Thursday, 27 August 2009

Went to See Learndirect

Appropos of remaining positive, reaching out and trying new directions, I went to see Learndirect yesterday. You know, the one on the adverts that promises to help you with careers advice, training courses, etc.


It seems the options for me are limited. Being unemployed and as yet not on any government target list, it seems I don't qualify for free training and being unemployed with no money, I can't avail myself of Learndirect's courses either.

However, on a positive note, my lack of a grade C GCSE in maths means I DO qualify to pop back next week and do a maths assessment and have a go at doing a maths GCSE.

So after that positive bit, the interview changed to further education or subsidised training. Subsidised training is out, mainly because even though I could get a career development loan from the jobcentre, you have to start paying it back immediately after completing the course; with interest. A bit difficult if you're not actually getting any benefits to pay it back with.

So, the only viable option the Learndirect advisor could think of, was to try a University course. Its the only viable option, because its the only way to get money in the form of a grant, which doesn't need paying back straight away. Student grants only need paying back when you start earning money, i.e. in employment. Sounds daft, but no other grants or training for the unemployed wait until you are actually in work before requiring repayment. Go figure.

The university course option is interesting: not because it's an option for me (relying on student grants for 4-5 years isn't an option: I need a job), but because I wonder how many other people have been advised (or forced) to go down this route? How many unemployed people are actually masquerading as mature students? We all know there's a scandal about the number of people transferred from jobseekers to Invalidity Support because it doesn't run out after 6 months like jobseekers allowance, but the switch from jobseekers to student is a new one on me.

Anyway, I will dutifully borrow my daughters GCSE revision notes and pitch up next week for my maths test.

After that, I don't know, the further education options a a real non-starter, unless there's some miracle course that lets you crack off a degree for free in a few weeks...

I'm just gonna check my spam folder, I'm sure I remember some email I got a while back.....

P.S. It's interesting in a "identifying where the system is fucked up" kind of way to see how limited the options are for the unemployed outside of government targets. If you're not 18-25 or qualify for the older person's "new deal", there really is fuck all out there to help you drag your self out of the mire. The lack of choice and opportunity is staggering, but not unexpected, given the same has happened in education.

By fixating on targets, the government has cast adrift a whole raft of the unemployed and no matter how much rhetoric it spouts, the system institutionalises unemployement. You can't actually see it untill you're in the system though. Its no wonder, because "the system" is so complex, those charged with managing only know how it should work, not how it works in reality.

A further postscript is that after doing my usual bi-weekly autograph session at the local jobcentre, I asked for a meeting with the nextstep advisor. Such was the level of training they give in jobcentres these days, the member of staff attending to me had to go and ask a manager if they had a nextstep advisor, if I could request a meeting with one and how I go about it. She came back and proffered a leaflet with a phone number on it. It seems the area has a "floating adviser", you have to phone the number and arrange to meet the advisor at the jobcentre. An interesting concept: you'd think each jobcentre would have their own advisor and would be snowed under with work. Except the nextstep service isn't publicised (I picked up on it on the website)nor do the jobcentre staff offer it as an option.


  1. Came across your blog searching for learning options for unemployed - You seem as cynical as me so must be worth a more detailed read of your comments.
    Very quick scan of your latest comment - it almost mirrors my own experience. To enroll on a "free" IT learning course in my area one has to agree to undertake a literacy and numeracy assessment.... Following this test you will be then advised whether you qualify for funding...a few more weeks wasted when all you want to do is get on with things...

  2. Hi Jobseekers,
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    your dream job in Garden city.


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