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New Deal boot camps

Keith Parkins | 28.11.2007 16:05 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | South Coast

An in-depth undercover investigation into New Deal boot camps.

'There are too many people on benefit.' -- Peter Hain, Secretary of State, Department of Work and Pensions

'We want to help people, not punish people - this is about giving people opportunities. -- Peter Hain, Work and Pensions Secretary

'The inactive should, wherever possible, be preparing and training to get back into work.' -- Gordon Brown

New Deal for the unemployed was introduced with much fanfare by neo-Labour when they came to power a decade ago. Not to be confused with New Deal for Communities or Pathfinder programme that is destroying tens of thousands of homes in the North, social cleansing under any other name.

We hear much from the government on New Deal, how they are spending millions on helping the unemployed. What we do not hear or hear less of is how they are pouring taxpayers' money down the drain and creating a gravy train for private training companies, some of which have managed to milk millions of pounds out of the system.

What is New Deal, is it of use to the unemployed, or just more spin from neo-Labour and a further excuse to beat the unemployed with a big stick, hit some of the most vulnerable in society to scrape a few Brownie points out of the right-wing tabloids?

Those who are unemployed, after a minimum period of unemployment, will be placed on New Deal. This means they get special attention, for 'special attention' read 'harassment', and will be allocated a New Deal adviser.

If you are lucky, your adviser will be supportive and helpful, but could be if you are unlucky, unsupportive, bloody-minded and obstructive, and whose role in life appears to be to make your life a misery. Periodically you will find your benefit is arbitrarily stopped, seemingly on a whim. The first you will know of this is when your money stops, as they lack the courtesy to let you know, let alone give reasons why. And then you will have difficulty extracting the reasons why it has been stopped.

If your Jobseeker's Allowance is stopped, it has a knock on effect of stopping your Housing Benefit. Hours of unproductive time then has to be spent sorting out the mess that is not of your making. More costs to the taxpayer.

If benefit stops, always appeal to a Tribunal.

Favourite grounds for stopping money, is 'not actively seeking work', at least in 'their' opinion.

You are probably fully compliant with the law, so check, or seek legal advice.

The relevant legislation is The Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 1996 (Statutory Instrument 1996 No 207)

and in particular Section 18 - Steps to be taken by persons actively seeking employment

You are required in any one week to take more than one step (ie two) and the steps to be seen to be taking are laid down in law.

(1) For the purposes of section 7(1) (actively seeking employment) a person shall be expected to have to take more than one step on one occasion in any week unless taking one step on one occasion is all that it is reasonable for that person to do in that week.

(2) Steps which it is reasonable for a person to be expected to have to take in any week include —
(a) oral or written applications (or both) for employment made to persons-
(i) who have advertised the availability of employment; or
(ii) who appear to be in a position to offer employment;
(b) seeking information on the availability of employment from-
(i) advertisements;
(ii) persons who have placed advertisements which indicate the availability of employment;
(iii) employment agencies and employment businesses;
(iv) employers;
(c) registration with an employment agency or employment business;
(d) appointment of a third party to assist the person in question in finding employment;
(e) seeking specialist advice, following referral by an employment officer, on how to improve the prospects of securing employment having regard to that person's needs and in particular in relation to any mental or physical limitations of that person;
(f) drawing up a curriculum vitae;
(g) seeking a reference or testimonial from a previous employer;
(h) drawing up a list of employers who may be able to offer employment to him with a view to seeking information from them on the availability of employment;
(i) seeking information about employers who may be able to offer employment to him;
(j) seeking information on an occupation with a view to securing employment in that occupation.

If you have checked out a job advertisement in the local paper, inquired about a job at an employment agency, spoken with an employer, fiddled around with your CV, then you have more than met the requirement that week to be seen as actively seeking work.

A booklet available from Job Centres, also downloadable off the net, entitled While claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, tells you in non-legal terms, what you have to do to be actively seeking work. [Ref No. WCJSAA5JP version 1/06 ISBN: 1-84388-709-6]

'You will normally be expected to take at least three steps each week while you are getting Jobseeker's Allowance. This could include drawing up a CV – a short description of you and your work experience, skills and qualifications. It could also include more direct jobseeking activities like contacting employers.'

The booklet is incorrect when it says you have to take at least three steps. You are compliant with the law if you take more than one step, and the steps are defined, in any one week. But apart from this one glaring error, it gives a general idea of what you have to do to be seen as 'actively seeking work'.

