Tuesday, June 19, 2007

You Try And Do a Good Deed...

Some time ago a journalist friend of mine, who shall remain nameless for the purpose of this blog, asked me if her 15 year old son could come and do a week's work experience with me in July. I like to be helpful so I said yes and thought no more of it. Yesterday I got a phone message from someone, who conveniently didn't leave their name, from a company called Trident, about this work experience. I phoned them back and spent ten minutes on hold while they tried to find the right person. They never did and in the end I hung up. Today they phoned back to tell me that in order for this boy to come and work for us they need to visit 18 Doughty Street, carry out a health and safety survey, see our employers liability insurance and a full breakdown of what he will be doing while he is with us. They want half an hour of my time on top of the twenty minutes I have spent on the phone to them. It doesn't matter that it was all arranged by his mother, who is presumably happy for him to be here otherwise she wouldn't have asked in the first place. It was all I could do to stop myself telling them exactly what they could do with their survey.

The only thing which kept me smiling was the thought of them phoning Michael White of The Guardian and asking him the same questions, for my friend's son is doing some work experience with him too. Anyone who's visited the Guardian office in the Lobby will know what I mean!

47 comments:

The Hitch said...

Just tell them to eff off and give the boy the job regardless.
somebody has to take a stand.

Anonymous said...

What the hell has this got to do with these Trident people? Tell them to bugger off and sort it out with his mother.

simon said...

Work experience really is the new nepotism, isn't it? I don't know who your well-connected friend is but if her son wants a job in the media, he's jumped well up the queue, by comparison with some council-estate kid in Middlesbrough who probably wouldn't be able to get you or M White to answer the phone.

simon said...

Trident, incidentally, seem to be another face of Edexcel, the company that keeps cocking up GCSEs by handing out the papers at school gates, posting them on the internet etc etc. They've clearly figured out some new public-sector trough to get their noses firmly into.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

In addition to the points raised by Trident you should now complete a full questionnaire on the boy's class origins to put Simon's mind at rest. It should only take an extra half an hour or so.

Alternatively, you could take hitch's advice, which seems pretty sound to me.

Anonymous said...

May i second that plea for filthy f*cking middle class nepotism?

My sister-in-law was admitted to a prestigious university course on the strength of who her father was. (yes, they asked her in her interview was she the daughter of mr X...)

Despite not cutting it, she got a pass and her father was rung up and told she'd passed before she was...

Funny thing was, she is actually illegitimate and was fathered by some mystery bloke or other.

Still, names and family count for so much..even in what was supposed to be the most 'liberal' of professions.

simon said...

Actually, there is hope. The other day one Sophie Money-Coutts pitched up at the Telegraph looking for work. As well as being part of the COutts dynasty and having 'Money' as her middle name, she is the granddaughter of Bill Deedes. In another era, she would have been given a nice job on the Peterborough column but meritocratic Will Lewis told her to apply to the graduate trainee scheme along with the thousands of other foolish kids who want to work on papers.

Wouldn't happen on the Guardian, I can tell you...

nadds said...

This Trident mob are yet another of nulabs job creation scheme

Last year my daughter HAD TO (part of education rules) do a week of work experience

Running onw business, easy peasy, come work in Dad's business for a week.
We live in Surrey, company in Hertfordshire

Me fill in loads of forms, then month before she starts, bloke from Trident phones up Herts branch mind, to do the assessment

Bloke comes in, fills in stack of other forms, checks her desk space to make sure her chair is ergonomically correct and approves my company
Best bit was telling me I needed to put her on a training course to use a PC - wot, a teenager of today needing PC training!!

God knows how much it cost to do this assessment and how many people were employed in the process

Edward said...

What a fantastic way of encouraging employers to give young people a taste of their profession.

I'm going to apply for work experience at Trident.

lunchtime o'booze said...

Work experience with Dame Michael White, it's enough to make one's flesh crawl.

lfbue said...

"God knows how much it cost to do this assessment and how many people were employed in the process"
Nadds, I would love someone to answer that question too!

Splashitallover said...

work experience in the lobby and with you. massive leg up in politics job. nothing to do with him (or her), everything to do with your relationship with parents. i've done it myself, giving work experience to idiot public school types whose keen parents have fixed them up with a gig.

maybe in the davisite spirit of social mobility, you should offer a work experience place, perhaps to a grammar school pupil, or even a comprehensive school wallah?

this is not mean as a rebuke iain, it happens to us all. i get badgered by mates and mates of mates, on behalf of public school types, who are, i think, hugely over-represented in the media.

question is, what are we going to do about it?

Colin D said...

Where did the sane world go??

johnnie byrne said...

Sorry to rain on your parade nadds but I remember Trident running the work experience scheme I was on back in the late 80s (there website says 30yrs experience - so not so nulab as all that.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Standard procedure for the work 'experience' process (you'd have thought that part of the experience would be trying to make arrangements independently without being nannied).

