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Brown's global 'arms' training race

Keith Parkins | 28.01.2008 15:19 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements

Today Gordon Brown announced his global 'arms' training race.

"Today a British prime minister has to worry about the global skills race - because the nation that shows it can bring out the best in all its people will be the great success story of the coming decades. So it is time for a wake-up call for young people, employees and employers - that we now summon ourselves to a new national effort and mobilisation to win the new skills race." -- Gordon Brown

This morning more hollow, empty rhetoric on training from Gordon Brown. We used to have a global arms race, this morning Brown launched a global training race. For the unemployed, unemployment will not be an option, they will have to attend training courses.

Basically little more than a re-hash of a speech Brown gave a couple of months ago on training.

As the figures show, if measured on the crude measure of getting people into work, increasing their skills, New Deal has been an unmitigated failure.

If we delve a little deeper, we find the situation is far, far worse. News Deal is nothing more than a scam to massage the unemployment figures, a lucrative gravy train for companies like a4e, Working Links (aka Working Stinks!) , CDG, but does absolutely nothing for the unemployed, the very people it was allegedly designed to help.

Jobseekers who are forced to attend training courses run by CDG (Careers Development Group, a misnomer if ever there was one), see it as punishment for being unemployed. You are subjected to bullying, humiliating and degrading treatment. If you have any qualifications or professional experience, it is a de-skilling exercise. So much for Brown's claim of wanting to increase the country's skills base.

Training? Jobseekers forced to wear a blindfold, tie themselves to a partner, walk backwards and climb over and under barriers. One jobseeker injured his back and was forced to seek medical help. Scant regard to health and safety, the same scant regard to protection of personal data and personal privacy. Illegal monitoring of Internet activity. Welcome to CDG!

Jobseekers are told, contrary to legislation, contrary to Jobseekers Agreements, that they must apply for at least four jobs a day, each and every day, failure to do so will result in a threatened loss of benefit for 26 weeks. The only way to comply, is to play a numbers game, apply for any four jobs, which is to waste everyone's time, not only the time of the jobseeker, but also that of employers who are receiving these job applications.

From today, CDG will follow up every job application, every interview, with a telephone call to the employer. Guaranteed to piss off every employer and lessen the chance of employment.

Access to local newspapers is blocked on the Internet, local papers and national newspapers are not made available (as the contract with DWP requires), and the few that are are weeks old. Jobseekers are better off spending half a day in their local library.

American companies are now eying what they see as a highly lucrative market. One such company which intends to establish a presence in the UK is America Works. In the US, America Works gets $4,500 for each unemployed person they force into work for 6 months.

It is easy to see why they wish to jump onto this gravy train, shit loads of public money being handed out with no questions asked, no monitoring of how it is being spent, no sense of value for money.

Speaking this lunchtime on the BBC Radio 4 lunchtime news programme 'The World at One', the founder and chief executive of America Works bragged it was just like selling hamburgers, no different over here than selling hamburgers in New York!

Speaking on the same 'The World at One' this lunchtime, an economics professor at the LSE (London School of Economics) who advised New Labour on New Deal was adamant that there was no evidence that the private sector worked.

By an unhealthy coincidence, McDonald's announced they will be providing qualifications!!!

Would you like a McDegree with your order sir?

There is an understated need to provide better training, training to provide additional skills, to build on existing skills, to provide transferable skills. This is not what is happening. To pour more money into the private sector is simply to pour more good public money after bad.

An in-depth investigation by the Commons Public Accounts Committee is long overdue.

Keith Parkins


Hide the following 5 comments

Is that a McDegree and fries?

28.01.2008 16:40

McDonald’s will be able to issue GCSEs, A levels and degrees for the time honoured skill of serving a burger!

Enough to make one want to McVomit!

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MacDonalds are offering...

28.01.2008 18:35

a 'qualification' in Shit Management



29.01.2008 13:01

its part of a bigger plan, well progressed in america to position the state and local authorities as purchasers of services (education, health, welfare, military, surveillance, administration etc) from the private sector

Naomi Kleins Shock Doctrine can explain better than I can


latest shit from CDG

29.01.2008 16:18

Yet more examples of the bullying we are being subjected to.

CDG are now saying if you don't do the job search you will lose that day's travel money, and job seach means finding a job -- cold calling and sending spec letters is not job seach to them. And yet, they previously told us to do these things.

It is good though that CDG are getting exposed on Indymedia. Better still, will be for them to be closed down.

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