So this weekend I got a letter in the post from Reed. It’s one of those “invitations” one sometimes gets when on the Work Programme – a laughable description, to make one more employable. In any case, I am invited to attend at 10:00 on Tuesday (tomorrow) for an induction, and by the way it’s mandatory and if I don’t attend then I can be sanctioned and lose benefits. Of course, what’s not said is that since I have to sign-on tomorrow morning at 11:40 which is also mandatory, then I cannot possibly attend both and can be sanctioned anyway. That said, I only get £67 a week to live on, so once I pay to get to their mandatory interviews, there’s not a lot left – I used to have savings from when I worked.
So I emailed Reed and the Job Centre. I have phoned both too to ask what my best course of action is. I’ve even checked on TFL’s web site for the fastest way to get between their offices (It’s 40 mins by tube – but that’s zone 1 peak time, or 50+ minutes by bus). So far, I’ve had no guidance on what to do from either party.
And the insane thing is, this induction tomorrow is for a 6 day course during which at least four days will be used to teach me the basics of how to use a PC, email, the internet and MS Word. During this course, I will have to miss three classes at which I am teaching these skills at a far more advanced level – it’s my voluntary job. SO basically, they are forcing me to do basic IT in the vain hope that it will make me more employable. BULLSHIT! It’s so they can get money out of the government by claiming to have taught me and others.
And whether I attend or not, they are as like as not to stop my benefits because I can’t be there and at the Job Centre at the same time. Also, I won’t be able to chase up agencies nor respond to emailed job ads, nor apply for work while I am there. I’ve seen their PCs, and have found them wanting. My phone is faster!
I’m angry now. I have no solution to this. Pretty much might as well just sign-off and live on nothing at this rate, since that’s what’s likely to happen whatever I try to do.
It’s only fair to say, after the above rant, that I have now had responses from both organisations and a solution to the clashing appointments has been found. I’m still confused as to why they think I need IT training though. Maybe they’re hoping I’m going to teach the class. I hope they pay me!