Letter: Lack of guidance for the unemployed

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The Independent Online
Sir: After reading the letter from the chairman of the Training and Enterprise Councils' Secretariat (16 July), I felt obliged to advise you of the actual situation.

In the last 15 months, because I am unemployed, I have approached the employment office, TEC agents and careers offices for information on educational courses, but instead of balanced, well-informed guidance, and help, I have only become more frustrated.

I asked all three agencies for a list of identified skills shortages, either now or projected for the next five years: none could provide this information, or tell me where it is available. A training counsellor at the employment office in Yeovil told me that the information had been requested from the TECs, but they had not provided it because it was not something they took into account when 'selling' training courses to the Department of Employment.

So a situation exists whereby an unemployed person can ask to take a skill or vocational training course paid for by the Government and supplied by a private company whose interest is only in selling the course, not whether it will help the trainee to obtain employment. If the lower levels of officers in the Department of Employment are aware of this, why isn't the Secretary of State for Employment?

If we expect people to gamble on whether they will ever have the skills required to work again, then surely our money is being wasted on the TECs and would be better spent making the employment service dynamic.

Yours faithfully,

ANTHONY J. D. CURSONS

Henstridge,

Somerset

16 July

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