Much has been written, both on this blog and elsewhere, about the serious problems with both the security of the DWP’s ‘Universal Jobmatch’ (UJ) system, and with the quality (or lack of, to be precise) of the jobs posted up there.
Many have commented that many of the jobs on the system are fake – but the DWP, via its Jobcentre Plus (JCP) centres, continues to pressure jobseekers to use it, even though they have no legal power to do so, even regularly going so far as to ‘direct’ jobseekers to do so.
Those concerns about the genuineness of jobs on UJ appear to be entirely justified, and the SKWAWKBOX has received an example which I’m posting here so that others who are being forced or pressed to use this woefully inadequate and insecure system can watch out for it and not fall into the trap.
A couple of days ago, I received this by email from one of a professional, unemployed couple who are both facing severe pressure from their JCP adviser to use the system:
On Monday was I got a phone call and email to go to XXXXXX to have an interview. The ad is in all the usual job agency lists, so it is quite numerous on the internet. It is offering an entry level position in IT support, and I applied for it last week.When I turned up, it was a nice office in a nice location, but it seemed to me that perhaps the room was hired perhaps for the day. It started with regular questions but it went on to basically offer me work once I have spent six weeks doing Microsoft Certified Professional qualifications which cost £750 (but I would put down a deposit to show my commitment and only when I started work properly, would I repay the rest.) Once I had passed the two exams, then I would be employed for the man who was interviewing me and he would send me to his clients.Well, I finished my interview in good faith, but was worried about paying anybody any kind of money for very hurried training all at my own risk.I left it that I would speak with my husband about it, and that he would send me an email with all the details, including a copy of the contract that I would be asked to sign. So far I haven’t received his email, however I saw the same job re-advertised again yesterday, through computer weekly the online jobs list, where I found the first one. I guess that he managed to get enough people to sign his contract straightaway, that it wasn’t necessary for me to receive his information.Anyway, I think it is another scam, but obviously I don’t know for sure. He took a copy of my CV (which I already sent with my application anyway) and a photocopy of my passport details page.
XXXXXXX has some very challenging growth targets for the next few years so we’re really looking for someone who can hit the ground running and who has the knowledge and passion to drive efficiencies, make changes and grow with the business.
You must have at least 5 G.C.S.E Grades (C and above) or equivalent, Maths and English is a must.
Training to be provided:
Systems and Networking Apprenticeship – • Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA)• City and Guilds certificate in IT Systems and Principles• City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma in IT Professional Competence.
Weekly Wage £: £150.00
‘Hit the ground running’ – in other words, ready to make a fast start and an immediate impact. Hardly consistent with looking for an ‘apprentice’.
‘Training to be provided’ – a company providing training to its new employees does not mean ‘we’ll train you and charge you a sum equal to 5 weeks’ wages for it’, nor does the qualification offered at a cost match the full list of training the employer commits to in the ad.
None of this is in line with an ‘apprenticeship’, which is what the company claims to be offering. Instead, the company – which has but a single director – appears to be relying on pressure applied by JCP advisers and the threat of sanctions to manipulate people into first attending the interview and then into handing over money for training that would be provided at the company’s expense if this were a genuine opportunity.
It was already obvious that the DWP under Smith and Hoban are ignorant of – or prepared to forget – the limits to their own powers over benefit claimants. The more evidence and examples come to light, the more obvious it is that they are reckless with regard to the wellbeing of those who are forced to ask for financial support.
Watch out for this scam and others like it. And if you’ve ticked the box on the JCP form agreeing to use UJ and to give the DWP access to your account, rescind that permission. If you were told you must accept, you were given incorrect information and did not therefore give informed consent, and you have a right to withdraw it.
The DWP/JCP do not even have a right to specify how you report on your jobsearch activity, let alone which system you use to carry it out (or for that matter whether you use any kind of online platform).
They won’t, of course, volunteer this information to you – but don’t let them infringe your legal rights by ignorance, misdirection and unethical pressure.