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Signing off of JSA - frustrated with work programme

(24 Posts)
Jeffyshep Wed 10-Jul-13 16:15:35

Hi everyone,

I am claiming JSA and am on the work programme, I find I am becoming increasingly frustrated as everything I suggest to my advisor to help me back to work is met with "No" but I have to jump through every single hoop that is placed in front of me. I guess my frustration is because of the amount of control the work programme has.

I would like to know if I sign off from JSA to give myself a break will I be able to sign back on in 6 months time? I have enough money saved to cover all of my out goings for 6 months.

If I can do this will I have to rejoin the work programme to finish my 2 years or will the 2 years start again?

Today I missed a session my advisor booked me on, although I take full responsibility for this it happened because this session is out of order on my action plan.

RedHelenB Wed 10-Jul-13 18:19:16

I'm not sure, I think you would have to ask at the jobcentre. What would you do for the six months that is so different to what they require you to do? If you have money saved how come you are getting JSA?

Jeffyshep Wed 10-Jul-13 20:20:15

Hi RedHelen,

Thanks for your reply, yes I will have to contact the jobcentre. Due to my personal circumstances I have minimal out goings and I have a modest amount of savings, well within the limit for claiming JSA.

What I would do in this 6 months us still look for a job but it will be on my terms and not my work programme providers, I wouldn't have them dictating to me what jobs to apply for and how many. At my last fortnightly review I wanted to talk about the possibility of doing mystery shopping and whether my adviser had or could help me find some information and all I got was "No"

Rockchick1984 Wed 10-Jul-13 23:04:40

Mystery shopping won't really provide a regular income - mostly it will either pay a nominal amount or (in the case of retail) you are given an amount to spend and you keep the goods. Restaurants mean you get a free meal etc. it wouldn't be actual employment.

RedHelenB Wed 10-Jul-13 23:12:52

Agree with Rockchick re the mystery shopping - do you have any other ideas that the Jobcentre haven't considered?

Jeffyshep Thu 11-Jul-13 01:20:58

Thanks Rockchick and RedHelen,

If only it were the job centre I had to deal with, I always got on well with them and got all the advice and support I needed and my ideas were listened to but as I am now on the work programme I now have to deal with my work programme adviser instead.

Ok about Mystery shopping, I've done a bit of research this evening which shows there are loads of people registered with mystery shopping companies indicating there wouldn't be much work. Another idea I have had is to write an ebook, I study stock markets as a hobby and thought about writing a short book on observations I have made regarding how traders make buying and selling decisions. I know someone who has written 2 novels and self published them through Amazon, she recently received her first (small) royalty payment.

JeanPaget Thu 11-Jul-13 02:56:14

Publishing an ebook doesn't really sound like something that would provide a regular income either, especially if you're having to pay to self publish.

I can kind of see why your advisor hasn't been particularly supportive of either of these ideas tbh...

RedHelenB Thu 11-Jul-13 07:20:22

What about enquiring about possible courses tp your work advisor, possibly accountancy type ones if you are interested in figured & stock markets?

PatriciaHolm Thu 11-Jul-13 09:55:44

The work programme adviser exists to help you get a waged/salaried role, not support you in dabbling in part time stuff that won't earn you any money! It strikes me that you don't actually want a job?

NicknameIncomplete Thu 11-Jul-13 10:03:48

Mystery shopping and writing wont give you the income you need to support yourself long term.

Your advisor at the work program is there to get you into full time work. Your suggestions are more like hobbies than work.

LIZS Thu 11-Jul-13 17:26:01

I'd suggest you focus on getting a genuine job and pursue those things in your own time. None are financially viable short term nor will they count on your cv. You should use your adviser wisely and take up offers of training and upskilling but that is far from exclusive.

Jeffyshep Thu 11-Jul-13 20:39:04

Just to clarify, the idea of publishing an ebook is not something I have discussed with my work programme adviser.

I can see how you get that impression however I am looking hard for a job, last week I applied for/made speculative enquiries to 25 companies. While I am on JSA I am a burden on the tax payer and if I can come up with something that will lessen that burden until I can find a job then I would consider doing it.

I have an NVQ in Customer Service which I gained through the work programme, the skills I gained from this I put in to practice by volunteering in a charity shop. I do 21 hours voluntary work per week and suggested to my adviser it would be good to state the number of hours on my CV as it is the same as many part time jobs but this was met with "No"

BumpKitty Thu 11-Jul-13 20:58:16

Ok, once the jobcentre has passed you over to the work programme you are with them for 2 years, so if you had a six month break you would be returned to the work programme on signing back on to complete the balance of time.
it's only once you have completed 2 years with the work programme that you could return to being a regular jobcentre customer.
Could you ask for a different adviser? Regarding the CV, it is your CV and you can change it in anyway you like assuming you have an electronic copy that you can change yourself.
To be on the work programme you must have been unemployed for over a year already (unless you volunteered for early entry). So I would agree with LIZS and say you should focus on getting any kind of employment rather than persuing lots of different avenues that don't really add up to an income.
You can approach companies yourself and offer to do a work trial for them if they are reluctant to take you on (you need to tell the jobcentre before you start the trial).

