Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Conservative solution to unemployent

Faced with 2.5 million people out of work, and increasing numbers of long term unemployed and a truly worrying rate of youth unemployment which threatens to lock a generation out of work - with the appalling consequences to be felt for decades - what do the Tories do?

Institute a massive building programme which would not only solve unemployment but also deal with the chronic housing crisis and (with sensible ecological design) make a start to the massive drive for energy efficiency that Britain desperately needs?

Employ people to regenerate and beautify Britain's miserable inner cities?  Provide grants to encourage people to improve their skills?

Like Hell.  What the Tories do is get people to complete nonsense tests:
Jobseekers are being made to complete bogus psychometric tests by the Department for Work and Pensions – and told that in some cases they risk losing their benefits if they do not complete the meaningless online questionnaire. 
The test called My Strengths, devised by Downing Street's behavioural insights or "nudge" unit, has been exposed by bloggers as a sham with results having no relation to the answers given. 
Some of the 48 statements on the DWP test include: "I never go out of my way to visit museums," and: "I have not created anything of beauty in the last year." People are asked to grade their answers from "very much like me" to "very much unlike me". 
When those being tested complete the official online questionnaire, they are assigned a set of five positive "strengths" including "love of learning" and "curiosity" and "originality". 
However, those taking the supposed psychological survey have found that by clicking on the same answer repeatedly, users will get the same set of personality results as those entering a completely opposite set of answers. 
There is the kernel of a Not Bad idea there.  I've done plenty of them in my time, and some of them do a very good job of profiling the respondent.  It wouldn't be impossible, surely, to match job seekers to suitable jobs using such a tool.  But the Tories prefer spin.

What will the "Nudge Unit" offer next?  Will job seekers will be given a fortune cookie and told to evaluate the 'fortune' in relation to their aspirations?

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