I applied for Job Seekers allowance in November 2015 and was assigned a ‘Personal Adviser’ called Tammy. (The name may or may not have been changed to protect the identity.) Come January Tammy said I had not got a job and she was sending me on an Employability course full time for two weeks in a town 10 miles away. I’d been out of work (after my temporary contract ended) for 2 or 3 months and I was desperate for work, I have a mortgage, I’m in my 40’s, a house I bought in my 20’s, it’s much cheaper than any rent at just £27 per week but still just a few pounds away from repossession, I was spending every waking minute job seeking and applying, I have several CV’s of which Tammy had seen, I have build websites of my work experience and education & qualifications, I have done everything, including applying for over a thousand jobs and doing that activity 16 hours a day, month in month out you begin to notice the same jobs are appearing over and over again, jobs you’ve applied for and you begin to wonder what’s going on, and then you notice other things like the same job description is posted under several recruitment agencies and then you get curious and do research and discover the hideous truth ‘recruitment agencies’ are often individuals working from home posting fake jobs because they make money from every CV submitted for that fake job… FAKE JOBS I go into future detail in this post.

Disgusted at what I had uncovered (and there is a lot more than that) I told Tammy the reason I hadn’t got a job was probably because I had been applying for fake jobs and told her about the unethical practices of so called ‘recruitment agencies’ as a reason but also to inform other job seekers of the situation on jobs boards to save them wasting their time like I had, but instead she used that against me and said ‘Well it looks like you’ve been wasting your time applying for fake jobs’..

She was adamant she was sending me to Link Direct to learn how to write a CV. I had just had an interview with the BBC and she had actually paid my travel expenses there of about £15 so clearly there was nothing wrong with my CV. I challenged her about this and she was still adamant she was sending me, I said ‘calmly’ it didn’t make sense and it was a punishment, or for her to exercise power over me, or to fulfill a target she had to meet. She denied it and kept saying ‘Well you haven’t got a job yet’.. Jesus, she has no idea how hard I was trying, even cold calling people and businesses for any work, I was desperate for work, my home at risk, I couldn’t afford gas and electric and was freezing cold and scavenging scraps of food. I have worked and I know how easy life if when you go to work and go home at the end of the day, that’s easy, it’s much HARDER living without work, being cold, hungry, no where to go, no money to spend, no leisure, just scavenging. Does she know that?  I didn’t think I had two weeks to waste learning how to write a CV. She must have pressed a security button under her desk because a security guy came and stood by us. He didn’t say anything he just stood there, silently as I challenged her without getting aggressive but I was disgusted.

Anyway she threatened me with a sanction if I didn’t sign the document she gave me and said it was mandatory, a sanction meant no benefit for weeks and weeks, sure loss of my home, no income at all, I had no choice but to sign and I wrote against it ‘signed under duress’.. her facial expression at that moment changed from smug to disgusted, and she actually said ‘Why is it under duress’.. I said ‘Because I’m forced’ and then I asked to speak to her supervisor. She began to quiver a bit then, I kept saying ‘Can I speak to your supervisor now please’ and she (still holding on to power) said ‘I’ll just finish this then I’ll get him’. But I could see her hand quiver a bit as she wrote on paper. I was going nowhere until I’d spoke to her superior. She eventually disappeared to get her superior and it was ages before he came to speak with me, I image she was telling him her story, he was nice though, some people you feel immediate rapport with and he was one, very mild mannered, quite spoken and normal, I expressed my disgust at Tammy and that’s basically all I could do, presenting research on the course Learn Direct which I’d printed off previously as evidence I didn’t’ lack those skills but still being made to attend two full weeks.

I went to Learn Direct and I was immediately asked ‘Has Tammy sent you’ and they said Tammy sent more people to them than anyone and they had bets on it.. 2 nice guys actually, I chatted with them. They knew I didn’t want to be there. I was put in a class with a young girl of about 24 who was taking the class. She wasn’t nice, she was horrible. I was asked to leave, she threatened me with the ‘sanctioned’ if I didn’t comply but still I got kicked out for non compliance. It was actually pathetic, I was there for about 2 hours, we were to spend 5 days building confidence, I do not lack confidence, what a waste of everybody’s time. Learn Direct is owned by Lloyds Bank and the government are paying the bank to make people sit in shitty rooms building confidence and learning how to write a CV.. I would say no one in that room lacked the skills they were made to attend for. Just a farce.

