I suspect I’m not the only one who is disgusted by the Easter egg hunt at the JobCentre Plus contractor Skills Training Centre UK (STC) in Southwark, South London. More than 150 unemployed people have been invited to look for 35 chocolate eggs hidden in the STC offices. Prizes include payment for a licence to work on building sites, vouchers to buy clothes for interview, and the chance to become a security guard.
However, I doubt whether anyone who has been in a job centre will be that surprised. The last time I had to use the service I was sent on a course run by some private training company to update my CV and show me how to use the phone, and lick a stamp! The best advice I got was to lie on my CV! I was told to ‘play down’ my qualifications as I was likely to put employers off!
And now we have this so called fun and innovative approach to job seeking. It’s nothing of the sort. It sounds as if some bright spark devoid of any imagination, creativity or respect for human dignity has spent too long watching the reality TV programme Big Brother. It begs the question of what happens next year, chicken costumes or maybe eating worms or maybe selling a few tickets to have an audience to complete the humiliation? Unemployment can have a devastating effect on self-confidence and self-esteem and I’m hard pressed to see how humiliating people is going to help with this.
It’s all the more worrying the the organiser of this fiasco Catrina Lynch does see there’s a problem with the approach and some jobsworth at the Department for Work and Pensions has said: ‘We encourage providers to develop innovative ways of addressing unemployment. The most important thing is to find ways to get people back into work.’
Clearly, there should be an Easter egg hunt for the idiots who think this is a good way to treat human beings. We could have “choccie-woccie eggy-weggies” filled with invitations to training courses on ‘how to treat people’ or better still containing their P45s! Maybe this would put these ‘people’ back in touch with values of respect, compassion and professionalism.