The next stage is to send you to a New Deal boot camp, oops a training course. If you have a modicum of basic education and intelligence, this is a de-skilling course. You will also be expected to go and work for a company for several weeks for no pay, slave labour by any other name.

Most of these training courses are at a best a scam at worst outright fraud. If taxpayers are concerned at waste of taxpayer money, this is where they should concentrate their attention, not on the unemployed.

One such training organisation is CDG, also known as CDG UK or Careers Development Group.

They have dozens of training centres across the country with their head office in Wimbledon.

CDG are a registered charity, they claim to be a 'professional' charity. Something of a non sequiter as all charities have to be professional, otherwise they fall foul of the Charity Commission.

It begs the question: should CDG even be a registered charity?

A typical day at CDG is divided into morning and afternoon. One session will be devoted to 'job search' the other to 'training'. Most days would at best be described as chaos, with no one seemingly knowing from one day to the next what anyone is supposed to be doing.

During training you will learn how to give dumb answers to dumb interview questions, how to fill out an application form. Training monkeys.

A typical training session would be filling out an application form, or answering a multiple choice questionnaire on applying for a job, then walking blindfolded down a room!

The latter was to encourage team work and communication.

Ah, team building, The latest management buzz word. Few jobs require team work. You may even be sent out to practice guerrilla training, spray around a few paint balls, trash a few ancient woodlands.

What is never emphasised or even spoken of is cooperation.

But please do not try this if you are a Muslim youth group, as you will be arrested, charged and found guilty of terrorism offences.

Indeed if you are a Muslim, do not even read the wrong literature, as again you will be arrested, charged and found guilty of a terrorism offence.

George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four draws ever closer.

During 'job search' you are expected to find and apply for a minimum of four jobs a day! You are 'helped' in your job search by the threat that benefits could be stopped for up to six months for failure to comply.

For most people, this is impossible, a situation not helped by the fact that CDG block Internet access to local newspapers and many potential employers. Even job sites are blocked! Local newspapers are not available or if they are available, days old when all the jobs have gone.

Few jobs are advertised, even fewer jobs are put through agencies. Most jobs are found through social networks, the better your social network, the better the chance of finding a job.

CDG blocks access to many potential employers, to news sites including local papers, even job sites are blocked.

But do not show any form of personal initiative, if you do you will receive a verbal warning. Job search at CDG is narrowly defined as looking at situations vacant, nothing more.

One Jobseeker was issued with a verbal warning for 'looking at an inappropriate website', ie BookCrossing!

No advice had been given that this was an 'inappropriate' website, proper procedures were not followed, no warning given that this was to be a disciplinary meeting, no indication that a third party could be present.

How did they know? It appears they had been monitoring Internet activity, which in itself may have been illegal as no notice was given that this was being done.

The computers are using old style monitors not flat screens, background fluorescent illumination and many chairs with non-adjustable heights and backs.

A clear breach of health and safety with users suffering backache and headaches by the end of the day.

Jobseekers at CDG very quickly learn to play the numbers game. The search for work becomes not finding work, but meeting the daily jobs quota.

This is to waste everyone's time, including employers who find they are being swamped with applications from unsuitable applicants.

Many people are being sent to a New Deal boot camp that is not near their home, often involving a nightmare public transport journey with multiple changes and taking door-to-door up to two hours each way. All the more ridiculous when there is often a New Deal boot camp nearer to home.

One jobseeker would have had a nine minute train journey to her nearest town, instead, three different trains, two changes, a journey of almost two hours.

Yet another example of waste of taxpayers' money, as the taxpayer foots the bill for travel expenses.

Those attending the boot camp get their travel expense paid, except the first four pounds of a travel claim in any one week is deducted. This has to come out of their own pocket.

Lunchtime, rain or shine, the jobseekers are kicked out on the street for an hour.

Lunch is not paid for or provided, putting jobseekers further out of pocket.

Jobseekers are allocated an individual tutor. Most tutors try to be helpful, and they do give helpful advice, for example when individuals are struggling to type out an application letter.

One tutor, lacking in people skills and the ability to communicate, was clearly out of his depth. He made up for his inability to cope, with aggression, which included shouting and swearing at jobseekers and bullying behaviour. When he got a reaction, he complained of 'attitude', lack of respect, and as a last resort threatened to have people sanctioned, ie their benefits stopped. He failed to understand that you do not get get the best out of people by treating them as children and riding their backs all day, especially when they resent being there in the first place, forced to participate in a farce.