When I did my work experience eight years ago (Christ on a bike...), I applied, got the placement, turned up and had a teacher visit me for five minutes in the week to see that everything was alright.

More recently, my office decided to take on work experience individuals. As part of the process, we had to go through the same red tape, including a time-consuming visit from some nobody who was expecting paperwork to be produced of PATs for our electrical equipment, reports to be written for the pupil, extra fire extinguishers to be purchased etc. Conveniently, the organising company (I'm sure it was Trident, too) offered a PAT and 'Ealf n' Safety equipment service, for a small fortune.

As soon as she'd finished, we kicked her down the stairs and locked her up in our office cupboard, gagging her with her own clipboard and papers.

I'm lying. I just wish we'd done that instead.

dizzy said...

If you really must have them round when they arrive say you're planning on having this youngster clean the chimneys.

Anonymous said...

So you get called from Operation Trident.....take them seriously Iain - they probably want to check you are safe from balck-on-black gun crime at 18 Doughty Street.......

CCTV said...

http://www.trident-edexcel.co.uk/about_trident/our_people.asp

Why not develop your own form Iain to send them ? Ask for details of insurance, certification, HGV licence, certificate of competency from headteacher, acceptance of liability by Trident, competency in First Aid, spelling ability and basic numeracy, and free from infectious diseases, drugs, or cigarettes, and not suffering from any mental impairment

Anonymous said...

Iain, have you seen the Guardian report that Brown's going to offer Ming the Principleless a spot of work experience in his new Cabinet? I hope someone gets Trident to do a thorough Health and Safety assessment on that placement.

Anonymous said...

CCTV 7:26am
Discriminating against incompetence is illegal, as is selection by ability.

Slightly O/T, can anyone tell me (without being offensive) why I always have to do the word verification twice?

BOF2BS said...

Sounds a bit like references.

Rules as follows:

1 Get requestor to do/draft for review.

2 Add - "without recourse" at the end.

QED

tapestry said...

This has been so for a long time, Iain. Try running a business and you find out what businesses are having to put up with.

Think about poor farmers. There are more civil (civil? not many of them) servants working for DEFRA (department for the elimination of farming and rural affairs) than there are farmers.

Their polices are brutal to animals requiring multiple ear tags on cattle and sheep which keep falling off as the anmials hate them and rub them on trees etc. Why don't the RSPCA get onto this? Because the RSPCA has become too political as well - and these are untoppable EU programmes from the hated Common Agricultural Policy..

Childhood no longer exists. Animals are treated like the Jews in Auschwitz, and responsible adults are driven insane by pointless regulation stopping them doing their jobs. Is there any wonder over 25% of Brits want to leave the country?

Therese said...

Get onto Ed Vaizey. When Trident became part of Edexcel, Ed moved from being a trustee to a member of Edexcel's board.

Anonymous said...

Just wait for their visit. Keeping a straight face proved difficult when they asked us whether the pupil would have 'beverage control' responsibilities and, if so, whether they would be given appropriate health and safety instruction. What has happened to our society that a 17 year old cannot be expected to make themselves a cup of tea without having it explained to them that boiling water might be a bit hot?

Little Black Sambo said...

(a) Is working for Michael White safe?
(b) "Slightly O/T, can anyone tell me (without being offensive) why I always have to do the word verification twice?" Same here: is there some filter working to check suspicious characters?

Anonymous said...

nepotism really makes me sick. But remember it starts with our lovely PM and his even more lovely wife. But they start really big. America. Life just isn't fair. How can our beautiful, talented kids compete with the the mediocre talentless brood that the chattering classes turn out. I know they're not all arseholes but loads of them are.

vervet said...

Anon@10:37 ...
Q. - "What has happened to our society that a 17 year old cannot be expected to make themselves a cup of tea without having it explained to them that boiling water might be a bit hot?"

A. - 10 years of NuLiebour's incompetent management of our education system

Anonymous said...

On the subject of nepotism - journalism is rife with it. Just check out most of the younger writers in any newspaper and you will find they have an influential parent. The BBC is even worse - along with being outraged at their bias, I think we should be asking why so many have got their jobs through family contacts.

But well done to the Telegraph for seeing off Sophie Money-Coutts! I happen to know someone on their graduate scheme and she got the job out of 900 applicants. Get to the back of the queue Sophie.

G Eagle said...

Sehr geEhrter Iain

Is Civic Life in Inglaterra becoming increasingly impossible

Are we going to see the disappearance of :

1. voluntary unpaid school trips, because Teachers now risk the destruction of their careers if something tragic goes wrong

eg Judges seem unaccountable to anyone for their own actions, but they have now taken to sending Teachers to Jail for a Year

2. individuals taking on the unpaid & onerous responsibilities of becoming Charity Trustees, especially for Children's charities, as the Law imposes evre greater personal liabilities, which could result in these unpaid Heroes (& their families) losing their homes, through no fault of their own

I have the honour to remain your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Anonymous said...

