Island's benefit system is working against us, claim jobseeker students

A GROUP of unemployed Islanders say that they are being failed by the income support system which they claim would rather see them sit at home than get new qualifications.

Mature students Wendy Bouchere Michelle-Claire Scull Katie howard and teacher Marina Mauge
Mature students Wendy Bouchere Michelle-Claire Scull Katie howard and teacher Marina Mauge

A GROUP of unemployed Islanders say that they are being failed by the income support system which they claim would rather see them sit at home than get new qualifications.

They claim that the system is short-sighted and more of a bureaucratic tick-box exercise than a genuine attempt to find a long-term solution to the Island’s record unemployment problem.

The mature students have spoken out after having their income support taken away, or being threatened with its withdrawal, because they are studying and not spending enough time looking for a job.

They say that they are trying to better themselves through education so that they can build a sustainable career.

• Read about student Michelle-Claire Scull's experience in today's JEP

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Comments for: "Island's benefit system is working against us, claim jobseeker students"


The best place to earn qualifications is at school. If they did not bother to study during the years of free states education, then they should not complain that tax payers are not picking up the bill for income support to help them to studay but not work.


Absolutely agree. Perhaps the school kids of today should be taught this lesson, that although education is free to them, others (taxpayers) are paying for it from their hard-earned.

Le Gresley is right - income support is not aimed at "students" and the two should be kept seperate for funding purposes.

Jerry Gosselin

Re your last sentence, James: In 2011, the States voted to tighten Income Support rules to stop an estimated 104 unemployed teenagers aged 16-18 from continuing to claim £92.12 per week Income Support. The reasons for this change were clear: to stop them having a perceived "advantage" over those of the same age who had chosen to remain in education (and who weren't entitled to receive £92.12 per week). So for that group of teenagers at least, it no longer makes any difference whether they are in education or still signing on as unemployed because they get zilch either way. They are not being treated differently.

the thin wallet

why not go a step further with your comment why not say that they will just pop out kids to get more money .

30 odd years ago myself and a mate wanted to study all week at highlands on the various trades in construction ( no full time course in those days )

guess what ?

" oh no you can't do that"

i see that very little has changed .

these people who want to study, whilst unemployed should be helped .

not forced to take minimum wage job that may require income suport to be paid out any way as they cannot live on the minimum wage without subsidy.

what is better ?

help people to get a good paid job and not get any subsidy

or continue to pay income support to someone who has a low paid job for all of their working life .


You seem to be implying that the criteria for deciding whether to pay someone to return to education should be "because they want to". I don't agree with this. Or perhaps it's "because they are unemployed and they want to". I don't agree with this either. There are plenty of people in work who regularly take part-time evening courses at Highlands, partly for enjoyment but also to give themselves more strings to their bow to make their way in life. Why are they less deserving than unemployed people? Or are you saying that taxpayers should pay for everyone's education "because they want to"?


I do not agree with coninSpector.

I studied when I was at school (yes a free states school) and I was then fortunate enough to go to University to study further to allow me to obtain a good job in a good profession.

Not everyone has/had this chance. Some more mature people in our community (and some of our younger generations) left school at 16 (even younger in some cases) and had to work. Now with high unemployment levels and most open vacancies being in the finance industry those with any sense are attempting to re-train themselves or obtain further qualifications so that they become employable or more desirable to employers. What is wrong with that? I think these people should be supported to get back to work! At least they are trying to do something with their time and lives, unlike so many who just want to sit at home or "play" at living the high life by not working and just hanging around with other like minded individuals!

Michelle Scull

Dear coninSpector and all whom have taken the time to read and make comment on this article,

firstly the requirements for undertaking a degree as that all CGSE's and AS levels 1 and 2 are up to date, i.e taken or in my case re-taken in the last three years. I have therefore undertaken 4 A Level's and 3 CSE's in one year. I have various qualifications , including my O and A'Levels from the 1980's. I found my life much changed with the arrival of my daughter and the death of her father. I am not receiving the amounts quoted, no money was mentioned by any interviewed, and this also applies to the other students.

