Nellie K on 01 May 2021

Last weeks big ideas Zoom has really got me thinking. One of the other participants mentioned something and I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it.

In our breakout group we talked about autonomy, empowerment and opportunity - both in relation to receiving basic support, but also as a way out of the system.

There really aren’t many paths off benefits, and what there is, is often restricted by age (apprenticeships) or previous education and employment. There is very little room for choice. There is very little room for trusting people to know what work would suit them, what would fit into their life, and what would give them fulfilment. Education pathways focus on GCSEs like a C in Maths and English is the Holy Grail. But what if you already have GCSEs? What if you already have a degree? What if you need access to a Masters or PhD - for career development or professional accreditation? What if the reason you’re out of work is because your last job (the one you have experience and qualifications in) made you ill? What if you want to change careers? Where is the provision for that? Why is the assumption that people on benefits are stupid, uneducated, and unfit to choose their own future?

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