With a couple of people, who at the end of the day, had fulfilled their daily job quota and were relaxing and having a chat, he practically accused them of shirking and wanted to know why they had not done more. Not, well done and hope you manage to achieve the same the next day. But worse, he went over to one person, pulled on his laptop so he could see what was on the screen. Had he inquired, he would have learnt they were discussing jobs in their local area and job placements.

He eavesdropped on private conversations, then went off half cock with the wrong end of the stick.

The same tutor spent the morning scouring the net for information on discrimination. He then gave a training session in the afternoon on discrimination. At the request of the jobseekers, the training session had to be adjourned for a break to give him the opportunity to mug up on what he had downloaded that morning.

One jobseeker was forced to do a first aid course, even though he had only successfully completed a first aid course a couple of months before. He was threatened with being sanctioned, ie benefit withdrawn, if he refused. He wanted to make better use of his time in revision for his driving theory test as he had a job lined up which was dependent on him holding a driving licence.

A few days later, the same jobseeker, tried once again to revise for his theory test, only to have the same jumped up bully of a tutor with a permanent chip on his shoulder give him grief for 'not looking for work'. No attempt was made by the tutor to check whether or not this was worker related, whether or not having a driving license increased the prospect of getting a job, let alone whether the jobseeker had a job lined upon that was dependent on passing the theory test.

A useless manager who does nothing other than strut up and down all day like a peacock.

A manager who fabricates a pack of lies to have a Jobseeker kicked off the course for gross misconduct.

It comes as no surprise, staff morale at CDG is low, staff turnover high. Staff freely admit they would rather be elsewhere.

Jobseekers may be on a Gateway Course for two weeks or IAP (Intensive Activity Period) for 13 weeks, or if they are really unlucky, one follows the other. And if they are really, really unlucky, one IAP follows another!

During IAP, jobseekers are meant to be placed with an employer for several weeks where they are expected to work for nothing. This is called 'gaining work experience'.

Few, if any, are being placed, because CDG does not have willing employers. Few, if any, of the Jobseekers wish to work for nothing, not unless it is voluntary work for an NGO, and surprise, surprise, voluntary work is excluded.

More than one jobseeker, who had found their own work placement, when asking why nothing was happening, were told to shut up and stop pestering staff!

One unlucky jobseeker, sent to a builders yard for administrative work, found himself out in the yard shifting heavy loads, no protective gear, no high visibility jacket, no training.

It would appear no lessons have been learnt from the death of Simon Jones.

The unemployed are not only to be treated as second class citizens, it would appear they are expendable.

The advice CDG is giving employers makes interesting reading. They have on their books, doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants and IT people, all available to come and work for you for nothing!'s%20Guide.pdf

The statement made by Laura Hampson of CDG to Brighton & Hove Business Forum, says it all:

'This is a Government funded charity that provides training programmes, careers advice and work placements to a wide variety of people with varying skills and skill-levels ....'

'Because of their links to the Jobcentre, highly skilled trainers, and a network of local businesses they have a high number of capable clients looking for work placements. CDG can be used by local businesses to source enthusiastic, skilled workers at no cost. In addition to sourcing the right person for a particular employment they support the client during the placement so that both employer and employee benefits are maximised.'

'As part of their training some of CDG’s clients complete a 13 week voluntary work placement in a variety of fields. CDG provide businesses with experienced employees for an express need, or short-term workers who have the capacity to be retained in full employment after the 13 week period. This has proved to be a highly effective recruitment method as it ensures that the employee is both experienced within the business and is motivated by it.'

The key phases being 'CDG can be used by local businesses to source enthusiastic, skilled workers at no cost' and 'CDG provide businesses with experienced employees for an express need' and 'has proved to be a highly effective recruitment method'.

Laura Hampson incorrectly states participation is voluntary. It is not. It is mandatory and if you refuse to participate your benefits can be stopped for up to six months.

One day a mentor appeared at CDG to give a pep talk to the troops. He was from TNG, yet another training organisation. Quite why he was there was not clear, maybe he was touting for business.

He talked of empowerment, the facilities and resources being offered by CDG and how lucky everyone was to have this opportunity. Err, sick joke! He talked of the marvelous job opportunities that were on offer and the career advancement this led to. He gave examples: a cleaning job with Southwest trains (it could lead to being an engine driver), working at Burger King (this was the route to senior management). He was at a loss to comprehend the lack of enthusiasm for the McShit jobs on offer.

