Nellie K on 12 July 2021

Re-opening of jobcentres

I hate having to go to the job centre. Here’s why:

  • it takes a huge amount of time out of the day, travelling there, waiting and waiting, and travelling home again.
  • job centres are really unwelcoming, there are too many security guards, not enough seating, no where for accompanying children to play, no reception.
  • it’s really inconvenient for parents when you have to bring children.
  • appointments are never on time.
  • sometimes it’s simply a ticking box exercise, you’ve jumped through hoops for quite literally a 3 minute meeting.
  • The work coaches don’t always have the answer, a little bit “computer says no”, and there's an air of superiority they have between them, putting their paper shuffling first over the client.
  • Totally overwhelming for autistic people - loud, chaotic, bright, stark, crowded.
  • They make you feel like a criminal - my job centre doesn’t have a public lift so to get upstairs with my pushchair I had to be escorted to the staff lift, the button pressed for more, another security guard met me as the doors opened and escorted me on that floor, it’s overkill.
  • There’s nowhere to breastfeed comfortably or discreetly.
  • I have to catch two buses to get there, and two buses home - an extravagance of time and money which I don’t have.

As an autistic mother trying to run my own business, the job centre is overwhelming, inaccessible, unfriendly, and a drain on my time and finances. Online or email communication is the best for me. Even video calls would work (not phones because I really struggle with communicating that way as an autistic person). The majority of working professionals communicate via email/online/video, why can’t we be accorded the same flexibility? In person job centres, unless completely redesigned and the focus shifted to providing nurturing and inspirational support, are a complete waste of resources, there’s really no need to require you see people in person for a 5 minute catch up. It’s rude.

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