Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: New order from on high – apply for jobs you’re not skilled to do


61-year-old Jimmy Stirling is told he must widen his job search as the DWP ramps up the pressure

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 61-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance of PS50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under PS25 per week. I do voluntary work for my neighbouring community and look after one of my granddaughters for two days per week.

I was recently conscripted to take part in the UK Government’s Community Work Programme, where I would be forced to work for my Jobseeker’s Allowance, which I see as slave labour.

This not volunteering, this is not being paid a wage, this is conscription.

I am against this terrible programme and this is my experience in trying to avoid a six-month, 30-hours-per-week sentence just to juggle the government’s statistics to make them look good.

Below is my latest diary update. You can read the others here.


11 November 2015

Regular signing on day, except they got someone else to sign me on. He said that I would have to widen my horizons in my job search, not just in the areas of which I am capable.

He gave me a bit of a lecture and I couldn’t get a word in. I wanted to ask a question regarding training but he went on and on, so I gave up thinking about it. Sometimes, you just give up listening.

He went on so much that he said that I will see someone else when I come back in two weeks’ time. I had to remind him that I hadn’t actually signed yet and asked if I could do that. After signing, I asked if I would get my Jobseeker’s Allowance this week and he said I would. So, no sanction, yet.

There seems to be a change coming in my case. No longer will it be called signing on day. I will see someone next time and he gave me his name, it looks like he will be my ‘work coach’.

It will be in a fortnight but at a different time. Apparently, it will be up to this new person to assign future times, so they could possibly be at any time of the day. I was also placed on a DWP subscription service which appeared in my email:

“You have successfully subscribed to information updates from the Department for Work and Pensions, and you have told us what kind of information you would like to receive.

You are now able to take advantage of the convenient email updates we offer.

To get you get started, this email contains links to sites offering help and advice to get you back to work:

Jobsearch advice

Directgov offers a free jobsearch facility.

There are many other local and national recruitment agencies as well. Your Work Coach in your local jobcentre will be able to give you further details.

Other Websites you may find useful

Benefits advice


Starting your own business


Citizens Advice Bureau

Prince’s Trust

Skills Development Scotland

My World of Work”

It appears I have the choice of stopping these subscriptions at any time.

So, it seems there are some new things happening for me, although I am sure others have had this thrust upon them recently. I will wait and see what transpires but it looks like I will have to apply for jobs where I have no experience, even if I have some or limited transferable skills.

As a result, the DWP has sent me job vacancies for a furniture sales person, eight hours a week; a post for a cleaner/manager; courses for the merchant navy; and, latterly, an engineering assistant.

I don’t drive and a few of these ask for a clean driving licence so don’t really suit me, but I will apply in any case to show I am widening my job search.

He asked me if I had applied for any Christmas jobs, I told him I hadn’t seen any on the websites I use for job searching. He said that there were a lot. I don’t really see myself as a santa or an elf, and is this just to get me off the unemployment list for a month?

I don’t really see that as a long term career move, but it may look wonderful on my CV.

He also mentioned about applying for civil service jobs and said HMRC are always looking for people.

Of course, it was announced the following day that there would be job cuts in the thousands in Scotland and closures of HMRC buildings .

Finger on the pulse or what?!

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer