Jobless managers for hire at pounds 10 a day

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ONE OF the most prosperous areas in south-east England is to hire out redundant executives at pounds 10 a day. Companies are being asked to pay the fee for the services of unemployed senior managers and professionals, who, in return, will receive their dole and pounds 10 a week and travel expenses, writes Barrie Clement.

Up to 100 companies in Hertfordshire are being asked to suggest projects for the out-of-work professionals, many of whom have been used pounds 40,000-plus salaries.

'I'm not impressed with the idea of working for pounds 10 a week on top of benefit,' David Evans, an unemployed accountant, said. 'But I've been out of work for 15 months and this would give me a means of getting back into the jobs market; an opportunity to tell prospective employers that I've been doing a good job.'

Mr Evans, 41, has three children and earned about pounds 44,000 a year before he received a pounds 20,000 pay-off.

Hertfordshire has been hit by the closure of British Aerospace at Hatfield and other cuts, and the county's Training and Enterprise Council has contracted two organisations to deliver the back-to-work programme for executives. Oaklands College at St Albans and Enterprise Partnership, a private company, will be paid pounds 10 a day by the companies who take on people under the scheme.

Chris Humphries, managing director of the Tec, estimates that about 30 per cent of the unemployed in his area are managers or professional workers. Hertfordshire has also seen redundancies at Rolls-Royce aero-engines and Lucas motor components.

The six-month Management Link Programme gives executives three weeks' training in finance, marketing and 'people management and change management'. Then comes a 10-week project with a company. If 'all has gone smoothly' the manager will be offered a short-term contract.

Asked whether senior executives might find the pounds 10 a week payment a little on the low side, Peter Wilson, of Enterprise Partnership, said: 'You'd better ask the Department of Employment about that.'