Single parents claiming Income Support, must take part in a Work Focused Interview every six months. The interviews are designed to help single parents back into work when they are ready.
Kimberly, a single parent, lives in Bristol with her two children Josh (4) and Martha (12 months)
She has been trying to get back into work since Martha was two months old. She explains to Chopsy Baby about attending the work focused interview at the job centre:
I recently attended a Work Focused Interview with a single parent advisor at a South West Job Centre. I found the whole process a waste of time. It seemed every question I asked, the advisor had to go off and check the answer.
Though I wanted to go back to work, I felt pressured into going for jobs that were totally unsuitable. I was told if I got a job grant the job would have to last at least five weeks. He then proceeded to print me out job vacancies for short term temporary work.
He took my previous employment management jobs off of the computer system and replaced them with bar, retail and general admin. He said he wouldn’t bother looking for anything specialist or managerial because you needed skills for these. I told him – but I do have a degree, other qualifications and a solid working history. He told me to leave my degree off of my CV when applying for jobs. He offered to send me on a course to learn how to write a CV.
When I mentioned that I was struggling to find work that didn’t involve weekends because there is no childcare, he told me to talk to the Family Information Service who could help me find some. I told him I had already been in contact with them. He didn’t seem to believe me. I explained that they had been very helpful and sent me information in the post about childcare available at the weekends.
Basically all there was is babysitting which was around £10 an hour. This was not something the babysitters were prepared to do every weekend but only as occasional cover. The bar jobs themselves were only paying around £6 per hour making the whole thing a waste of time. The advisor would not be swayed and continued to look at bar work vacancies for me. What he thought I was going to do with two children under five years of age in the evenings is anybody’s guess.
I felt the advisor was not a great thinker to be honest and this was stopping him from being able to help me find a job.
He seemed to have no idea or understanding about how childcare or working tax credits worked. He seemed to think it acceptable to work for £6 an hour whilst paying £10 per hour in childcare. What planet was he from?
I had been told by a different advisor at a different meeting that if I attend a job interview I could get childcare paid for the duration. This advisor told me that they would only pay childcare for jobs they put me forward for.
A complete and utter bloody waste of time. It almost left me feeling that sod it. I won’t get a job just to spite you for making it so difficult. I will have another one of these meetings in a few months’ time and I’m desperate to get work first. I can’t bear to have to sit with this idiot again. Technically, I don’t even have to go back to work yet so I pity the poor single parents moved onto Job Seekers Allowance if they meet someone like this every other week.
Single parents would rather work than go to the job centre. Especially when the security guards leer at women’s tits.
Why do they think we are all stupid?