Skip to content or view screen version


Keith Parkins | 19.03.2008 16:03 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Sheffield

According to the boss and founder of a4e speaking on a BBC business programme last week, they are the unemployed best friend, they 'help' the unemployed back into work!

The Bottom Line is a BBC Radio 4 business programme broadcast on Saturdays sandwiched between the five o'clock and six o'clock news.

Last Saturday (15 March 2008) the guests on the programme were the boss of a recruitment agency who did not understand how social networking sites worked, the French guy who cocked up the Dome and the boss and founder of a4e.

A4e, together with other training providers such as Working Links and CDG (Careers Development Group), are subcontracted to DWP to provided under New Deal training for the unemployed and 'help' them into jobs.

In the light of highly critical comments on Indymedia UK, SchNEWS and elsewhere, I was interested to hear what the boss of a4e (Access for Employment) had to say for herself.

She came across as an idiot with a big mouth. According to her they were helping the unemployed into work, they were the unemployed best friend!

The BBC, displaying its famed impartiality, had no unemployed or jobseekers on the programme to give a contrary view, so her crass comments went unchallenged.

This is a small attempt to address that imbalance.

I have had no direct experience of a4e, I merely note the negative comments that have been published here and elsewhere, but it did strike me listening to her mouthing off, if you are so good, why are the unemployed not queuing up outside your door, why are these courses made compulsory, with threat of loss of benefits for up to six months if you refuse to attend?

If you attend a college course and it is no good, you can drop out, you may even try to get your money back.

The unemployed lack this option when on New Deal training courses. They are forced to attend no matter how bad, and benefits will be stopped if you try to drop out.

For basic skills, jobseekers are better off attending a local college, but Job Centres will even pull people off the courses and force them to attend a scam training course.

One of these scam training providers is CDG. Bullying is rife, jobseekers are forced to apply for four jobs every day, jobseekers are forced to go on compulsory work placements with no prior discussion as to the long term job prospects or even whether the job is suitable, forced to attend training courses which do not match or enhance their existing skills and experience, computer activities illegally monitored, the ever present threat of benefits being stopped for non-compliance. Those who dare criticise what is going on, are quickly pushed out the building, either on job placements or removed from the course with false allegations of misconduct. The most critical have had smear campaigns run against them.

Jobseekers should be able to vote with their feet, walk off these scam training courses, but they cannot. If they try, their benefits are stopped.

If these training providers are so good, why is compulsion necessary to force people to attend?

There is a long overdue need for a thorough inquiry into these scam training companies and an end to the gravy train.

Keith Parkins


Display the following 6 comments

  1. Nothing is mandatory — Danny
  2. Blessing in disguise — insider
  3. A4e is a scam, a lie and a joke. A sick joke at that...!!!! — Ian C. Matthew
  4. A4E Courses — Paul Matiss
  5. Has anyone heard of BEST? — Ian
  6. test — Ex A4E worker