He then let slip he had been at other New Deal boot camps to give his pep talk. This confirmed that there were camps closer to home. What was he going to do about it? The only advice he could give was talk to your local MP. When told the local MP was an arsehole, he decided his allotted time was up, and he would let the Jobseekers, or clients as he called them, carry on where they left off.

So it was back to the blindfolds, tie yourself to a partner, crawl under and climb over obstacles. Maybe this is what he had been referring to when he talked of overcoming obstacles to employment!

As a consequence of this 'training exercise', one jobseeker damaged his back and had to pay a visit to his doctor.

Another day two women from a job agency came to visit. They wanted birth certificate, passport and bank account details. More than enough for ID theft, identity fraud and money laundering. They were unable to produce a business card (it's at the printers) and when asked what jobs they had, they were unable to say other than they had hundreds.

This was the day that 25 million records from Inland Revenue went missing, lost somewhere in the post.

The New Deal boot camp is seen by those who are forced to participate, you have no choice, it is mandatory and if you refuse benefit is stopped, as nothing but a farce.

A few examples serve to illustrate:

- CDG has now tightened up. Last year, those that attended the boot camp sat around playing cards all day until it was time to go home.

- At other boot camps, once the initial few weeks have passed, Jobseekers make an appearance once a week, sign their name, have a cup of tea, chat with their mates, then go back home.

- One lady on a New Deal boot camp was within a couple of weeks of reaching retirement age.

- Screaming, shouting, music, playing football during job search.

- Jobseekers sent home at midday on a Friday so the staff can go down the pub.

CDG are running what amounts to little more than a fraudulent operation to obtain government funding. The government should mount an investigation and shut them down.

Next time you hear that neo-Labour has launched a new initiative to help the unemployed, look beyond the headlines and spin, and when you do, you will see it is yet another scam to waste taxpayers' money and to punish the unemployed.

The reason there is unemployment is because there are no jobs. A situation exacerbated by an influx of 2 million migrants from Eastern Europe since 2004 when the new accession countries joined the EU and probably at least the same number again of illegal immigrants.

A situation the government deliberately maintains to encourage worker flexibility and mobility and to hold down wages.

Government statistics published in 2002, showed New Deal sanction rates to be highest in areas of chronic job shortage and high unemployment, such as the north-east. Those suffering most from state penalties are those already suffering most from the market economy. The welfare state if it had any underlying philosophy was the recognition that unemployment is caused by the vagaries of capitalism, not the unemployed are a bunch of work shysters and scroungers to be punished. Withholding benefits as a means of controlling the behaviour of the class hardest hit by these vagaries is unethical and merely serves to punish an underclass for the very act of being the underclass, as though this will make the underclass vanish under the wave of a neo-Labour magic wand.

What neo-Labour are doing with New Deal would be like trying to improve the nation's health by withholding treatment from those on poor diets or who smoke, and demanding, as is already required of jobseekers, that they sign a 'healthseekers agreement', and once signed, health provision would be withheld as a sanction for non-compliance.

Neo-Labour would not do that, would they?

What is happening is a numbers game, a massaging of the unemployment figures. Jobseekers at the New Deal boot camp receive their P45s. The numbers of unemployed go down as they are counted elsewhere, at a stroke, the long-term unemployed are eliminated. When they are discharged from the New Deal boot camp, the New Dealers sign on as new claimants!

New Deal does nothing for the unemployed. It has though at taxpayers' expense created a multi-million pound gravy train for training companies.

Evey independent investigation into New Deal shows that it does not meet its stated objectives, that it is a waste of public money, and yet the government still pours in millions.

Jobcentres make no attempt to debrief jobseekers who have attended a New Deal boot camp to see if they offer value for money, whether or not any benefit has been achieved. Not that they need to as they are receiving plenty of complaints from those forced to participate. And yet, the Jobcentres still insist on sending jobseekers on to these boot camps, often to the same boot camp more than once.

In a speech to the CBI (Monday 26 November 2007), Gordon Brown spoke of the need to make training mandatory for all welfare claimants, with benefits withheld to those who refused to go on training courses.

If Brown is to make training mandatory, then he has to improve the existing training courses, not pour more good money after bad.

