An article in the Telegraph this week was discussing the ineffective work that A4E (the private firm that the Government pay to get people back into work) and the Jobcentre Plus are doing in helping the companies that actually are recruiting find suitable candidates.
It was reported, Richard Cook, director of London-based Champion Communications, said he had two vacancies and had approached A4E for help but had been left disillusioned by the experience.
His digital media and technology PR business had junior work experience roles and also a position for a senior consultant available. He decided to try A4E in London's West End.
"I went in and they were surprised to see me. They were not geared up for that sort of inquiry," he said.
An A4E manager did offer to help but was "completely unprepared", said Mr. Cook. He said he was asked whether he was open to employing non-graduates, whether he was offering any on-the-job training and the salary range. But he was never asked what his business did.
"He does not know to this day that we are a PR company or that we focus on technology and media branding, which are fundamental questions to ask," Mr. Cook said. "It did not stand up to the commitment that this organisation has in getting people back into work."
Mr. Cook said that two days later he received a call from the manager, who asked whether a former member of the BBC's production staff would be suitable for the senior consultant's role.
"I said no," said Mr. Cook," and then he asked whether the person would be suitable for the work experience."
Mr. Cook's experience echoes a recent survey of 2,500 firms by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which found that 34% saw Jobcentre Plus, the publicly-owned work agency, as "ineffective" or "very ineffective".
The FSB said that too many members had felt let down by the Jobcentre, with slow response times putting businesses off. "We also find staff are not trained in looking after the self-employed and the small business," said the FSB's Stephen Alambritis.
Not a very positive article considering we are in a recession at the moment and there are considerably less employers looking for staff. I was never really a fan of A4E before anyway as I have written about before in one of my blogs after the Channel Four shows aired about the company but I am surprised that even the Jobcentre has faced such criticism (maybe not too surprised).
If the Jobcentre isn’t even helping people get back into work or helping companies find suitable candidates then what chances have we as a nation got of reducing unemployment rates or meeting these so-called targets Mr. Brown has talked about?
I also read that A4E have been organising ‘Jobseeker Information Roadshows’ and ‘3D pavement drawings of local industry icons’ to promote their services (check one out here, it looks good: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a4eworks/3969235727/in/photostream/) to promote their services which all sounds very impressive but I love one, of only two comments below the article that appears on the Drum online talking about this circus, it simply says: “how many people got jobs?” Hmm... I’m sure we’ll never know but they do like to boast about the number of people that turned up!
Anyway, without dwelling too much on the negative, it looks like relying on A4E or Jobcentre Plus to help find a suitable job is not a great idea. Instead, in times like these, be creative, network, contact companies that aren’t advertising and show you’re interest – you never know they may remember you when a position does come up.