Reinventing the experience of work experience…well somebody’s got to

The “Occupy” movement was moved on this week – turfed out of its temporary home on the steps of St Paul’s. Cries of “Police State” on one side of the argument and “about bloody time” on the other. But there is a different way of looking – there always is!

Now we have another movement: ”Boycott Workfare have today confirmed that their national day of action on Saturday 3rd March will go ahead…action is now planned in twenty four locations.”

Reports suggest that the Government’s new “WorkFare” scheme is another dog’s dinner – is it really as bad as we’re being lead to believe?  The real issue surely is that we all have such a jaundiced view of “work experience” because we all know of, have seen at first hand or maybe even were directly responsible for making the experience of work experience an appalling couple of weeks where making the tea was as good as it got. I venture to say that most work experience doesn’t ever get close to anything as constructive as stacking a shelf or flipping a burger – the two main arguments I keep hearing against this. By the way living the unconventional days that I do, I am often in awe of the massive military style operation stacking shelves appears to be as I wander round 24 hour supermarkets in the middle of the night – quite a talent me thinks!

So whilst the protests may be far too militant it doesn’t mean to say that I am in anyway siding with the government. There is a different way here too and they simply do NOT get it!  As the “Occupy” movement gained momentum and eventually came to some sort of a coherent argument, I offered the notion to them that right here there is a company growing, in spite of the broken economic model they ranted about, that is the embodiment of everything they were looking for – true sustainability – and if they all ”borrowed” our model they could actually achieve huge change through the most positive type of proactive activism. Errrrr…zero response.  That was the different way then and this is the different way now:  those that are ”Boycott Workfare” are welcome to “borrow” our business model and develop ventures – just as we have and I have covered in previous entries – that give those without work an opportunity to get involved in creating their own future in their own community.  We are reinventing the experience of work experience one step at a time and this movement could do they same: if they can harness ”two weeks of mass social media campaigning” so that “companies cease or suspend compulsory unpaid work placements in response to public pressure” why can’t they, and why don’t they, harness that same level of committed activism to spread a positive message? They won’t. Nor will the government respond either. So we’ll just keep treading our path and gaining support until they have no choice but to listen.

You see the thing is when you take a different look you see different things.