Tes Editorial

A tale of job seeking and frantic tweeting

What happens to National Union of Students officers when their term comes to an end? If they are Ed Marsh, who just missed out on the presidency this year, they end up on a compulsory A4e jobseekers' course and live-tweet the excruciating details.

"I'm sorry if you think this course is about finding and getting a job, and that's the title, but it's actually not that," said the tutor, who had no teaching qualification, according to Mr Marsh's account.

The course clearly gets the important things right - you tick a box to say you have seen the A4e company structure - so the fact that there aren't enough computers to write a CV is easy to overlook. Attendees who had brought their own CVs in for comment were ignored, naturally.

Instead, they looked at sample good CVs and bad CVs, both of which were riddled with errors. The tutor also provided insight into how jobseekers were selected for the course: "They just do it randomly to make your life a misery so you get a job," Mr Marsh said he was told.

With that established, why not spend the time telling racially dubious anecdotes? And so, Mr Marsh reported, they were treated to an impression of a Turkish woman who was "the worst jobseeker ever" and some pithy analysis regarding the tutor's Romanian neighbour's benefits.

A spokeswoman for A4e said that previous feedback on the courses had shown that most people found the sessions "hugely beneficial". "We take very seriously any individual complaints which indicate otherwise," she said.

Unfortunately, at one point, Mr Marsh appeared on the verge of existential despair. "If you don't know how to write a CV, then Google 'writing a good CV'," he was told. "Why the hell are we all sat here, then?" he cried out to an uncaring universe.

And there was an awkward moment when Mr Marsh was asked why he left his last job. (He stood for president but was defeated in the final round of voting by Liam Burns.) Diplomatically, Mr Marsh said he left Mr Burns out of his explanation. After all, he told his rival, since he was told Scottish accents are a barrier to work, "It's probably better you have the job."

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