Under siege by the workplace wannabees

Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so bureaucrats and politicians can’t abide a loophole.

If they spot one it must be closed. And, apart from ensuring they stay ahead in the expenses game, our politicians like nothing better than finding a loophole and campaigning to close it.

One has been found in the work experience programme. You know, the one Tony’s Government is so keen on. The one that means HR departments are regularly under siege from youngsters forced to find a place of work which will put up with them for two weeks. The one that involves more paper consumption than the Sunday Times’ print run.

Yes, that one.

Well some hand-wringing do-gooding Doris Meanswell (not her real name) went on Radio 4’s PM evening news programme late last month to warn there was a dangerous loophole in the work experience programme: insufficient vetting of those working with work experience youngsters. She even mentioned – dare I say it? – the ‘paedo’ word.

Cue a few words from a sympathiser from Richmond-upon-Thames. “I can recall one vague report of inappropriate behaviour involving a girl being asked for a date while on work experience,” he said.
Point proven intoned Pervfinder-General Doris. She wants the Government to insist that those working closely with school children on work experience must be vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau.
Imagine where this would lead for the HR department. Or rather don’t.

But, as Sven Goran Eriksson knows, there’s always a silver lining. In this instance, my case for the appointment of a full-time work experience manager could soon be water-tight.

HR Hartley is an HR director at large

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