Upon arriving home after being kicked out I called the Job Centre and low and behold a guy picked up the phone and I recognized his voice, he’s from another Job Centre I once signed on at and he’s the nicest guy, he’s a special guy really, a genuine nice guy, he actually told me he got thrown out of college for smoking cannabis and then his moms friend got him a job at the Job Centre (it’s who you know – that’s how people get jobs, I know that).. But anyway I considered him a decent guy, I didn’t say anything other than if I was talking to a stranger at the Job Centre and explained I’d been thrown out of Learn Direct and was worried I might get sanctioned and also wanted to request a different Personal Adviser as I didn’t think the previous one Tammy, had acted in my best interest. He asked which one I wanted and I said ‘Well I saw Sue a few weeks ago and she was nice but I don’t mind, anyone’ so I got Sue and she’s a decent person, a bit oblivious to the realities of looking for work, she (like most job centre staff her age (50ish) have been in the job for year and haven’t a clue how times have changed). But it’s been better with Sue and you know what Tammy has been removed from the office, sent somewhere else I believe. I don’t know why, perhaps a coincidence but it happened just after I sent this letter of compliant.

I would like to complain about my Job Centre Personal Adviser, I dispute the title ‘Adviser’ that is a grossly misleading title of any job centre staff these days, they are ‘Assessors’, Tammy actually put me in a state of acute anxiety, an ‘adviser’ is supportive counsel not someone who contributes to your deterioration in heath. I do not want this person to speak to me again therefore I request, if possible, a change of ‘Adviser’ as I don’t believe the current one acted in my best interests or the best interest in training bodies who are there to support those in need. There are concerns with staff at Learn Direct that Tammy is sending through an unprecedented amount of job seekers, who in the majority are unsuitable for their courses. More below on that but may I suggest making a call to Learn Direct and getting some statistics from them. They do not favour the behavior of Tammy.

I am going through the ‘Official Compliants Procuesures’ as stated below by first contacting this office.

How to complain

If you think we’ve got something wrong, let the office you have been dealing with know as soon as possible. We’ll do our best to put things right.

You can contact us by phone, in person or in writing. When you contact us, please tell us:

  • your National Insurance number – unless you are an employer : xxxxxx

  • your full name, address and contact numbers : xxxxxxxxx

  • what happened, when it happened and how it affected you : Elaborated on below.

  • what you want to happen to put things right : Investigation into the behaviour of said ‘Advisor’ and a replacement assigned to me from here on, if possible.

I attended my appointment with Tammy on the 8th February, she said she was going to send me on an ‘Employability Skills’ course with Learn Direct, I questioned why because I didn’t think I lacked the skills on offer. We had a dispute about it which ended with her saying it would be sorted out at my next appointment on the 15th as she didn’t have time that day. She knew I wasn’t happy because of the legitimate reasons I gave her; It would be a serious waste of my time and I need time to look for a job, not waste time sitting in a classroom environment being taught skills I already have. I have a mortgage to pay and time is running out, already threatened with repossession. She knows this.

The following week I attended my appointment with some research I had done on the extent of the fake jobs advertised and fake recruitment agencies because

  1. I have wasted a lot of time applying for jobs that don’t exist and

  2. Tammy said; me not having found a job in 3 months proved I lacked job seeking skills.

I had an interview in those 3 months over the Xmas period, she had paid my travel expenses, so she knows very well I am capable of seeking, applying for work and getting an interview. The job was a 12 months contract at 16k (very low paid) but I’m desperate for money and some stability. There was 260 applicants and 20 of us had been invited to attended assessment for the one position. Competition is tough for every job. I have also had an interview for a part time bar job at the xxxxxxxxx but wasn’t successful.

Over the past weeks I have uncovered something quite shocking about the extent of fake jobs online – Indeed, Total, Universal Job Match, Monster etc as well as recruitment agencies own websites, that I felt it necessary to share with Tammy the underbelly of how the jobs market is exploited by marketing companies, individuals and criminals who deal in the personal information of people, posting fake jobs is lucrative for many, there is currently an explosion in individuals setting up online recruitment agencies from home and dealing in web traffic, ad clicks and marketing products at job seekers. Which makes Indeed, Universal Job Match, Reed, Monster, Total etc total facades, masquerading as a jobs board, when the money comes from the sale of access to the person details of people found on their CV’s that they’ve submitted for fake jobs, and of course diverted traffic (sponsored jobs) are pay per click schemes. You can actually buy bulk job descriptions and use them on your recruitment/job site/board. These jobs don’t exist, it is an entire scam.

Because I have fallen victim to these scams, now realising any jobs search I did for ‘xxxxx xxxxx’ resulted in a multitude of jobs that were fake jobs posted by fake recruitment agencies for reasons I describe above. I was job searching & seeking and applying for 68 hours a week and the majority of those began with ‘My client is seeking to appoint…’ these are fake jobs. When one eliminates those, there are few ‘real’ jobs left. Channel 4 provided evidence that one man in Coventry

The investigation found that nine apparently unconnected recruitment websites, advertising thousands of positions across the UK, are all controlled by one man in Coventry – Mark Coward, a businessman and Baptist deacon who has posted thousands of jobs.

