On Monday I was on the Jonathan Vernon Smith radio show. We were discussing ‘Is it wrong to ask people to work for their Jobseeker’s Allowance?’
I always try and be balanced in my response, whilst I hate exploitation for some people they will gain relevant and useful experience to help them become more employable.
I referred to the case of the graduate who was volunteering in a museum but forced to work at Poundland. That is unlikely to be of much help to her but for some people I think the unpaid work experience might be helpful.
I want to leave to one side a whole range of issues of how this can impact on the workforce of a company, who may not be offered extra hours as these are done by the work experience person, but just to think about the benefits that a young person could gain
• the need to get up each day and show up on time
• communication skills with customers
• taking instructions and direction from a boss
• working as part of a team
and for someone long term unemployed … employers may wonder if you are still able to do a full days work, as some people drift into a life of getting up late etc. So it could demonstrate an ability to work.
I also think there are more benefits, not just to this but in many situations when people are taking on work that is significantly below the level they have previously worked at, or aspire to.
In any job you should still come across as interested and ask questions. I suggest to my clients that they can treat the work as being an ‘undercover boss’ looking for ways to make improvements, not that you will probably want to tell your supervisor, well, maybe one or two but to discuss at interview for another job.