My Job Centre Plus Review

By Ben Fisher

Many people are having to start claiming Job Seekers Allowance but do we really get the necessary support required to get into work or are the Advisors just trying to “Tick a Box”?

After getting no success with employment for a few months I had to start Claiming Job Seekers Allowance. At first I was reluctant to “Sign On” after hearing and reading constant negative reports and views of the Job Centre Staff.

I first started my Claim in October 2012 and after no actual success with permanent work remained on JSA for almost 3 years. This just shows how the Advisors actually do not support and help you. This also shows I feel how no one realises (except for young people themselves) why people aren’t getting Jobs!

At my first appointment I was required to explain all my work history and create a “Work Plan” to help us work with our Advisor to finds the best possible work opportunities.

Each day was spent applying for jobs, sending CV’s and refreshing job sites which seemed so boring and pointless. Over time my Advisor was very impressed with my perseverance in looking for a job and we seemed to get on very well.

I feel the Job Centre Advisors get no training on careers advice for people they just get training on “How to get young people in work” given by Government. They put you on these training programmes which are pointless and you don’t need. Bit like being back at School. For example, whilst on JSA for a few months my Advisor put me forward for this Work Choice Programme to just get a little more help with getting into work by job searching, CV updating, and general discussion. Having started this for a few weeks we seemed to do nothing specifically related that helped at all and it seemed a waste of time if I’m honest.

Then the following week I had to tell my Advisor what we did and I felt I couldn’t be too honest, otherwise if I didn’t go then I was scared to be sanctioned. From previous experience it seems Advisors just don’t care my understanding was Advisors just put you on these work training programmes which actually give you no help at all but they just see it as “It helps you to get into work” so you have to do it otherwise we’ll sanction you.

Overall (this was mainly due to my perseverance in Job Searching and background) the Job Centre and other related organisations gave me NO HELP AT ALL, I was just forced to follow the rules. This included mainly doing my own job searching, updating my CV to my acceptability, writing cover letters, getting advice although the Job Centre was there to answer some questions and give advice, BUT that is all. I just felt they put pressure on you to follow the rules it seems they don’t actually care that these programmes don’t help you!

My personal perception of the Job Centre It would seem the staff actually don’t listen, they don’t care and as long as they make you show that you are very proactive in looking for work then they are satisfied. I have heard of many, many arguments with job seekers and Advisors where Job Seekers are trying their best to explain their circumstances and their ideal job. But Advisors just seem to think of it as doing whatever they can to get Job Seekers off benefits.

Whatever the job, work, training you get put on, even if you don’t like it, it’s not suitable, not what you want to do etc. If it gets you in work then they are satisfied.

For example, I am looking for Administration/Office work my Advisor put me forward for a Temp-Permanent opportunity with my local Premier Inn. I was put forward as the impression from my Advisor was that it would be Customer facing based (as in reception work) but when I actually started I was basically Restaurant Assistant, completing no administrative work at all.

This opportunity only lasted a week unpaid and was meant to follow a permanent job. Luckily on that note I got offered another temporary job which sounded better.

On a final note I couldn’t more recommend The National Careers Service – at least with them you can have One-to-One and they are not biased one sided linked with the Job Centre!

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