Coward’s company

In recent months, Coward has received thousands of pounds for marketing job products at applicants. Jobseekers who answered any one of thousands of ads posted by Coward were encouraged to visit a legitimate recruitment business, CV-Library, using links that showed Coward had recommended them.

He then received £1 for every CV successfully submitted to CV library. Coward later said that most of the original applications submitted to him for the jobs he posted were then simply deleted.”

Full report: http://www.channel4.com/news/why-is-government-website-carrying-fake-jobs

Because I have a social conscious and I’m pro-active, I am currently in communications with several organisations; my local MP, Safer Jobs, crime reporters at media companies, Action Fraud, broadcast journalist and a few others in the hope to expose this practice and bring those posting fake jobs (false advertising is a crime) to justice as well as save the job seeker some time.

Tammy knew of my recent experience of this, as I had disclosed it to her as a reason I hadn’t got a job in 3 months, I also told Tammy about fake jobs so she can perhaps help other job seekers to avoid falling into the same trap but instead she tried to use that as a reason against me to justify sending me to Learn Direct for Employability Skills. What a nasty attempt that was. Her actual words were “Well it looks to me like you’ve been wasting a lot of your time applying for fake jobs”.

Disgusted! She was blaming the victim.

Because I presented evidence of the actual course content of Learn Direct she could no longer say she didn’t know what the course consisted of, therefore she knew I didn’t lack the skills she was sending me on a course to get. Which was another fallacy in her argument, if she didn’t know what the course taught, how could she possible know who would benefit, pleading ignorance is just a tool used to railroad people on those coarses. I’m acutely attuned to language and there’s nothing worse than communications with irrational and illogical people who stone wall you when you point out their fallacies. She then said instead she would send me to xxxx xxxxx at xxxxx xxxxxx Council to find me a work based placement. THIS IS CRUCIAL because;

It is evidence she was hell bent on sending me on ANY course, regardless if I lacked skills or not, if she’d realised I wouldn’t benefit from the Learn Direct course, why not just say ‘Ok, I understand’. That’s what a decent person would do, not find an alternative. WHAT IS THIS REALLY ABOUT?

(Again I have to question if it’s about having power over people or to fulfil a quota). Because that proved it clearly wasn’t about equipping me with skills I didn’t have. I hope you understand this. She wanted me on ANY course, therefore it wasn’t about skills I lacked, it was about getting me on ANY course, was it a punishment? a power trip? or a target?

I said I was in communications with xxxx (at the Council) in my last position of employment because my operations manager has said one day ‘O, we might be getting some unemployed thicko from the Job Centre to come and work for us for free’.. So I have been at the other end, seeing job seekers exploited and talked about derogatory who were sent to work for free at companies by the Council. There is a huge prejudice against the unemployed and they are exploited.

I told Tammy of my experience and my communications with xxxxx at the Council and what those on the work placement gained from working in my office (they left knowing they didn’t want to work in an office – these were teachers, people with university degree’s  made to update social media full time for NO MONEY) so she instead referred me back to Learn Direct for the Employability Skills course. Again our debate got underway because it was clear her motives were to get me onto ANY course, not serve my best interests.

I work as a volunteer currently at The Royal Exchange Theatre, I have been there 3 ½ years as Tammy knows, I also work as a volunteer at Chorley Little Theatre, 6+ years and I have (these past few weeks) got my own work experience with a charity from cold calling local companies and charities, again Tammy knows this, I did some interviews for xxxxxx(charity) and the man who owns the company keeps me up to date with his progress and said next time he will allow me to interview the clients, I have gained good work experience there and built relationships, successfully. I am not in need of any work bases skills. Why O why would Tammy refer me to xxxxxx at the Council to gain work based learning skills? I also do a lot more voluntary work in other areas too as well as my own work at home to improve my website portfolio and update my skills in software. I am constantly touting for work. I have gone to meet-up groups in towns and cities and networked with strangers, many very talented also struggling to find work, I have shown Tammy examples of my work and skills on my phone, I have only been out of work for 3 months, why is she forcing me into these avenues for no rational reason?

She has power over me, it’s true and I have to conform or else be sanctioned. I enquired with Tammy about the course before being forced to sign the paper under duress, as she said it was a ‘Skills Assessment Interview’ by the wording of that I wondered if it was an interview and they assess your skills and see if they can help you or not, I asked if it was possible they’d reject a person on the basis they were unable to give them knew skills and she said ‘Yes, that’s happened’.. (That was a lie because as you’ll see later she purposely made the course mandatory not accessory – making sure if they assessed me as not being able to gain anything from the course, there was nothing either Learn Direct or myself could about it. Please speak with xxxxx at Learn Direct to confirm (who actually said there was nothing they could do for me and so went to check how Tammy had made the appointment and confirmed she had made the course mandatory, not an ‘Assessment appointment’. Pure evil. Lying, manipulation, wasting their time as well as mine for what?

I met some lovely staff who genuinely care about people at Learn Direct, they want to help people get new skills, they know they’re wasting their time because Tammy has sent yet another inappropriate person to them. She was a bit of a joke in their office. I am not naming names but I had interesting conversations with many staff at Learn Direct, I am a friendly, personable person and people often warm to me and open up, for some reason a lot of people tell me things they really shouldn’t, but I am discreet and trustworthy and say this now only because there was a real concern and I suggest you give Learn Direct a call to get some statistics on Tammy’s referrals and also on how inappropriate her referrals are. Her name was synonymous with evil as people screwed their faces up at the very mention of her name. While I suggested Tammy’s motivations might purely be power tripping, [they] suggested (with a diagram) her motivations were to make people’s lives hell so they fall off the system and she gets good numbers on boards for sign offs. Pure speculation of course, we don’t know her reasons, but when a number on a board mean more than a human life!

I have been advised that ‘non participation’ with Learning Direct is an option for me, I may take a few books and read to relax because of high anxiety levels, obviously brought on by job seeking 68 hours a week for months to no avail, then being punished for not finding a job by Tammy. The thought of having to spend a few weeks at Learn Direct has triggered nightmares again about returning home to find my house burgled, this always happens under extreme anxiety. I can’t afford house insurance, I haven’t had gas or financial means to heat my house since before Xmas. I was burgled when at work some years ago, it’s horrible to return home and you’re things including your children’s have gone, it doesn’t ever leave you, still haunting my sleep when I know I have to leave my home for long periods of time and this is a trigger.

Tammy has not helped me in the least, quite the opposite. She has made me attend an appointment with her every single week, again I suspected this was to exercise power over me (when it’s only mandatory for me to sign ever other week), she has accused me of ridiculous things like ‘Waiting for the perfect job to come along’.. my last job was 15k and I had to walk an hour there and and hour back everyday and lie to people as part of my job description. Her attitude is down right derogatory and ignorant. She is everything I despise in a person, a liar, a power tripper, presents fallacies in her arguments and clearly has no empathy or social conscious. She is dangerous. I do not want this thing to speak to me again. As mentioned above I would reiterate my suggestion of contacting Learn Direct for statistics (% of referrals by Tammy) and relevance of Tammy’s referrals and their concerns expressed. Can I request another ‘Adviser’ please?

On a side note I have set up Twitter & Facebook accounts to share information on the market in fake job adverts. Please support. Thank you. Both : xxxxxx – xxxxxx

So what happened after I sent that letter was i got a call to go and see the manager of the Job Centre to discuss. She was an ordinary conventional woman, neat clothes and neat hair, overweight but not obese, mid 50’s and we sat across from each other in a small room at a desk, in front of her she laid out my letter on the desk and asked me about it, I spoke and said verbally what was in the letter, I retold of my experience with Tammy, when I’d finished speaking she said ‘I’m a bit concerned about this you wrote which say ‘she is pure evil’ and I was like.. thinking, fucking hell she’s a stupid woman, she’s not listened she’s just drawn my attention to four words only, not even mentioned the rest of it.. what a stupid woman trying to make me out to be the bad one…  I replied ‘have you read all the letter becuse it goes into great detail about the behaviors of Tammy which are surely evil, I’ve just said it all again, verbally, were you not listening’… Yes I had contempt for this woman who had highlighted certain words in the above letter to try and attack me with. But it didn’t work. In her position she shouldn’t have been trying to defend her staff, but listen to the complaint of the client.. I honestly despair at people like that who are manipulative and use certain techniques to twist things. Disappointed in her.

She said towards the end ‘So what is it you want, do you want Tammy punished’ I replied ‘No, I’ve no interest in punishing people, what I want is for you to investigate her statistics of refers to Learn Direct because of what the boys there disclosed to me I think it might be in your best interest and I want another ‘Personal Adviser’ I don’t want to be sanctioned either but that’s nothing to do with this conversation we’re having. It depends if someone refers to me a ‘decision maker’ and I don’t have knowledge that’s happened.

So that was it, I didn’t comply and I didn’t get sanctioned either, but I had to work hard to avoid those punishments. That’s the Nazi regime that’s in place in Job Centres and ignorant staff power tripping.