Jeffyshep Fri 12-Jul-13 01:24:46

Hi Bumpkitty,

Thanks for your reply. Yep it is my CV and I can change it to how I want but some support from my adviser would be nice instead of "No", changes can also be mandated so if I do make my own changes I can be mandated to change them back. I have been on the work programme for a year now and have had 5 different advisors, they all have the same attitude towards everyone.

LIZS Fri 12-Jul-13 07:28:58

but you can have more than one version of your CV and indeed should tailor it for each application. You don't only have to apply for jobs through them. In a covering letter you can say more about your volunteer work if that relevant to the role. The adviser may be concerned that it looks like a large time commitment which might rule you out of consideration for paid work. What level is your NVQ and how do you want to use it in future ?

Jeffyshep Fri 12-Jul-13 11:05:31


Thanks for your reply. My NVQ is level 1 but I would like to do level 2 at some point in the near future and will speak to my adviser about this.

Perhaps my adviser is concerned about time commitment in which case I would expect that to be explained rather than just "No" but the fact remains I do 21 hours and stating or not stating this on my CV doesn't alter that. My intention is to demonstrate to employers that I am committed to working rather than let them think I may just do a few hours.

LIZS Fri 12-Jul-13 15:51:19

but you don't need to state the time spent on your CV, as a volunteer that can be flexible. Do you have any other qualifications or experience , what roles are you applying for and do you meet the person specifications ?

Jeffyshep Fri 12-Jul-13 17:08:24

Hi LIZS, yep I know I don't need to state on my CV how many hours I spend doing my voluntary work but I want to demonstrate to potential employers that I am committed to work and thought that would be a good way of doing so. I have now done this an have uploaded my amended CV to all the job sites I am registered with.

I'm applying for customer service/retail jobs as I have gained experience at this through doing my voluntary work. Before that I did warehouse work but am reluctant to do that again as I sometimes get back problems although I do look out for stock control and data processing jobs as I have done both within the warehouse work.

I'm also looking at cleaning although they are few and far between in my area at the moment, those that do exist are like 2 hours each morning and travel expenses would take half the wage, in some instances there is no transport available early enough to meet the job start times.

I'm really just fed up with my work programme provider, and it's not just me. Another client who has a criminal record was made to apply for a job in a hospital, he had applied for similar work in hospitals before and been turn down because of his record, he told his advisor this but he or she wasn't interested.

LIZS Fri 12-Jul-13 17:38:43

The voluntary role etc is something you can use for examples at interview. Most initial screening of applicants looks at the bare facts of your cv/application form against how the role has been defined and whether you meet the minimum job specification in terms of
-relevant work experience - how long , level of responsibility
-willingness to train

It is often done by someone with no particular experience of the job itself , candidates shortlisted may then be asked for interview, usually competence based, at which point you elaborate upon what you have said on your cv and the skills you have learnt.

JessMcL Sun 14-Jul-13 02:18:57

Whether the OP has savings is nobody on this threads business. You can have up to so much in savings without your benefits being affected by it. For all we know the OP might think £200 is enough to live off for six months because she has someone else to cover the basics. None of our business and not what the OP is wanting to discuss.

Cant help OP but just want to tell you I know what work programme is like. Frustrating as hell. The amount of times they would ring me at 9am, expect me to pack kids into the car and drive the 20 minute journey for a 30 second appointment was unbelievable. Not to mention I had to stand over and watch them in order to get my mileage back. Fortunately I didn't have to put up with it long as DH got another job...but it was hell.

ihearsounds Sun 14-Jul-13 02:42:26

Employers will see a commitment because you are volunteering and your previous experience.

Your cv needs to be tight, something I have found the dwp not really that good at.. I was advised to lie about something on my cv, which i didnt do becuase of the ramifications.

Mystery shopping, I am lucky if I earn £30 a month these days. I have been doing this for around 6 years. Then yes it was great, and I was doing jobs daily. Books you dont make much, plus like mystery shopping you can do this around everything else.

RedHelenB Sun 14-Jul-13 09:37:43

Ok Jess it isn't really any of my business but I was thinking that the jobcentre might want to know why she signed on & off again, hence the question.

Jeffyshep Sun 14-Jul-13 15:42:00

Hi Jess,

Thanks for your post and understanding of how frustrating the work programme can be. You were lucky then because my work programme provider doesn't let children in to the building, the attitude is your kids - your problem.

Hi thearsounds,

Thanks for your reply. I have found out more about mystery shopping now and how little there is to be made from it which agrees with what you say. I might still be inclined to take it up as from my point of view £30 per month would save the tax payer a bit of money, having said that it is very likely that I will shortly sign off.

Hi RedHelen,

It's ok about the money, your comments about it were fine and I wasn't offended in any way. I phoned the job centre friday to clarify and I stated the work programme is driving me insane and the woman I was speaking to said I'm not the only person to say that.

To everyone,

Thank you all for your posts and putting up with me sounding off. I'm not work shy, the fact that I do voluntary work proves that. I just can't deal with my work programme provider any more. BTW, I'm Jeff, I'm a guy not a girl but I came here to post about this as I knew I would get sound advice so thank you all.

JessMcL Tue 16-Jul-13 00:48:41

Jeffyshep- it took a lot of persuasion plus I had to sign a form to say that if anything happened it was my responsibility etc. They have to be reasonable. And as I was on £55 a week- guess what, funnily enough- I couldn't afford childcare! Family are at the opposite end of the country so no help there.

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