Sunday, 8 July 2012

a4e History

The local council housing has been moved to a private company,   and just recently we have lost a T J
Hughes, and a Woolworths, so there are few jobs in the north west,
there has been a recent report that a about 1/3 of shops in the region
are empty.

Now in 2008 i was sent to a4e for the first time.  Imagine about
60-100 people in the place, there were about 5 computers, these
computers were so old and slow that when you could get on they were
too slow to be of much use.  They said we will find you a placement to
give you recent job experience,  Needless to say they didn't.  The
only ones they offered was working in a4e as a receptionist, but they
said i couldnt use their computers as i hadnt signed a confidential
agreement, and the person who knew where that paper was wasnt around
and they couldnt print it off for me to sign, so all i was ding was
sitting there and answering the door.   They sent me to retirement
village, which was a nice place, great people but it was awful to get
to from where i live, I said to the staff that since i couldnt drive,
and i had osteo arthritis of both ankles i have to take my time
walking there.  They said but we can get there and finding out they
drove there they didnt even go on public transport. Imagine you being
there for 30 hours a week, reading old newspapers sometimes two weeks
old.  Where we live there are the 4 Local paper. now these papers came out on
thursdays, but they were never bought until at least monday's, There
is just so many times you can read a paper in a week.  During this
time we had some new members of staff, and one of them treated some
clients really badly they said they were going to throw her out of the
window, because of her attitude.  This same staff member said there
was an odour in the room (this was mid summer in a place with no
ventilation) then proceded to lecture people aged 18 to 55, about how
to wash clothes, how we should boil wash clothes. Essentially telling
us we all smell this infuriated many of the people there.  The venue
there was bad,  exposed wiring, broken glass, no ventilation.  The
kitchen was dirty.  They apparently could only offer water to drink
but as a "gift" they had a kettle and some coffee and tea for people
to drink.

Also when i was there, I had the start of a urinary infection, now i
felt uncomfortable speaking to the female staff members about it so i
spoke to the male member of staff.. and he understood, but the female
staff members wanted to know, and when i said they smirked.  I felt
uncomfortable, and afte 11 weeks there they find me and another lad a
placement in a charity. The other lad had just started the scheme i
was just finishing, So it wasnt as good for me to do it, what made it
worse was there was only enough work for one person.. I was so bored
there that i volunteered to tidy the store room.   It also didnt help
i was going through a divorce and they appeared to be unconcerned
about personal problems. I left there feeling bad and depressed and
felt worse than when i started it took me a long time to start to feel
confident again.

The second time i was sent there, I immediately felt bad, about a year
before i had lost my brother, he dropped dead in  front of me, and
that affected me.  So i went not holding out much hope and i was
correct.  I was pushed onto the induction week, yes a week of
induction, My tutor that that induction was supposed to be teaching
computers but he never did.  He was a very vocally politically biased,
and since my politics wasnt his i felt uncomfortable at speaking out.
He was constantly denigrating any other political party and anyone
believing in them.  He constantly talked down to people.  This second
time was supposed to be more cafe like.. their idea was to have 2
bowls of fruit, and orange juice.  Then once induction week was done,
I was sent to the main group, it was the same as the last time only
they had a few more computers.  This was during the heat of the summer
of 2008.  Now since the staff knew i understood computers they
suggested I teach them as a preview of doing a PTTLS course teaching
computers, and they suggested they could get funding.. .  So i waited
13 weeks to see if they could arrange funding apparently they can't or
won't fund any courses  Apart from fork lift truck, and security
cards.   During this time I thought i have my health and safety level
1 certificate, i wouldnt mind doing the level 2, keeping me busy and
maybe helping me get a job.  I was told by this tutor, That he didn't
want to put me forward as he only wanted to give the health and safety
course to people who would get a job in manual work and since i was
administration there was no point.

I had a placement officer who said he would get placements for me his
first attempt he said he had a contact in the local hotel, but after 3
weeks of playing phone tag with her, he GAVE up. So i was there
applying for at least one job a day, usually bringing in my own papers
because of the same issue as the first time old papers.  But added to
this, I became the tech support of the staff as well.. the staff
couldnt be bothered to do anything when one computer went wrong so
they asked me to speak to their tech support because I knew what to
do.  I then was asked to teach the other clients how to use the
computers,  As well as doing my job search I didn't mind helping out
the clients but it got to a point where it was disrupting my own job
search. The induction teacher was supposed to be the one doing that
not me.