Few would disagree with training that provides basic skills, that adds to existing skills, that provides transferable skills, but that is not what is happening.

Brown's statement that there would be a stronger role for private and voluntary firms in helping people move from benefits to work, was heavily criticised by trade unions. A spokeswoman for Unison said:

"Study after study shows that the private sector does not deliver good value for money and walks away from contracts when the going gets tough."

Mired in sleaze, the banking system on the point of collapse, missing data, was Brown attempting to bury bad news, trying to claw back a few points in the opinion polls, by lashing out at the unemployed?

Anyone who has any remaining doubts should consider the response of a New Deal Adviser when asked what the success rate was. She did not know! She was though more than happy to continue sending people on New Deal training courses even though by her own admission she had not a clue whether or not this was public money well spent!

New Deal blogs



Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 1996
Jobseekers Act 1995
Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999
Social Security Act 1998


Nick Assinder, Brown's welfare re-launch, BBC news on-line, 26 November 2007

Brown outlines 'long-term' plans, BBC news on-line, 26 November 2007

Charities make millions out of the unemployed/disabled, Indymedia UK, 3 July 2006

Charity balls, SchNEWS, 3 February 2006

Frank Field, Peter White, Making individuals agents of their own change, Reform, November 2007

Free Lunch Paid For By New Deal......But We're Not Invited, Indymedia UK, 29 November 2004

David Hencke, Government turns charities into multimillion-pound businesses, The Guardian, 3 July 2006,,1811141,00.html

Richard Jonson, How Legal is the UK New Deal for Employment?, South Coast Indymedia, 9 June 2007

Most London firms hiring overseas, BBC news on-line, 16 November 2007

New Deal job scheme 'a failure', BBC news on-line, 14 May 2007

Keith Parkins, Careers Development Group, Indymedia UK, 27 November 2007

Keith Parkins, Local Housing Allowance, Indymedia UK, to be published

'Skills check' for single parents, BBC news on-line, 26 November 2007

Skills drive 'to boost workforce', BBC news on-line, 16 November 2007

Tougher work tests for disabled, BBC News on-line, 19 September 2007

Judith Williamson, Work for a pittance - or else, The Guardian, 26 April 2002,3604,690834,00.html

Will Woodward, New Deal fails most youngsters, The Guardian, 31 July 2002,,766749,00.html

Work for a pittance: unemployed to be forced into work, Indymedia UK, 26 April 2002

Keith Parkins


Hide the following 11 comments

They need a real fight.

28.11.2007 21:11

Raw Rap is trying to encourage people to discuss the issues around this subject and posibly organise as the situation gets worse. This is not some minor blip in political thinking or rhetoric as it also effects those that now work and get welfare...... so what happens when they try to make budget cuts when they cant afford us any longer?

The Board is open to all questions and for those that beleive they have the answer, but what we can not let them do is to keep on stomping us into the ground.

mail e-mail:
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More on this

28.11.2007 22:23

Everything you read in this article by Mr Parkins is shockingly true but this is just part of it. While talking to Mr Parkins in a lengthy conversation about his article and this particular branch. Some more shocking truths have come to light which in any business, charity or organisation is damaging.

The first thing is the fact about the security to this place. We are told to enter by the side entrance which is left open and ANYONE can walk in through it. If I had a grudge and wanted revenge I could easily get it or anyone could walk in un invited and nobody would take notice as people come and go as they like so they would think oh he or she is not a bother.

To follow up on that the fact that none of us in our experience of coming their as a visitor have signed a book on anything to say we have been in the building. A great example of this would be an old friend comes and go as he likes and nobody questions even though he is no longer on the course!

The next thing would be about the fire safety or lack of it to be blunt. Walk in the back door and look around for a fire extinguisher. Upon talking about this we realised that there is none in view of computers or class rooms. So where are they? There is not even a bucket of sand which is common in most places of work.

The next thing and most shocking of all is the fire register. Every person must sign this document EVERY day to confirm they are in the building. No member of staff since I have been there has come up to me and said please make sure you sign this. There is at least thirty people inside the building yet today, half an hour before we left nobody had signed it bar a few people. I took it upon myself to take it around to people and tell them to sign it as you have to by rules.

The fact this is an official document requested to be signed by the staff of CDG is not signed and even more so the staff do not care about it is just shocking and neglect. If their was a fire and someone was left inside or had signed it but just done the whole day and still inside would be on their head for them not doing their job. On their conscience it would be that they did not have people sign that fire register. Enclosed is a picture taken in the afternoon of the register itself.

