthless, ineffective and controlling education system that does not help its students into work and does not enable the country to prosper.
No wonder then even after 300 years of apparent sociological and political ‘progress, Britain is still run by ex public school boys. TheOpinionSite.org might, unlike some other organisations, even be cynical enough to suggest that maybe that has been the intention all along.
Well, if the government disagrees, it knows where to find us and can even comment in our forum should one of their representatives ever be brave or foolish enough to do so. We are waiting for you Mr Cameron – or whoever you send in order to allow you not to admit the truth.
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