I did lots of work experience last year, my school was pushing all this health and safety crap on me but I basically ignored it. That seems to be pretty effective with this sort of nonsense

Anonymous said...

Work experience and nepotism are pretty standard now and have been for ages. The trouble is nowadays there are so many graduates (with "degrees" in Media Studies or something equally trite) that 1) they don't actually know how to do anything useful, so need some experience to actually be employable and 2)people will resort to any tactics necessary... nepotism being a favourite.

This is all some idiot (can't think who) who suggested that we need 50% graduates. What rubbish.

Chuck Unsworth said...

If they were to phone White you can guarantee that he'd make no decision until he knew exactly what connections the lad might have. Then, and only then, would he tell him to piss off.

White's too shrewd a cookie to let an opportunity for agrandisement to go by and he's going to keep his copybook spotless.

Realpolitik said...

Johnnie Byrne is right. I remember Trident when I did my work experience in 1986.

I applied to work on the local paper but got sent to a book shop instead.

I met David Owen at a book signing and got a signed copy of "A United Kingdom", I think it was.

I never see this on people's classic book lists and I have no idea where my copy is anymore, or even if I still have it!

Voyager said...

Judges seem unaccountable to anyone for their own actions, but they have now taken to sending Teachers to Jail for a Year

Lawyers are the New Secular Priesthood and they are building their Cult of Blame and developing Catechisms for the populace to learn.

It is the zenith of the New Order with lawyers now ruling on troops in combat and placing the Temple of Law at the heart of all human existence.

Only those declared innocent by the law shall be permitted to be so...the rest have temporarily unproven but pending guilt

Anonymous said...

Q. - "What has happened to our society that a 17 year old cannot be expected to make themselves a cup of tea without having it explained to them that boiling water might be a bit hot?"

It is like the US policy of printing unpacking instructions on the outside of boxes to reduce legal liability.........or the hot-air guns for paint-stripping which suggest not using it as a hair-dryer

Fritz said...

They also need to check your Public Liability Insurance.
Check the file for previous Health and Safety Risk Assessments.
Request a scrutiny of your Fire Risk Assessment.
Many are under 16 and you need to show that you have been approved with no history of being a sex Pest.
You also need to complete onerous documents.
Now you know why Private eqity Firms are making a Mint- because no sane UK business man wants to be arsed about with Blairs and Browns Bureacracy and Socialist Red Tape.

Rich said...

At the risk of putting my head above the parapet and getting it shot off, what's so hard about the H&S issue? I work for an advertising paper. We have all the necessary risk assessments in place (as we are required to do by law). When anyone wants to send a youngster to us, I fax them copies of anything they need, and if they want to visit, they are welcome to do so. I've got a work placement girl with me this week, and she's a delight. Total time involved in the paperwork for the placement was about 5 minutes. If you've done what you were supposed to do as an employer in the first place, it's a breeze. I wouldn't send my worst enemy's kids to Michael White, mind.

Rich said...

I've just written a long reply on how H&S inspections by agencies needn't be a chore. I had to verify the comment about 6 times, and eventually it blanked out all that I had written. So this is all you're getting!

Rich said...

I've just written a long reply on how H&S inspections by agencies needn't be a chore. I had to verify the comment about 6 times, and eventually it blanked out all that I had written. So this is all you're getting!

Rich said...

I've just written a long reply on how H&S inspections by agencies needn't be a chore. I had to verify the comment about 6 times, and eventually it blanked out all that I had written. So this is all you're getting!

Rich said...

I've just written a long reply on how H&S inspections by agencies needn't be a chore. I had to verify the comment about 6 times, and eventually it blanked out all that I had written. So this is all you're getting!

Rich said...

I've just written a long reply on how H&S inspections by agencies needn't be a chore. I had to verify the comment about 6 times, and eventually it blanked out all that I had written. So this is all you're getting!

Rich said...

I've just written a long reply on how H&S inspections by agencies needn't be a chore. I had to verify the comment about 6 times, and eventually it blanked out all that I had written. So this is all you're getting!

Rich said...

Oops!

Anonymous said...

Rich June 21, 2007 1:44 PM
...We have all the necessary risk assessments in place (as we are required to do by law).

But not all small businesses can afford someone like you Rich, and a lot of the stuff is pretty silly. For the CAWR we had to pay £500 to get someone to list everything in our building on a spreadsheet and then write "may contain asbestos" next to it. Now that's money well spent!

Jeff said...

Wait until he has completed the work experience an dyou have to spend anothe rhour or two filling out surveys and other documentation.

Did the same thing last ytear for a local school, took up more time than it was worth for both myself and the young led on work experience.

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