Since I’ve promised a few people an update, then I’ll start here. I’m going to ramble a bit, so please bear with me.
I managed to make both appointments yesterday, though not without cost to myself. Anyway, the JCP¹ adviser told me I could come in late if Reed² kept me too long, so I was confident that I’d make it somehow…
So I set out by bus to the first appointment at Reed, and arrived about 10 minutes before my appointment, having stood outside the door with several other feckless work-shy layabouts³ for another 10 minutes waiting for Reed to work out how to open the door and let us in. Eventually, about 20 minutes late, I got to see my adviser – whose title says “Senior Adviser” even though she’s only been there a week – who asked about the clash of interviews and promised to get me a travelcard to cover me getting to the JCP quicker. This didn’t materialise of course, it was just to get me out of her hair and back into the training queue. I was also informed that the entire six week course was mandatory, and that I was wrong about it being a basic course, but rather was pretty advanced, and that the certificate, while not equivalent to a university degree, would be almost as good.
Some time later the group were led in to meet the trainer. Some people were let out when it became obvious that it was unsuitable. However, for me it was mandatory, so I had to stay. It turns out this is a Level 1 course in MS Office, using Windows XP. It was at this point that I mentioned that I teach Advanced EDSL on a voluntary basis (which is several levels higher than Level 1, which is only barely above novice level). Still, I filled in the form, and for every item on the course, I ticked the box marked “I know this very well and use it daily”.
Next was the aptitude test, basic literacy and numeracy. It was remedial level, and I could have passed the test at 5 years old (yeah, at that age my reading and maths was rather advanced, but I digress). This completed, I had a one-to-one chat with the tutor where she wanted to know my qualifications. Seems she didn’t know that Systems Analysis & Design was an IT related subject. She wasn’t interested in my CV, which was a shame since I’d made some nice QR codes with links online.
Needless to say, I was less than impressed. I’m getting the feeling that Reed are actively hindering my employability with this nonsense. Like I’m going to put Level 1 IT on my CV as a qualification, when I have a BSc(Hons) on it already.
So leaving there, I went down to the JCP, and though late was able to sign on without a problem. At least one of the organisations in this story knows how to do their job.
Something must have happened though. In the evening, as is usual for a Tuesday, I met up with Louise for dinner. This time we were also with a number of friends and it promised to be a fun evening, and I to be honest, felt that I needed a few drinks after the day. Of course this is where it all fell down. The day had left me with a mild headache, which turned out to be worse than I thought. I didn’t finish my food, and couldn’t even drink what I usually would – which didn’t help with my desire to drink and forget – and when Louise wanted to leave early, I didn’t complain as I usually do. I didn’t mention it at the time but my head was worse and I was feeling rather worn down.
Didn’t sleep well either, which was not helped by the railway engineering works at Euston, which was like a hammer-drill in the back of my skull at 1:30 in the morning. I have no idea how Louise sleeps through it. And this morning I woke with a searing pain behind my eyes that made me feel like my eyeballs were about to explode. Several painkillers later and it’s only just down to manageable levels. If I’d had a job interview this morning, I’d never have made it – and all because of the incompetence of those people supposedly trying to help me get work.
It leaves me amazed.
¹ JobCentre Plus, for those who don’t know is a government agency set up to help the jobless back into work and provide a centralised point of contact for most benefits.
² Reed In Partnership is one of the companies providing resources for the Work Programme, a government initiative set up to drive job seekers to suicide (apparently).
³ Term used in the popular press to describe people looking for work. (c.f. Othering)