Katie, under the requirements does'nt even havve to work as her children are under school attendance age, her partner was made unemployed and they have had horrendous dealings with the Social Security. Katie is infact undertaking a diploma which includes I.C.T and other strong subjects.

College has strict requirements for attendance, any drop below 90% then actions to remove you are undertaken. I travel for nearly 3 hours a day to attend, a car being financially out of reach and like others are full time, yes every day !

So before you judge others, and yes there are plenty of unemployed that very much enjoy their lifestyle, think that we are actually taking control and positively improving our chances for a future.

Social Security took away grants for mature students, this was once not an issue. Degree students of all ages get a grant, no discrimination for age, and require little or no help as often employment is attached to a degree and there is less time required at college.Please don't judge others, one day you too could find your life dramatically changed and if that occurs I hope that you take the courage that myself, Katie and others have to change your circumstances.

Thank you.

Percy Egre

why should we pay them to study. I would like to spend time studying and receive benifits for doing that. Jersey wants to control benefits being paid out


the system is not working at al rude staff at ss who do there best to cancel your money needs a big overhaule


I would love to see your CV. I am pretty rubbish in English, but I am not surprise to see the Social security staff being fed up of seeing people like you.

If you can't be bothered using capital letters or any punctuation, (never mind the spelling mistakes)in one sentence, I am not sure how well you must be presenting yourself to an interview.

2 words come to my mind: uneducated and lazy (to be polite).

The system let you down since the age of three by the look of things.

And I am contributing to help people like you... You made my day ... not

Grumpy Old Woman

Ouch!! But so true.


iam 13 year old girl i dont have a cv yet but thank you thats the attitude i would of expected from jersey you try speaking polish and we will see who is the lazy one


You are a 13 year old girl yet have cause to interact regularly with front office Social Security staff?

Im calling BS....


Age is no excuse for sloppiness. Start doing it correctly now or you'll never manage to do it later.


What the hell are you doing is SS at 13 years old ?

1- You should be studying at your age.

2- How come you get money from the States?

3- Obviously speaking Polish, queuing in SS and pushing your sisters in a pram is exhausting.

Moan about the system once you start contributing to it for a start.Until than, study as much as you can, it s free, cause the lazy ones like us, are lucky enough to be working and contributing towards your studies and benefits.


Why would we want to speak Polish? We haven't chosen to go to their country! And it's would 'have' expected.


Didn't your English teacher tell you never to start a sentence using the word 'And'? ;-)

Jerry Gosselin

So you look for mistakes in the way others write English, Kermit? Here are two extracts taken from a message you posted on 3rd October 2012 on this website [with my suggested corrections in brackets]:

"Well, It s [no apostrophe!] call[ed] sarcasm and nowhere [does] it says [say] that those 30 jobs are in social services [capital letters?]."

"And moaning about moaners is also moaning." [starting a sentence with 'and'- tut! tut!]

The relevant link is here (No. 7):

Two words come to mind: uneducated and hypocritical. How well would YOU come across in an interview then? ;-)


Ha ha good old Jerry !!!

Wheel done. I admited 2 B rubbish in english thou...

As long as I don't have to do a written test on the spot, I am fine. Considering that I never been on benefits I must be doing all right.

Got soar knees though ...


Some astoundingly ignorant comments above.

The article says they are "mature students", so presumably they have worked and paid into the system before. Why shouldn't they then be given help if they decide they want to better themselves, or if they lose their job and can't find a new one? What sort of society would let those sorts of people down like that?

Also, just because they want to go back into education does not mean they wasted it the first time round. There is such a thing as "further" education you know, and that costs money.

And so what if they did waste their time in school when they were young? Everyone makes mistakes, and some kids aren't smart enough when they are young to understand how beneficial a good education is. But people make mistakes and learn from them. Why should we not help people who realise this later in life and want to better themselves?

"Why should we pay them to study?" Because having an educated population benefits everyone. Would you rather pay them to sit on their backsides doing nothing? Of course not. I'd rather pay them to either do work, or get training.

