Personal Stories

Stories & experiences of Workfare

  1. I was sent in a work placement for one month with Poundland, I'm in my 50s with a disability and after working for 30 yrs on and off was quite surprised they the jobcentre were sending me to Poundland. I was given a 5 min interview which basically lasted minutes which consisted of my name and the start date, my age also. I mentioned I would not be able to lift heavy objects as I have a disability. I was also told there was no vacancies for employment with Poundland. My hours were 11:30-6:00pm. I was told by dwp advisor if I did not complete the placement I would be sanctioned, if I was late I would be sanctioned, if I was absent, I would be sanctioned if I was sick I would have to get a doctors note explaining why I was sick. I was told I would work for 6and a half hours per day with one 30 minute break. I was early the first day by 30 mins but they started me anyway, I was given a job of stacking shelves that involved some heavy lifting, I was in so much pain I doubled my dose whilst working there, I was told to work fast, I was told to do my job and once the manager left at 4 pm, it was like a free for all, I was doing the work of four people, while the actually staff were hanging out in the warehouse talking. It was soul destroying, the staff were unfriendly and not welcoming and not helpful, I used to dread when management would leave as I knew for the next two hours I would be doing everything. I would come home and cry. I tried hard to befriend the staff, but they were not interested it caused tensions, if anything and I mean ANYTHING went wrong it was always my fault, I was to blame. As I was on the easy target for staff. I was shouted at humiliatied in front of customers, called useless etc. It started to effect my mood and I would dread going. I consider myself a great employee, am smart, wise, honest and hardworking who is motivated and self disciplined and have worked for private sector corporate companies as administrator and held supervisory positions relatively intelligent. After my months work trial having completed it with not a day off, on time and hid my feelings and always was professional and smart. I left feeling suicidal. They the company Poundland told me after two weeks that if I worked hard and always came in on time and never have a day off they would employ me with a 16 hour contract. On my last day I was speaking to a newest employee and he told me they tell everyone that so they get the most work out of them, he rolled his eyes and said it again oh they tell everyone that which meant everyone from the job centre, it was yet another cruel blow. I didn't even get a thanks from the manager after my month long placement.
  2. My friend has just been 'put' on your work experience scheme in Rugby but I am a little bit baffled by it. You state on your website that your "work experience programme is completely voluntary" but from what my friend said he wasn't given too much choice about it from the Rugby Jobcentre.They never told him it was voluntary or that he didn't have to do it. From what he has said they asked him if he had done the mandatory work scheme and when he said yes, they stated Poundland are taking on people of a four week scheme and just asked "is that ok?". My friend won't say no because of fear of losing benefits but he is really not interesting in working for Poundland for nothing and would rather not do it.He already has eight years retail experience some as a supervisor/ acting manager and doesn't see what he would gain from stacking shelves or dealing with stock? He has already done similar on his MWA and said that only gave him a negative view of work. In doing mundane jobs for 20 weeks with no pay, I agree.My friend isn't against work experience but is looking for administrative/ office work and admin work experience would better suit. This placement is mandatory work experience by the back door. Shame on Poundland. He also stated that this Poundland store in Rugby appears to have about four or five people on this scheme. That is appalling that Poundland takes on this amount of ‘free labour’ especially if those people were given little choice.From what my friend said the Jobcentre seems to get people of these schemes using leading questions rather than being up front at stating this is voluntary. I would really have thought that the shop staff would have made sure/ asked these people whether or not they want to ‘volunteer’.I have no problem with you having work experience and feel more companies should do similar. But it should be through Poundland and not the jobcentre. People should have to volunteer though you not feel pressured into it by the Jobcentre. That is not really voluntary
  3. I object to this company using me and making money.

Name and Shame Data

Information from Name and Shame reports


Jun, 2017


  1. Jun 2017 for 4 week(s)
    Work Experience
    Gunnergate Ln, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8, UK
  2. Nov 2015
    Brotherhood Cl, Peterborough, Peterborough PE4 6ZR, UK
  3. Dec 2014 for 30 week(s)
    Work Programme Mandatory Community Benefit Work Placement
    89 The Horsefair, Bristol, City of Bristol BS1 3LZ, UK
  4. Oct 2014 for 4 week(s)
    Work Experience
    Manning Walk, The Clock Towers Shopping Centre, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2JT, UK
  5. Sep 2014 for 4 week(s)
    Carlisle, Cumbria CA1 2EA, UK
  6. Nov 2013 for 26 week(s)
    Work Experience
    23 Town Square, Basildon, Essex SS14 1DT, UK
  7. Oct 2013 for 13 week(s)
    Work Experience
    23 Town Square, Basildon, Essex SS14 1DT, UK
  8. Sep 2013 for 6 week(s)
    The Border, Telford, Telford and Wrekin TF3 4AE, UK
  9. Sep 2013 for 4 week(s)
    Mandatory Work Activity
    The Border, Telford, Telford and Wrekin TF3 4AE, UK
  10. Aug 2013 for 6 week(s)
    23 Town Square, Basildon, Essex SS14 1DT, UK
  11. May 2011 for 4 week(s)
    Work Experience
    39 Market Pl, Dereham, Norfolk NR19, UK