These plus the many more shocking revelations that come to light nearly every day just show how bad this charity or whatever it is, is. I'm a client their and for me to do their job to make sure people stay alive is stupid. I have a long way to go left on this course and if these and the many things that Mr Parkins mentioned continue to carry on before long this 'Charity' will implode or be the cause of mass walk outs or mutiny

A friend once said

I'm a job seeker but get me out of here!

Mr X

A4e (Action for employment)

29.11.2007 01:19

In Sheffield it is A4e who get god knows how much per head to train the local unemployed for the local Mcjobs.
This company was started by a local lass with money from her very rich daddy.
She is about to be given an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration by Derby University , for , " outstanding work in providing training support for business entrepreneurs ".
They have about 30 odd international business partners , about 7 are Polish and around 24 Israeli.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Foundation to name but two.
Small world innit.
Have a look at there website its really uplifting , positive , int milk brilliant stuff.
Getting rich off of the backs of the unemployed and taxpayers.... what an absolutely great idea.
Go Emma Go Emma Go Emma Go, daddy will be proud.
You'll be signing on at A4e next.
Who needs the Department of Work and Pensions... eh Gordon ?


Little changes

29.11.2007 14:14

I was in this position under the tories late eighties, when that prick john major was screwing things up.Because of him I lost my job and had no money.
I spent months on every various 'training scheme' I could until eventually getting a position on 'employment training' that meant working for a local firm with no more than the dole to live on. Not even a contribution towards expenses. Idea being you slaved for a year, the firm benefited and you were meant to get an offer of a job at the end. In reality they say bye bye and get another slave.

Meanwhile the local council give me a hard time because I was working more than sixteen hrs a week and at college (i was lucky) and constantly screwed my benefit. I had the misfortune to need to go in to hospital for a week and ALL benefits everything immediately stopped. Took six months to get sorted again and was even taken to court by Rushmoor for non payment of poltax. Wankers. Just started a new job, they found out I had started work, so they had it deducted out of wages.
Took years to recover and missed chance to get on housing ladder.
Thats ambition for you.

Little changes whoever you vote for. Democracy only works if you can pay for it!


CDG Basingstoke

29.11.2007 14:16

The manager has lost the plot. She tries to cover up her inadequacies and inability to cope by issuing warnings for arbitrary breaches of rules she appears to have made up on the spot. In the worst case, she was more than willing to fabricate evidence.

A tutor who is little more than a jumped-up thug with a chip on his shoulder a mile high. He spends his day when not spouting crap, bullying jobseekers. Sooner or later someone is going to hit him. They will no doubt get disciplined, and yet it will not be their fault.

The manager is aware of the bullying, but turns a blind eye. When asked to produce a copy of the Code of Conduct for Bullying in the Workplace, she failed to do so.

Even though lacking any evidence, jobseekers have been accused of hacking into CDG, changing passwords, corrupting the system. The system is so open, that anyone could walk in and trash it.

The place is a tinderbox waiting to go up. All it needs is one little spark.

For two weeks no toilet paper in the toilets. On other days, there is often no toilet paper. The toilets are nearly always dirty. Light not working in one of the toilets for at least two days.

Jobseekers are not allowed to use the main entrance to the building, forced to enter and leave via a fire exit.

Staff, with an example set by the manager, stand by the fire exit smoking. Jobseekers are forced to walk through the smoke on entering and leaving the building.

No attempt is made to ensure the Fire Register is signed each day. Were there to be a fire, the Fire Service would have no idea who was in the building.

Assuming they exist, the Fire Officer and First Aid Officer have not been identified.

There has never been a practice fire drill.

On Thursdays a fire alarm sometimes goes off. It is so quiet that it is barely noticeable, if heard at all, and could easily be confused with an alarm ringing outside.

Paper is wasted, a forest cut down everyday. No attempt is made to recycle.

There often no papers, no national papers, no local papers, no trade papers. Internet access to local papers is blocked. We keep asking for local papers, but nothing is done. Sites that have jobs are blocked.

Jobseekers are often sent home, as early as three, if not before, in the afternoon because the staff can't cope.

Staff are often absent on 'training'.

This Friday (ie tomorrow) jobseekers have been told not to come in as the staff are going to a company binge in London. If anyone asks, they have been told to say they are 'job searching'.

