Originally posted July 10th 2007
A couple of weeks ago I went to a jobs fair. I was extremely dubious as this was no ordinary jobs fair, no, this was a special jobs fair. To be very fair to them, it really was a very special jobs fair as for all the things that were there there wasn't a hint of a job in sight. Some bloke with huge muscles who in all seriousness informed me that as a massage therapist he was far more qualified than a physiotherapist as "physiotherapists only manipulate joints, massage therapy is much better cos it deals with muscles as well as joints." Right. Ok. Now, I may despise social workers as scum of the entire universe, be utterly terrified of doctors, and not much happier about nurses, but physiotherapists I've known a few of over the years and I've been pretty lucky with them. Never in all my time have I known a physiotherapist to say "oh no, we only manipulate joints, you'll have to visit a massage therapist if you want them to look at your muscles" Oh, and I did ask, managing to keep a fully straight face whether this massage therapist had been to university to become better qualified than the "only deals with joints" physiotherapist with a degree...unsurprisingly he hadn't...and unsurprisingly to anyone else I didn't feel it a good idea to put my extremely vulnerable joints and fragile soft tissue at the mercy of that kind of free massage. Clearly one for the increasingly Victor Meldrew like Doc Crippen. I was gutted though, as having nothing against massage therapists in general, especially not the muscle bound good looking kind it was most disappointing to hear this particular one claim to be better qualified than an entire profession, sigh.
So after I spoke to the better than a physiotherapist massage bloke, I briefly spoke to a very lovely girl who insisted that she could help me get funding to do any course I wanted to do. I had a few suspicions about this as well having previously looked at funding to retrain and always run up against the same problem that as I already have a degree I can't get funding to do another one, or any kind of appropriate course even though, y'know, funding an appropriate course would potentially mean not paying to keep me on benefits for the rest of my life, but still mustn't think that way, far too logical for the welfare state. So, I explained this to the very lovely girl who says to me that she works for this great company who spend all their time finding the funding for courses for people to get back into work. Not exactly true...turns out they can provide funding for some courses but overall they're yet another job broker.
So then I spoke to a fireman. And no, he wasn't there on a recruitment drive. He was there doing the whole fire safety road show thing they do these days, making sure people have up to date smoke alarms in their homes, and if not organising for them to be fitted free of charge along with a specialist fire safety check if needed. Quite where the energy saving lightbulbs they were giving away came into fire safety I'm just not sure, but then I don't really know how giving me a plastic bag full of lollipops, keyrings, massage vouchers, weird anti key fishing device and a load of useless leaflets that went straight into the recycling bin could possibly help me to get a job either. But then if anyone can come up with a credible answer as to why a massage therapist, fireman and some girl offering funding for courses should be called a jobs fair I might just start stripping....and with my levels of co-ordination and contortion that could be seriously dangerous.
Anyone who believe the welfare 'reforms' the main two parties are currently falling over themselves to implement will be better than the current situation would do well to realise this is a standard description of a Job's Fair, paid for out of what was possibly Pathways to Work, or maybe New Deal for disabled people funding. All that money, spent on a job's fair which had everything but jobs. This was prior to the current recession, making it even more important now to consider how money is spent, rather than just how much money is spent.