Bournemouth charities fear that jobseekers will now have to face more obstacles with the digitisation of Job Centre Plus, a UK employment service, while the government claims that the update will be to make it easier for people to find a job.
Technology such as Wi-Fi and digital job search websites will be installed in Jobcentre Plus locations, but some argue that this new will negatively affect those people who most need help to get into the work environement.
“This will be a disadvantage for everyone who had been isolated from society”, says a spokesperson for Bournemouth Older People Forum. “It is not really about the age” – she says – “It is about having been given the opportunity to learn the tool”.
Jackie Lillywhite, from Dorset Mind, a charity that helps people with mental health problems, warned that there is an expectation of people who know how to use computers. “This won’t help people who are not familiar with technology.”
“People who haven’t work for a long time or haven’t work at all need additional skills to re-enter in society but if they also need digital skills even to find a job, then the re-entry could take even longer.” she adds.
But Karen Clinton, training and coaching manager at SOS Recruitment agency in Bournemouth, disagree: “Nowadays people need to have a computer to find a work, and if you don’t have one your job search will be harder”.
Katy Hayes, 31, who was once homeless in Bournemouth, is a regular visitor to the Jobcentre Plus location in Bournemouth.
“I think it is helpful, it is a training. I don’t have a computer so it is a great chance to learn how to use one.”
Jasmine Webb, manager of Oxfam Bournemouth, does not think it is “that big of a problem”.
“Although some of our volunteers do come from job centres looking for a placement here,” Webb says. “A very small percentage of people come to help us because they saw an advert online, most of them come because they saw a poster in a window, or because they talked with someone else about us.”