DWP order woman with 45 years experience to do unpaid work to learn ‘vital skills’ – or face sanctioning : Clydebank Post

It seems the DWP can’t even stick to its own rules.

A WOMAN who has 45 years of work experience was stunned after being ordered by benefits chiefs to attend a placement designed for unskilled young people.

Elaine Anderson has worked in various roles since she was a teenager and, now aged 58, she has accumulated experience across multiple industries.

However, four years ago her 45-year long record of employment ended and the Old Kilpatrick woman has struggled to find new work, despite being a qualified medical secretary.

Now the mother of two has been left fuming after the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) ordered her to complete six months unpaid labour in a programme designed for unskilled 18-25 year olds.

The Community Work Placement (CWP) is aimed at those whose primary barrier to work is lack of experience or motivation. The Department of Work and Pensions website states that the programme enables people to develop the disciplines and skills associated with sustained employment.

Source: DWP order woman with 45 years experience to do unpaid work to learn ‘vital skills’ – or face sanctioning : Clydebank Post

16 thoughts on “DWP order woman with 45 years experience to do unpaid work to learn ‘vital skills’ – or face sanctioning : Clydebank Post

  1. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    I am not sure what is going on here Mike. I dislike the DWP intensely for its bias towards getting people off benefit who certainly are not fit for work but why did this lady not get employment in her original or a secretarial post?

    Does look like we are being taken over by a dictatorship though and being forced to work for six months unpaid labour in an unskilled placement just shows how badly run the DWP is.

    I hope there is a means whereby such misjudgements can be overturned and recompense made to those affected.

    1. nikkijayneg

      I’m pretty sure getting a job in your late 50s is not an easy one. Why would you hire someone who will be retiring soon? Someone you can’t mould, who has their own ways of working? Employers are intensely biased against older workers.

      1. jray

        Agree,the competition (created by the DWP) between young and over 50s for even menial positions is intense,I applied at a fast food chain,they were polite and showed me every courtesy,but later I ran into an assistant manager “We can take the kids on as apprentices,lower wages and paid subsides” can’t blame them but?

    2. cagey

      I could recount to you several tales from British citizens I know. It’s not just the older, experienced generation that cannot find work. It’s the younger ones too. My university educated fiance could not find employment in the field he was experienced in and faced sanctions or forced labour. At first it was the classes and such, the kind that horrified me hearing about. Then it was training him at a job in the manufacturing sector (skills or a job he had no experience in whatsoever) with a promise of a job at the end (they didn’t). After continually being demeaned and humiliated with the prospect of sorting out dirty clothes next to convicted criminals (kid you not!), he ended up in desperation finding a job on his own by an off-chance offer from a relative. It has nothing to do with his skillset or education, it’s for very little pay, and very poor working conditions but at least he is no longer being humiliated by the government.

      A friend of mine was made redundant from the police force and encountered similar treatment. Others I know gave up entirely and have left the country for Asia. In my fiance’s case, he’s leaving to move to America with me, and I’ve spoken to other British citizens doing the same. I guess if citizens are leaving, there will be plenty of room for incoming immigrants, and Cameron will no longer have to worry about harassing and bullying them either.

  2. Robert Hellier

    Disgusting attitude!!!!!! same for me 25 years of Television and Video,DVD, HIFI also Desktop PC,Laptops….. it dont count any more!!!!!! makes my blood Boil…!!!!
    Now i am consigned to the scrap heap due to my age and my deafness… i am only 43

  3. Sandra Parrish

    I gave up working at 49 to look after my mother who had dementia as she could no longer be left alone. After she died I tried to find work again at 52 – I have had over 30 years experience as a legal secretary – nothing – not even simple admin work. Decided I had had enough of being sent on useless and degrading courses and went freelance and so got working tax credit – just as bad as trying to find permament work as I have to spend 30 hours a week trying to find work. Just as impossible. Now I am over 60 – have to wait another 7 years for my pension as they have moved the goal posts. If they start going after those on Working Tax Credits I will have to go back to job seekers, will lose my house as I won’t be able to pay the mortgage and will probably starve to death. The situation has already had a very serious toll on my health.

    1. Dom Bray

      Sorry to tell you this, but when universal credits replaces your tax credits, if your self employment isn’t making the equivalent of 35 hrs at minimum wage, each week, they will cut you off.

  4. Van Coulter

    Where a decision of a public authority is irrational, the legal remedy is judicial review. If reported correctly, we have an experienced individual with a problem of gaining work because of her age – not because of a lack of work related skills. For the public authority to cause her income to be sanctioned unless she takes up a skill learning programme for which there is no benefit for her (as she already has skills and more vitally, significant experience of use of the skills) the requirement placed upon her is irrational. She would have no problem in illustrating the irrationality and causing the DWP to make a rational decision – of getting her suitable employment, not requiring her to pretend she has no or few skills.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Haven’t the Tories made judicial review too expensive for a person on benefits, though?

      1. linphillips54

        Hi Mike.We are seeing stories of sanctions daily on the 2 facebook pages that people who have signed the 38 Degrees Reverse The State Pension Law comment on.Some very worrying accounts.These women are in their 60s existing on JSA.Since the election it seems much worse.One account was a woman that had to borrow bus fare aged 62 to go on a “mandatory Voluntary Programme” whatever that contradiction is.She had to take 2 buses one and a half hour journey.The result was that she has tovolunteer in a charity shop.The point the Government miss is that this does not give her an income to improve her situation.One yesterday,a couple asking for help,sanctioned and now have no income.A woman with braces on both wrists,sent for a medical test to see if she still needs the benefit,it took almost an hour for her to type her post. This is the result of State Pension Age rises.It will get worse we now see how ridiculous the assumption that people in their 60s can get jobs if they want to is.

    2. Sara Ware

      “She would have no problem”
      I take it you’ve never had to appeal against a DWP decision then. You don’t even reach an Independent decision-making body until the third appeal (the first two are judged by DWP and are routinely turned down). It takes months of letter-writing, hanging on the phone and evidence-gathering to get this far; you will be repeatedly told you “won’t get the money”.
      Oh, and during this time, your benefits will have been stopped. Once you get to Independent Tribunal, you are statistically extremely likely to win; but then you face the minefield of communicating this to the various DWP departments, who will again take months to process it, and if you are too slow or miss a single step, you will lose the money you just won back, or even be prosecuted for failing to tell them of the decision in time.
      No problem!

  5. John Syme

    Turns out this story was in the local paper where I used to live. The full story indicates that this woman was serving her sentence in a West Dunbartonshire Council Library. One of the Opposition councillors, who is a Facebook friend, is now looking into the issue. He was unaware this activity was taking place on council premises.

  6. sue mason green

    I have been waiting since 21st of March for my carer’s allowance to go through, They stopped my esa, and i haven’t had any money since . It’s now may 22nd , what do they expect you to live on ..? I now have to have hand outs from my 90 year old mum, whom i care for. I too am 62 , and will retire in november , i can’t see me getting my allowance till i’m drawing my pension , the way things are going, all they say on the phone, is there’s a backlog , they need to get extra staff in to get the backlog down , or start working overtime, saturday’s and sunday’s, or give one of the above people a job at DWP. !!! It’s just a shambles and a joke !!

    1. Colin

      Sue, You can claim Income Support as a carer, while waiting for carers allowance to be processed

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