Thursday, November 27, 2014

CWP: The Second Week

So thank you for joining me on my journey to nowhere let’s get to it on Mondays I go to Seetec for a three and a half hour session of pointlessness. But looking for work is not pointless they scream of course not BUT trying to use the outdated and ridiculously restrictive computers. They are stuck on Internet Explorer 10 which doesn’t like a lot of recruitment websites as a rule. Add to that the fact that you can’t right click which you think is a small thing but is huge when you start thinking about things like wanting to right click and open a few sites you found on a job board. Plus as it will be clear later you have to be very careful about having your personal documents of any kind on a Seetec system (more on this later). To sum it up though if I compared my time spent on applying for a job at Seetec to applying to one at one I would say that it easily takes 2.5 times longer to do most applications at Seetec and that is when the rest of the people there are behaving and not kicking off.

I made it a point after the joke of my first week of CWP to talk to Seetec about my concerns, unfortunately when I went to reception I was informed the manager was the only one who knew anything about the CWP, it seems that redundancy is a foreign concept to Seetec. Anyway I was fobbed off on an advisor who admitted the above and also told me a little about the history of CWP in the area. There was a man with the job of going around the area I’m thinking county wide or further and sought out work placements for CWP but he left months ago and there hasn’t been a proper staff replacement. The Seetec Manager is managing the placements available for my town it seems and there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of them.

I told the advisor of my issues that the place where I work is a Learning Centre with Maths, IT and English courses and a large part of my role there was helping students which I felt very uncomfortable with. I am not a teacher nor do I have any relevant experience in that side of things, I’m a trainer but that is a very different thing and I do not have experience teaching people with learning difficulties or other issues, during that first week I felt less thrown in the deep end then shoved off a cliff to be perfectly honest.

The advisor’s answer was to call them up and talk to them about it for a bit then without warning putting me on the spot handing the phone over to me where I was asked by one of the staff there if it my concerns meant that I did not want any involvement with the students. I haven’t seen a better stitch up since I used to watch ER. In theory I could say yes I want no involvement in dealing with the learners but that sounds a lot like a reason for a sanction for not partaking in a MAN and a lot of you out there know how hard it is to fight something like that and more importantly how expensive. So I felt I had no choice but to equivocate and just request less time dealing with students and more admin duties.

To you an idea of the centre it is open plan with three workstations for the members of staff; twenty workstations for learners arranged in clusters of four; a small closet they choose to call a meeting room and a downstairs classroom for group sessions. There is no way that their promises of less dealing with students were going to be kept to but I wasn’t really left with a viable alternative.

I have to say that the teaching of the learners isn’t the only problem. The place is a hot mess, the core staff of three have some of the worst communication skills I have ever seen but at the top of it the manager is just unbelievable. The first thing that springs to mind is her habit of speaking to you while not looking at you which to me is just disrespectful, then she has a habit of asking you to do something through someone else like “Can John go and grab the wallets from the shelf” instead of just turning to John and asking. The other thing is her complete inability to listen, the amount of times I have been given a task, done it, moved on to another task only for her to raise her voice and ask why her task hasn’t been done is infuriating I have no idea how she managed to get that position. More to the point I have no idea why people like this are working and I’m kicking and screaming just to get an interview.

The other point during my talk with the advisor was that Seetec shared my CV without my consent and furthermore when they should not have had access to it in the first place. The advisor tried to badger me saying “Yes we have the right” even after I explained the data waiver. It was only after he said “there was a thing you signed at the beginning” and my answer of “No I did not sign that” that it seemed to finally sink in for him.

That issue with the whole ignoring of my data protection had to be passed on for the manager to deal with so with my issues with the placement outstanding it was agreed that I would come into Seetec first thing in Tuesday morning to discuss it with the manager. I did not hold out much hope for anything real to come out of it.

Next morning I came in and went into the manager’s office at Seetec, “You have some issues with your placement?”

“Yes and other things, the advisor recorded them on the system” she then had to leave to talk to the advisor so that she could find out where the notes were as I refused to go over everything from the day before when there was a record, apparently they don’t believe in emailing each other or doing a morning meeting.

So she came back and we discussed the issues and basically her line was “I don’t want you to end up in a charity store” well neither do I, I also want the Jobcentre to honour their letter saying that they would give me an appointment to properly hear my appeal against being sent on the CWP in the first place which I sent 4 weeks ago. Anyway the long and the short of it is I went back to the placement after Seetec in case you were wondering and nothing had changed they didn’t even know I was coming in that day despite me having said so on the phone while at Seetec not an hour before because they don’t talk to each other.

And before I sign off from this rather large post I should talk about the response to my complaint about Seetec sharing my CV, the manager says that she only passed it on to Seetec Colchester as if that was some amazing loophole in the system, I then made it clear that I had a copy of my incorrect CV directly from the placement itself and it didn’t get there without first being sent by Seetec. I then went on to tell them how they SHOULD have dealt with it which is contact me when they found a prospective placement and get me to send out my CV. I got an apology out of the manager but don’t blame me for being wholly unimpressed considering the fact that they are breaking a law and the fact that they have done it before to me. Those are facts added to my awful experiences with them in the past which you can get some idea of from searching on the blog for Seetec.

So as it stands I am stuck at this place with no real training being offered, no skills to improve my CV and very little chance of not being made to serve my 6 month sentence for being guilty of being unemployed. The last chance is with the Jobcentre who sent me on the course but by the sound of the letter that they sent me apologising for the lack of a response it sounds more like they will eventually invite me in once they have invented a “proper” reason to have sent me on CWP instead of the BS non-response given by my jobcentre advisor.

Sorry for making you wade through all of that.

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