28 October 2014
PC workstations, free Wi-Fi, even biometric software; just a few of the things the government is introducing to job centres, according to an article I read online recently. It’s a step in the right direction – a sign that they’re getting up to speed with modern technology – but it’s a step that, in my opinion, is being made embarrassingly late. How have these facilities been run for so long without computer workstations?
To quote one of the Job Centre’s customer service managers, what this technology will be great for is speed of service, allowing people to avoid standing around in a queue on arrival, waiting to be directed. This is something technology is great at; automating processes so that customers can do certain tasks themselves, freeing up staff members to provide a better standard of service. It’s no replacement for the face-to-face encouragement and motivation that expert advisors should be providing; however, if it is used well, it will free them up to do exactly that.
The way I see it, life is about planning ahead and giving yourself the best possible chance for success. So it goes without saying that if you want someone else to succeed, you must equip them with the tools and knowledge they need in order to do so.
The “digital makeover” of UK job centres is obviously a good thing, but isn’t it something we should already have done? And, more importantly, will it actually make a positive difference? It’s the synergy between (wo)man and machine that, ultimately, will guarantee a successful outcome.