My mum used to frequently admonish my brothers and I with the words, 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again'. Cheekily we would reply, 'try striking a match on a jelly'!
Tony Abbott tweets that applying for “one job a day is hardly unreasonable” and many feel he's right - how hard can it be for all these unemployed to do their bit, and surely for all that welfare the working taxpayers should have something they can point to as an example of what recipients are prepared to do in order to share the burden of unemployment.
Umm... Sadly no.
Imagine you own a business within a 250metre radius of your local Centrelink - how many people do you suppose are going to hit you up for a business card or a name so that they can show they have attempted to find work - and that's just those that don't just want to create a fabrication.
Think about the skill sets involved in seeking employment - sales and marketing to approach the employer, presentation, charm, conflict resolution and negotiation skills and you don't even have an interview, when all of these and more need to be demonstrated in order for you to get your opportunity as a general hand!
' Dear Mr A - please note requisite skill sets to gain interview and successfully develop employment opportunity are widely separated from those required to carry our inherent requirements of most jobs any long term unemployed person might undertake'.
This is part of the reason why you come across those poor sods, interviewed by our media who have applied for 932 jobs without coming to the realisation that there's an issue with their technique! - They loyally find a jelly and take their box of matches and industriously swipe away - and nothing short of divine intervention will ever change their status as unemployed.
There are a lot of folk that fall into this category and amongst them people with disability are over represented. Not only do these individuals have to do all those things listed above, they also have to deal with the unspoken questions around disability - the stuff employers might want to ask but fear the thought of becoming labelled as discriminating.
Much easier just to say no.
Instead of blaming and labelling and asking, if not the unreasonable, then certainly the ineffective, how about instead relying on human nature.
Here's the clue: No bastard* wants to be worse off!
A job, any job, makes the worker better off - we have a raft of supports in place to make employment attractive and the greatest incentive of all is human nature. Unemployed people are generally pretty ashamed that they aren't working. Rather than revelling in their freedom from effort they are stressed and anxious about how they are going to pay their next bill, feed their families and keep a roof over their heads - Australians want to work!
I have previously stated that I could not manage emotionally or physically on the pittance paid to the luckless unemployed. My mental health would falter, my confidence evaporate and my resilience desert me - I simply don't have the skills.
So; let's make the assumption that the vast majority of unemployed persons wants to work, there's an inevitable conclusion - NO NEED TO PENALISE!
Long term unemployed people need skilled support and sufficient resources to succeed.
Where's help needed and where would intervention make a difference? No point in overly attempting to match local labour market and training, however beguiling that may sound. Trust me, we tried that and the newly sprung up training organisations simply dudded the Commonwealth, running pointless programs that delivered not much more than a worthless piece of paper noting some level of participation.
We may need to accept that there are a certain number of people who aren't included amongst these would be's if could be's - for this minority accept that they presently won't play, leave out enticements to get on board and concentrate on the keen majority that need our help
Let's make the pathway to employment and the rewards of participation something that encourages and supports a move toward inclusion and participation rather than a minefield of penalties..
For the remaining majority we should consider enrolment in meaningful programs that don't use punishment as a threat but offer personalised support to grow in confidence so that participants can hold their heads high and they don't present as cowed or beaten, but as keen and full of potential (cos this is the reality). Incentivise attendance with extra money for turning up that covers the cost of attendance, presentable clothing and resources for real job applications.
People need and appreciate a support system that doesn't exist to punish them or 'game' a Government contract but rather programs staffed by people who have the rime to get to know their clients as individuals. NOVA Employment Specialists have around 25 jobseekers to support - it's not unusual for the equally dedicated but hopelessly overworked staff of Job Active to attempt to meet the needs of 200 individuals!
More to follow
(Quick note: If you're one of these folk - we (NOVA) are recruiting - you'll earn more and get greater job satisfaction with us - check out our website for details)
* Apologies if my language offends - I call upon the 'Woodful Defence': In 1933, the English cricket captain Douglas Jardine visited the Australian dressing room to complain bitterly to his Australian counterpart Bill Woodful that an Australian player had called him a bastard.
Concerned by this charge Woodfull turned to his team and said: "Right, which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"
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