Jobseekers have been barred from bringing in their own laptops, putting them at a disadvantage when all the information they need to refer to is on their laptops.

Computers lack proper seats for users, many keyboards have broken or no feet.

Time spent at CDG lacks any organised structure. From one day to the next, no one seems to not what is going on or what people are supposed to be doing.

Apart from those who live in or are local to Basingstoke, jobseekers have a long journey. Why can they not go to a local training centre? Even better, to a training centre that actually does carry out training?

At lunchtime we are ordered out of the building. It can be cold, raining, we are put out on the street for an hour.

At best this is a farce, at worst fraud. Sooner or later it is going to implode.

Does no one care? Just because we are unemployed, is that reason to treat us as rubbish?

The Department for Work and Pensions should withdraw all government funding. The National Audit Office should carry out a fraud investigation. The Charity Commission should remove charitable status.



11.12.2007 23:02

Nice one bruv!

stig from cdg bstoke

Re: CDG basingstoke

16.01.2008 04:20

i agree with all the comments made. its utter bs and boring. no-one knows what to do or even if they are to do anything. i could be out there physically looking for work instead of wasting my time sat around doing nothing.

Mr Bored @ cdg

Our basic skills students are forced on to these courses

15.02.2008 19:10

Well done to the person who wrote this.
I work at a college teaching basic skills and we often have our students taken out of their courses in the middle of the year and forced onto these Jobcentre training courses. If I bump into those students again they are always really annoyed with the course and say they are not learning anything, that they are wasting their time etc. I´ve never met a student who was happy with the course and they often come back to the college really upset and asking us to do something, we have often tried arguing with the dole and writing letters but get nowhere. This sometimes happens when the person was a few weeks away from doing exams that they were going to pass, and one guy was trying to bunk off the dole course to come and sit his exams, trying to get a sicknote so he didn´t lose his benefits!
Also two women I know, one neighbour of my mum, one schoolfriend´s wife, did childcare courses through training providers, did all the work, attended the whole course, and then the course was found to be so badly done the people who oversee the exams refused to award any exams. Not to particular students but to the whole course. So their entire year was wasted and both these women had their confidence badly affected as well.
Some people are making a lot of money from running these courses and the government line is always in favour of training providers and against colleges, it also seems if you are on the dole you are not allowed to choose anything about your own life, you can be taken off courses you really want to do, and shoved on to courses that don´t do anything for you.
New Deal - in the bin where it belongs!

ex dolee teacher

Solidarity with all workers (employed or unemployed, legal or 'illegal)

19.03.2008 19:19

'The reason there is unemployment is because there are no jobs. A situation exacerbated by an influx of 2 million migrants from Eastern Europe since 2004 when the new accession countries joined the EU and probably at least the same number again of illegal immigrants.'

I agree with everything else you say in this article and it's good to know what's going on in there but I think we should be wary of calling any immigrants 'illegal' because they are made illegal by the same capitalist state which causes unemployment. Also, from the stories I hear of my 'illegal' friends' work, it is not great jobs that they have. And it's difficult to organise because of their 'illegal' status.

These capitalist companies are playing workers against each other internationally. Unemployment in Eastern Europe is much higher since the collapse of socialism so thats partly why people are coming here. Those migrants are part of the reserve army of labour as well - they're just being used to make a profit in a different way to unemployed workers.

Let us know if anyone starts organising against these 'training' courses.


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Shut it down, Mike. Shut it down.

11.06.2008 00:15

Another great article on this sickening matter. Great read. Very informative, thanks.

After doing some researching/google searching using the therm 'A4e is a joke', you get the three good results at the top and these contain some incredible testominies (mine included) and I think we could all write novels on the subject!

Here's some direct links for continued reading:
The third was indymedia :)

Strange how the founder of A4e was from Sheffield and it's Sheffield that seems to be the HUB for most of this system abuse...Flagship branch?

Shine On

A very quick comment

19.11.2008 20:32

Im currently on a BTCV course and I can't fault the staff - they are doing their best under daft rules. But the rules??? I always wear a hat since me hair died and I have to take it off in the 'jobsearch room'. I do that coz I don't mind really it's a vanity thing but the first day I was there I said then you women take your make-up off. I got a written warning!
Anyway when I have more time I will lay out the total experience(I'm only 6 weeks into the 'course')when I have the time coz I have my son now which is a bad thing according to this government....

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