So people think the government's work placement scheme is unfair and consequently businesses are pulling out. Am I alone as a youth worker in thinking that there is lots of merit in it? At the xpand Life College, we see placements as being an integral part of young people learning what it is like to be at work, even when that work is not what they ultimately want to spend their whole career doing. They learn the essence of professionalism, workplace etiquette, social competence and they get practice of getting up every morning and showing up. They don't get paid for it but recognise that there is merit in it for them and so they carry on going. Some of them enjoy it too but they all learn from it.
Now I'll admit I haven't delved deep into the detail of the scheme and am merely shooting my mouth off based on what I have heard on the radio today, and Radio 1 at that but my thoughts are:
1) It sounds like some of the people who are receiving money from the government because they are seeking a job, are complaining that they have to do work while they wait for their job to appear. Surely if they just want to sit around and do nothing then they technically aren't seeking very hard and merely sponging.
2) Can people not see that in the current climate a job of any description, voluntary, placement, low-paid or whatever is a better stepping stone to the next job than doing nothing? A hole on your CV never looks impressive.
3) There seems to be a complaint that if they choose to leave their placement then they get their benefit cut off. Is that not good practice for the way it is in proper work? I'm guessing the rules are the same as when I last signed on that if you leave a job voluntarily you can't claim benefit immediately. Making the rules similar for these placements would provide another source of learning from experience that if you can't stand the heat and decide to get out of the kitchen then you shouldn't expect Nanny State to come and bail you out immediately.
It seems many employers are crying out for workers with more resilience, who are willing to work hard and possibly even get their hands dirty but who above all are able to conform to the ways of working that our society requires. They want people who are willing to be part of a team who all pull together rather than individuals who are merely out for personal gain; rights without responsibilities. Surely these are things that people will gain from work placements.
I certainly wouldn't condone employers taking advantage of these job seekers, which I can imagine does happen occasionally, but I also don't want to see society lapsing into a state where everyone is happy to shirk any responsibility that might come their way in the hope that someone else will provide financially for them.
I will end now and prepare for teaching the Life College students about resilience - it'll be hard but I expect them to thank me for it later.
My latest newsletter was about dealing with people you find hard, because you don't like or respect them. (If you haven't subscribed yet then click here to read it). One of the things I talked about was not bitching about them behind their back. Today, amidst all the talk of giving up things for Lent to make yourself a better person, I suddenly thought, "why don't we ever use this time for personal development, for changing our attitudes for the better". We only tend to talk about fasting and missing out food like chocolate but increasingly people are looking at a broader understanding of giving up things. Granted, the idea of giving something up is as a sacrifice, to prepare us for Easter and to mirror Jesus fasting in the desert so maybe developing ourselves by giving something up might not fit for some of you.
If you have no other plans for Lent though, consider sacrificing one of the habits that you are least proud of. Maybe it will be something related to how you deal with your colleagues and co-workers. What could you do differently that will make you easier to work with? How could you stop being annopying in return, to the person who constantly winds you up? What poor reactions do you want to stamp out when someone frustrates you at work?
Whilst this might be harder than giving up chocolate and may not have such a visible effect, it could be the start of new ways of behaving that ultimately make you a more attractive person to deal with. If you need help working out how to manage the change or make it stick then get in touch for a free chat
I've had to find a new video editor after my previous online site shut down. So to celebrate I went out biking, strapped my camera to the handle bars (who needs a headcam?) and made a short video. Watch the Youtube version here:
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Nick has been writing for mass consumption ever since he was sending newsletters home from the Philippines 20+ years ago. He has carried on putting finger to keyboard, branching out into magazines, manuals and recently submitting lots of words for books. He has always aimed to be entertaining but at the same time challenging. If you like something, feel free to pass it on to someone else, but if you are challenged by it then even better - write a comment, start a debate, add to the fun.