So there i am sitting doing the same as last time,  then 2nd to last
day i get we have a job interview for you, you have to go..Now at this
time it was again mid summer, and hot.. the placement officer came
upto me and took me into another room and said i have been told there
is an odour and he proceeded to give me a deoderant can.  This was
before the interview. I got upset and angry they destroyed any
confidence i had going to this interview.  So i get there, the nearest
bus stop was miles away from this place so i walked there once again
with my ankles crying out in pain, i get there and see this man, and
he said do you want me to get you a taxi to go home. He said i looked
as if i was going to have a stroke or collapse.  I went back and said
it wasnt good enough as it wasnt an interview it was for me to just
fill in an application form. They said it was my fault i should have
told them about my ankles and i could have said i wasnt going.. (the
week before a lad there said no and was sanctioned for the same thing
they said i could do).  You couldnt store your cv on a memory stick as
they were blocked from use, so you had to email yourself your cv and
letters, download them when you needed them, then deleted them as the
computers were wiped every night, and if you needed your cv again you
would download it again.  I ended up taking my own netbook there to
actually type stuff up because you could never get onto the computers
apparerntly that was wrong. You had to use their computers when you
could get on them.

Almost all the staff members in this place are not from the area. They
live where there are better public transport lionks  So they
have no idea of the local situation they claim  there are many jobs
out there but if you cant get there then those jobs dont exist in any
effective form.  The first two time i was sent there, the government
gave you £15 extra a week, and they would pay back the travel costs,,
apart from the first £4.  so they were taking £4 off you for admin

Now i have been sent yet again to a4e, I had all the paper work that i
was going to Ingeus Deloitte the other provider in the area, so i was
happy i wasnt going to A4e, then i find they got it wrong so it was
A4e.  My first meeting was on the 23rd of August So i turn up and they
say why are you here, we have no evidence.. they had double booked me
so it was sign these papers and go..(i asked for copies of those
papers).  Yesterday, i went for me "proper" interview.  Apparently My
cv which has had rave reviews by staff at the previous A4e, and other
employers is wrong, it has too much information, and too little at the
same time.  Apparently one of the reasons why i haven't got a job is
because all my past jobs have been temporary contracts.  She asked me
in this interview what my faith was.. I felt uncomfortable about this,
didn't feel like saying.  She said it was just the computer asking.  I
could see if it was ethnic monitoring but did i have faith..  I said
prefer not to say.  It is my fault i haven't got a job, I must be
failing because there are Many jobs out there, that my applications
must be wrong, my CV must be wrong otherwise i would be in work.
This is a very simplistic answer. As this is a mandatory scheme that
lasts 2 years they can send you on any scheme they wish any course
they wish, even if its useless and you cannot refuse. If you do you
get sanctioned. The will not fund any course like the PTTLS course
even if it will get you a job.

The a4e schems have never worked, they have always failed they promise
the world and fail.  So i am not holding out much hope, and i feel
even more down and depressed about going there.  I think these places
need to be reviewed and have people going in to experience what its
like, to be told you are wrong to tell people who are blamed for all
the ills (the unemployed) to be talked down too, to be treated like
children by people younger than you.  Apparently since the job centre
doesnt know about my ankles (but they do) i am fit for work.  To me it
sounds like they will push everyone into any job. So a4e can claim the
bonus for getting people into a job.

Now apparently if you say anything about how badly a4e treated you,
they claim its all new, its completely different, but from my first
few experiences it seems the same to me.  Pushing people into doing
schemes when they wish, forcing you to go when they wish,  it could be
every day, every week, or once every 2 weeks. no consitancy.  I want
to know how can A4e justify making a profit, when they have pushed non
profit charitable organisations out of the system.  If a company fails
twice before, why have they been given the contract to do it again?
How much money is spent on this scheme money that can be spent to
create sustainable jobs rather than hiding the true figures.

Thank you for listening  I know this is a massive email but they are
my experiences, Questions need to be asked about is it value for
money, Is it actually helping.  I feel very down and depressed because
i have no confidence in them at all.  And i am terrified of speaking
to anyone about this incase of sanctions.  This is a climate of fear
that a4e creates, for me i dont really care because to do nothing will
make it worse for everyone else.

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