SHAFTING THE UNEMPLOYED: JobActive and the Training Industry

Written by Keith Davis

I used to be a highly experienced Jobnetwork Case Manager and over the last decade I have experienced the joys of the Unemployment Industry from both sides of the desk. I have been a worker in the Industry, and a client of the Industry. In other words, I know what I am talking about, and my opinion of the Industry is unapologetic and scathing.

Undoubtedly there are people out there who watch Current Affairs shows on commercial television where ‘dole bludgers’ are caught in the act of ‘dole-bludging’, and who then go on to believe that every unemployed person in Australia is like that. There is not much you can do about the opinion of dumb people like that. In my opinion, and experience, most unemployed people simply want to get a job, and simply want to get on with their lives. The last thing they need is a horde of uninformed fools chattering away behind their backs.
The last thing they also need is to be drawn into the JobActive System and the Government funded ‘Training’ system. Both systems are only about making dollars for the groups that are supposed to be out there making reasonable efforts to outfit people for, and place people in, jobs. These JobActive Providers and Registered Training Organisations are simply parasitic entities who prey on the misfortunes of the temporarily unemployed, and who prey on the ready availability of the federal dollar.
We’ve all seen the spruikers for the Unemployment and Training Industries out there plying their wares – sometimes they set up ambushes on the steps of Centrelink to sign up unsuspecting unemployed clients into their dodgy training courses. Sometimes they even place their unemployed clients into even dodgier so called jobs in the hospitality industry – and thereby claim successful placement fees from the Government. This rapacious grazing of the federal tax dollar needs to stop.
In Australia we are lucky enough to have a decent Training Industry that has been there for a long time, and which is eminently placed to meet the training needs of clients who are unemployed and who are seeking a higher skill-set level – we have Tafes and we have Universities, and we have Schools. It would appear to make more sense to 1/ Dump all the Mickey-Mouse Registered Training Organisations that proliferate around the country and who predate on the unemployed, and who predate on the federal dollar and 2/ Assign all that currently totally wasted funding to our Tafes and Universities and Schools. They could do with the funding, and the unemployed could do with real courses that may actually up-skill them and outfit them to gain sustainable employment for themselves.
socialAnd this raises the most salient point. Most unemployed people want to work and end up finding jobs for themselves – it has always been that way, and it will always be that way. A tiny group of people do not want to work and make no efforts on their own behalf – it has always been that way, and it will always be that way. The dumb judgemental types in our society believe that every unemployed person falls into the latter group – it has always been that way, and it will always continue to be that way because there will always be dumb judgmental people out there. All you can do is ignore them. Life is a swing and roundabout thing and one day some of those dumb types will find themselves unemployed….they’ll soon shut their mouths when they see what the Unemployment Industry has in store for them!
So what is the solution?
A/ Close down the JobActive System. · It preys on the federal tax dollar and does not deliver verifiable results. · It corrals the unemployed and places them on a useless treadmill that does not result in the majority of clients being placed into ongoing sustainable employment. · It funds the lifestyles of a small number of people who set up and run entities in the Unemployment Industry. These are predatory individuals and groups who seek to profit from the misery of those who are temporarily unemployed. · It places the least suitable clients into available vacancies. The recently unemployed, who are absolutely keen to get back into work, do not have very many government funding dollars attached to them (Stream Ones) and they are rarely put forward for vacancies because the JobActive Providers are forced to maximise profits by placing Stream Three and up Clients (the longer-term unemployed) into the jobs that are going.
B/ Re-invigorate Centrelink as a One-Stop-Shop for the Unemployed. · We do not need a predatory dollar-guzzling Unemployment Industry to inform the Unemployed on the available number of job vacancies. Centrelink already has an on-line system and it is not beyond the realms of possibility for each and every regional Centrelink Office to re-initiate their old system of a kept up to date local jobs board. · The billions of dollars saved over the medium term by killing off the Unemployment Industry could be channelled into both Centrelink and the raising of Newstart to at least above the draconian poverty-line level. · The death of the Unemployment Industry would not be mourned by many. A percentage of the empathetic staff who currently work for JobActive Providers could be incorporated into Centrelink.
C/ Close down the Mickey-Mouse Registered Training Organisations.
  • They prey on the federal tax dollar and supply qualifications over far too short a time frame. In the real world it takes a year of hard study to gain a Diploma level qualification – the granting of Diplomas and Cert IVs over a matter of weeks should be condemned for the usury that it is.
  • Re-allocate all this wasted training funding to Tafes, Universities, and Schools. Assist the capable unemployed to study meaningful courses at the Tafes and Universities. Assist the less capable unemployed to study bridging courses, (like Literacy and numeracy), on School premises outside School hours.
  • Stop the nonsense with the Training and Assessing System (TAEs etc). Train the Trainers with either partial or complete Teacher qualifications via on-site or on-line training through our existing Teaching Colleges, Tafes, or Universities.
D/ Re-institute Indentured Apprenticeships.
  • Close down the Group Training Organisations. Far too many keen young people are left stranded mid-apprenticeship by this Labour-Hire type Program. Unscrupulous employers (not all of them are bad) burn up the eagerness and hopes of young people who simply want the chance to complete their trade apprenticeships in full with the same firm.
  • Re-initiate the system whereby genuine employers sign-up or indenture apprentices for the full duration of their course.
E/ Raise Newstart to at least a Humane Level.
  • People on Unemployment Benefits are not living on the poverty line, they are living well below the poverty line.
F/ Kill off Work-Experience Programs.
  • Work For The Dole uselessly treadmills the Unemployed in circles at slave labour rates. The only people in our society who should do WFD are the dumb people and Politicians who think that WFD is a good thing for someone else to do!
G/ Statistics and Lies.
  • Tell the truth about how many people are actually unemployed in Australia. Include the unemployed partners of working people. Include the number of people sidelined on useless training courses. Include the number of under-employed people who have been pushed into three hours a week ‘hospitality’ type jobs.
  • We all know that there are a lot of unemployed out there, far more than appear in the official statistics. We also know that there are not a lot of real and sustainable jobs currently out there. So stop fudging the figures. Truth and transparent acknowledgement of the level of the unemployment problem is the essential first step in finding a viable solution.
This article is not targeting any particular political party – the reality is both sides of politics are equally guilty when it comes to their treatment and demonisation of the unemployed.

One Response to “SHAFTING THE UNEMPLOYED: JobActive and the Training Industry

  • Thanks for your thoughtful, experience-based observations and intelligent analysis. What do you think of my idea? All native born citizens are PAID as Professional Students (full course fees, not student loans + independent living allowance) until they get a job. This replaces all other ‘welfare’ systems including disability and pensions. Students must achieve >=90% mastery to graduate, so repeat level until they graduate. Students are paid at 20% higher rate when studying at higher level, but may choose to continue studying other low level courses if they want. This system also sets a competitive base rate for minimum national award wages because employers need to offer more than the Professional Student rate to incentivise employment applicants. Also, dodged RTOs will only be able to attract dodgey students because serious students will be empowered to seek better teachers and won’t tolerate lame ones.