return to, the home of critical reviews

Re: Welfare into Work, the benefits shakeup

From:     blp
Category: Life
Date:     02 March 2008
Time:     09:50 AM


All fair enough and I'm sorry you're having such a shit time, but I gotta say, I did a similar
scheme about ten years ago when I signed on in Islington and had a totally different experience. I'd
heard you could do training in things like film editing and figured I'd ask about it to avoid having
to keep applying for crap, unskilled jobs I didn't want. They told me the only thing available was
IT training and I signed up for that. The centre was in Moorgate and full of odd, interesting
people, from an Italian former shoe designer who, inspired by Damian Hirst, now wanted to be a
conceptual artist, to and old pissy smelling bag lady type who'd apparently been big in computer
programming back in the seventies. During lunch break we'd have conversations about things like
Russelian paradoxes and black holes or I'd use the old fashioned black screen computers to learn
touch typing, for which they had a programme. In the classes themselves, we were taught advanced
Word skills and shown how to do a really decent looking, readable CV. For reasons not clear, we also
had economics classes, which basically consisted of a very jovial man telling us super interesting,
vaguely leftish stuff about the world of business. The options for going forward were to learn even
more advanced Word skills and/or do a placement, not necessarily in IT. A very friendly,
understanding lady handled the placements and sent me for arty ones, one at (I kid you not) a tiny
avante gard music magazine run by two smart older guys in a tiny office in Islington (I really
wanted this, but another candidate won out and the actual work probably would have been dull
administrative stuff anyway), two at publishers, both of which I was offered. I took a position at a
small publishers in Holborn, commissioning book jackets for academic books on Islam and a few on
film, including a series by Christopher Frayling, and I did well at it and got to oversee some
genuinely good designs. The whole experience from start to finish was more fun and more interesting
than anything I've done to earn money since. 

Shortly after this, I heard the centre I went to had shut down. Probably too efficient, well
resourced and funded.

return to, the home of critical reviews