Of late there have been a few examples of big companies exploiting the “work trail” scheme; one in particular Tesco’s looking for night staff on the scheme.  Which would give Tesco’s basically a free person working for them with the state paying the member of staff’s Job Seeker’s Allowance. 

Now out of curiosity I decided to have a look in to the scheme to see what it was for and when it was introduced.  Now the basics behind the scheme are it was introduced in 1989 to provide trial periods of employment for the unemployed in small and medium businesses, which could lead to full time employment. 

Now in its original form I think it’s a wonderful idea, it allows these smaller companies to take on a new person for 2 weeks or so, to show them what the company does what their roll would be and so forth.  Then after the trial period there could be an offer of a job or they both go their separate ways.  Which for smaller companies is a good thing; it saves them having to employ someone who 2 or 3 weeks later decides that it’s not for them and then leaves costing the company a bit of money.

However this scheme wasn’t really used much, probably because the job centres and small companies didn’t know about it.  However roll on 2008 big crisis globally and unemployment starting to rise at a reasonably fast rate.  A few legislative changes were made, notably to the Minimum Wage Legislation, which allowed big business to use this long forgotten scheme. 

Now if Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s or anyone of these companies wanted to employ new staff, I am sure an advert in the local Job Centre would get them 100’s of people wanting to work for them.  So why do they need to basically exploit these people for 2 weeks to get free labour paid for by the state. 

All this is doing is tarnishing the name of what is a good scheme in principle, we should stop letting these big companies abuse it and exploit these people; and we should encourage the small and medium sized businesses to use it.  Give these big companies of tomorrow the help they need to grow, which in turn will boost the economy and create more jobs.  Tesco’s can fill its jobs several times over without any help.  We should be encouraging these aspirational companies to flourish and become the Tesco’s of tomorrow.