But it says a lot about our values as a society and how the state reflects that.

Should our aim as a society not be to provide an environment in which everyone has the means to achieve their full potential?

That means giving people financial assistance so they can get educated. And it's a good thing, because it benefits everyone in society as a whole.


But one of them is back at Highlands taking nothing more than GCSE science and maths! Further education?!

It says a lot about your values that you would give other people's hard earned money away so lightly - to people who wasted their schooling and think they have a god-given right to be given more money.

This is just glorified begging, isn't it?


Further education? Well it's further than they got before.The better qualified they are, the better chance they have of contributing to and putting money back into the system.

James, think of it as an investment for the future. If you don't then you are just another myopic numbskull.


Gwasback, or Pitticus or whatever you'll call yourself next, I can promise you that there will be no return on our investment on a mature student re-taking GCSE science and maths.

Jersey's future will be more dependent upon its culture than in paying for people to retake GCSE's. What message to the thousands of hard working kids at school if they know they don't really need to try to hard because once they have gone off to do their thing, they can always come back to us and we'll pay for them to have the education that they wasted in the first place?

Think long term Gwasbach - that's what investment is all about. And save your childish insults for the playground.


I make no apologies for seeing both the social and economic benefits of giving people who accept they have made a mistake a second chance.

'One of them" not all.

And so what anyway? Leaving someone on the scrap heap like you're suggesting will actually cost more of peoples hard earned money on benefits for the unemployed and fewer skilled people in work. Think it through for goodness sake...


No suggestion at all of leaving them on the scrapheap. You have simply fallen for what has been said, or has been written. I guess we just don't know what each individual circumstances are. But it may not be as you see it. In my view, unemployed people should be willing to take whatever employment they can, get some experience, build a track record of reliably turning up and doing a good job. Many, many people do this. That a few mature students would rather sit in a classroom than devote themsleves to finding work is a matter for them of course - but why should we pay for them to do that? And why don't they advance themselves through correspondence courses, or evening classes? It all has to be so convenient for them, doesn't it? Really think this through Sam, don't just take what you see at face value. We're not all angels.


I certainly agree that unemployed people should work. I'm not advocating dossing. But you might not have noticed that the Western world has just been through a massive financial crisis, Jersey has been in perpetual recession for a few years and there is more competition for jobs now than there has ever been in Jersey.

In these circumstances, some people just cannot find work at all. They spend their days applying and applying but just don't get any calls back. Some who are lucky enough to get jobs aren't able to hold on to them for long before being made redundant etc.

This is what Jersey is like today I'm afraid. I find it astounding that someone doesn't think it's good for the island to take a chunk of our 1,800 unemployed and get them better educated.

You might call it naivety, but I think you should stop assuming the worst of people and maybe have a bit of empathy instead. What someone who has been through involuntary unemployment doesn't need is to go online and see people like you effectively saying they are lazy and it's their own fault.


Im with James on this, if you want to better yourself do it with your money not the tax i have paid. Do it in your own time outside of your work hours so you are still contributing to society. All well and good saying that yo will get a qualification so will benefit the island in the long run but getting GCSE's in your late 20's... you would be better off saying you have none.

Interviewer " So can you tell me what you have been doing for the last 2 years?"

Interviewee " im 28 and i have just completed my maths foundation GCSE"

Interviewer " i don't think this is the right company for you "

What right do you have to get paid to go to school while im at work earning and paying my way. Get in the real world you bunch of sponges!

I would like to know the number of these mature students who have children as well so on child support.


Ollie, you are just as ignorant as James.

How can someone work if their course is full time? Or if they search for a job but simply cannot find one?

The fact is, your tax money will either go on them sitting on their backsides doing nothing, or it will go on making them get out of bed every morning to go up to Highlands and educated.

If you are unable to see both the social and financial benefits of that, then perhaps you should be given income support to go back to school...

