It’s been a humiliating week for the DWP on social media. Yesterday hundreds of people used the hashtag #fakeDWPstories to take the piss out of the them after Welfare Weekly revealed that they were inventing case studies in support of benefit sanctions.
Whilst all this was taking place the DWP were desperately trying to rescue their #WEcan campaign which had also become a laughing stock on twitter. This was a shabby attempt to promote unpaid work schemes, and came with a gushing press release promising that up to 12,000 young people would be posting ‘workies’ and sharing their stories of unpaid work experience. Those 12,000 young people were supposed to come from their campaign partners Youth Employment UK (@YEUKYouth). They never turned up. Fucking kids eh.
At first glance Youth Employment UK appear to be exactly what they say, which is “The Voice for Youth Employment in the UK”. On twitter yesterday they claimed that both the organisation, and the woman who runs it, are politically neutral and all they care about is helping young people get jobs. They emphatically denied that their Chief Executive, Laura-Jane Rawlings, is a Tory. That tweet has now been deleted.
In truth Laura-Jane Rawlings stood as a Conservative candidate in the 2011 Corby Council elections. She lost and shortly afterwards set up Youth Employment UK. And be in no doubt, Laura-Jane Rawlings is Youth Employment UK. She is the sole director, the website is registered to her and even one of her claimed corporate patrons – plotr – is a company run by her.
Her qualification for this lofty position as The Voice for Youth Employment is that she’s a life coach. In a nice little sideline business if you pay her £35 quid she will talk to you on the phone for 50 minutes. Her coaching, according to her, is inspired by the discredited pseudo-science neuro-linguistic programming along with counselling and Cognitive Behavoir Therapy – neither of which she seems to be qualified in. As she boasts on her website, she isn’t really qualified in anything at all.
But of course none of that matters if you know the right people in the Conservative Party and are prepared to say the right things. Yesterday she gave a cautious welcome to the announcement that young unemployed people are to be sent on bootcamps or face benefit sanctions. She sounds far more like the voice of the Conservative Party pretending to be neutral than she does the voice of youth employment. And she has been well rewarded for it. Whilst Youth Employment UK say they have not been paid by the DWP for the #WEcan campaign, they have received a huge of amount of free advertising including national media coverage.
Youth Employment UK claim to be led by their young members and youth ambassadors rather than just a Tory spiv with a big mouth. If this is the case then those young people need to know they are ripping off themselves and millions of their fellow young people by endorsing workfare and benefit sanctions. There is no evidence that Work Experience schemes help people get jobs. A recent DWP evaluation found that young people who refused workfare were more likely to find work than those who went on the scheme. Demand a wage and join the fight to destroy workfare.
Visit Boycott Workfare’s website for more info on the fight against unpaid work.
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