Paul Brady

Sam, plenty of people in the island already work full time AND study full time because the 9 to 3 hours of Highlands leaves plenty of time to work at supermarkets, and that's not counting the weekends or long holidays. The rules the social has about finding work are already too easy. You only have to do ten or fifteen hours at the moment and they let you off. There are polish people doing degrees in their spare time and working fourty hours at a coffee shop.

These people cant even be bothered to do that! No wonder the jobs go to the hardworking eastern europeans.

If these people cannot work this out they will never be employable, because the jobs will go to the people who didn't expect the taxpayer to fund two GCSEs that made them too busy to work.


Sam, ignoring your playground insults, what do you say to Paul Brady's point that there are numerous people on the island who have the commitment to both work and study, and do not rely on handouts?

I think you have to realise that there is a real world out there and, thankfully, it is made up mostly of hard working people who take responsibility for themselves, yes take the knocks that life dishes out from time to time but do not expect other people to hand out money to them.

Which is good for our society, yes?


Hi Sam,

Remember firstly that no one forces anyone to go on any of these courses, it was the persons own decision. Therefore as they have chosen to do this i think they should pay for that opportunity.

As Paul said their are plenty of people who manage to gain degree's / qualifications while in full time employment. My self being one of them.

It isn't mine or the average tax / social payers problem that you or whoever WANTS ( notice it isn't a requirement but your choice ) to do a job you are not qualified for when the only time you can do that course is during the normal working day.

Im not "qualified" to be a rally car driver but i would love to do that, should i quit my job, claim off social and drive around all day practicing? No i live in the real world where you should take responsibility of yourself.

I managed to get a job when i left school earning barely more then minimum wage, i have worked my way up and studied whilst in full time employment, yes i had to give up things in my personal life such as hobbies but i wanted to better myself, earn more money and be more desirable to employers

I am now i am reaping the benefits. Why could i do it but others cannot?


That's right James. You just sit their and spew your self-righteous bile without any real thought being given to other causes that may force somebody back into the world of work -bereavement of breadwinning partner for instance, incapacity caused to previous breadwinner, redundancy from lifelong career leaving one needing extra education to move on to next step in one's life.

If it makes your life easier to think of them all as 'beggars' then so be it. Pray God your life is a bed of roses.


Not all beggars, some. You think they are all deserving? Le Gresley has said he will make exceptions depending upon circumstance - who can argue with that? I just don't think there is a blank cheque book for anyone who wants to spend time in the classroom rather than being available for work.


How do you know they wasted their schooling? How do you know that they weren't victims of very unforunate circumstances? I suspect you know nothing about their individual circumstances.

Oh, and 'begging' is such an emotive word. I'm surprised at you, (not!).


See my response to Ugh above, please.

My other half is a teacher and the tales she tells about some of the kids....well, if in ten years time they ask for their education to be paid a second time by hard working people, I'm afraid I would not be supportive! No blank cheque!


Very well said, Sam.

Following on from another, earlier news article - if population is to be capped, we need to encourage as many people to retrain as possible, because, as you quite correctly said, this will benefit everyone in the island.

An untrained workforce is one of the biggest threats to economic survival.

Training is an investment, just look at what Guernsey is doing by encouraging local Guernsey population to retrain as teachers. It's sensible and logical.

Why should these individuals' benefits be stopped if it's better for them and us?

To think otherwise is shortsighted in the extreme.


Not sure that someone retaking GCSE science and maths in their late twenties is a teacher of the future.

Income support relates to employment. There are other criteria for funding students. To get income support, you must be looking for work, not doing something else that you want to.

St. Helier Resident

I had a very similar experience at Social Security when I was told off for doing unpaid voluntary work and they also threatened to take away my Income Support. Consequently, I have no desire to put myself in that situation ever again!


I've heard this before and think it's bad that those who can't find work can't do unpaid voluntary work (be it charity shop or volunteering in care homes etc) that would help them gain valuable experience to put on their C.V. that may help them gain employment in the area relating to their unpaid voluntary work!

Think Social need to make some exceptions and allow people on income support to take their own initiative in terms of improving their C.V.s instead of insisting on their advance to work schemes etc which often place people who aren't committed to their placement. If social wish to monitor things closely so that people aren't volunteering instead of applying for paid jobs then better still!


My wife did a six year Open University and graduated with Hons - shs did a full time demanding job at the same time with no income support. So what's new guys?


As did my partner, now a teacher. Held a full-time job, took an Open University degree, and brought up three children as a single Mum. No income support.


Another example of getting exactly what you voted for.

Well meaning candidate of no proven ability (started from poor working class stock and remains poor working class stock) thus understands first hand the social issues and tells us exactly what he thinks somebody else should be doing.

Yet despite all the “do good” rhetoric and spin, all the best intentions nothing changes because he stands no chance against our the skilled and self motivated Civil servants on £150k and golden pensions who run rings around him.

Perhaps we will get a Commission for the regulation of adult education and a permit fee for every class.

Full time worker, tax payer and student

The nerve of some people!!!??? I am absolutely astounded by their audacity to say such things.

I work full time, I am a wife and mother and I also find time to better myself by doing a second degree with the Open University which I pay thousands of pounds to do each each year.

I would never think that I have a right to not work and study instead. These "mature" students need to grow up and start taking responsibility for themselves. No one should be claiming benefits if they are fit to work. STOP being lazy and get a job and better yourself in your own time!!!!! And pay for your own education! You're the one wanting to study so you pay for it. You shouldn't expect the taxpayers to foot the bill.

Social Security are on the right path stopping income support for these idiots. They need to go further and stop giving benefits to all these chavs who breed like rabbits to receive more income support. They are an even worse problem.

Can't afford to study - tough luck, maybe if you'd studied when you were meant to you' d have a decent job now that allows you to pay for further education.

Can't afford to have kids - don't have any.

Plain and simple - stop being so selfish and expecting others to pay for your life choices!!!!!


Hear hear! Couldn't agree with this more.

You are correct in that the biggest problem of all is rewarding people to simply pump out more sprogs as if it's some sort of great achievement and gift to society. It's not difficult, or and achievement, it's a automatic natural process and no more impressive and or useful to society than the natural process I pump out in the loo every morning...


Totally agree, I did the same.

Went to Highlands for nearly 9 years whilst working to better myself.

I see Sam and the other do gooders have not answered this??

Current young students or their parents have to cough up nearly 15K per year...can they get income support?


Actually, if you'd taken the time to read, us do-gooders (does that make you a do-badder?) have answered that point.

Evening classes and open university courses are totally different to a full time course or a part time one that requires a few full days a week attendance. The two are totally different in terms of the types of commitment you make to your studies.

It is impossible to earn enough to live on if you are doing a course that requires you to dedicate several days a week to being in classes. Even if you have a job, you will still need income support to supplement your income so it is enough to pay bills etc.

But how about you answer the points we have made that you have ignored? There is more competition for jobs today than there has been since records began. What does someone do who has looked for a job but simply cannot find one? Do they just sit at home and do nothing?

For goodness sake, get out of your bubble and join the real world.


Self funded open university whilst doing a low paid job means we do not pay, which is what most people do.

I would love to study full time whilst someone else, the taxpayer, foots the bill.

Why should they be funded by me?

So come on Sam, why can't they get minimum wage jobs and study in the evenings and weekends via OU or other body?

Why should I pay?

Why should there be more competition in jobs have anything to do with study funding? If you want to retrain or study then do it.

Sit at home if they can't find a job? No, definitely not, voluntary work is a good start, I still don't see what the two points you said I didn't answer have anything to do with study funding.

So I have answered your points Sam, what about mine?

Why not OU or some other body?

I would love to study history at home all day but I don't expect the tax payer to fund it.

Do you suggest I quit my job and go on IS then study full time?

No Sam, I realise I cannot do this and must work, if I want to study I do it and pay for it myself and in my own time.

For the other dopes on here, paying SS contributions has nothing to do with your income support, your income tax funds income support.

It's all on the SS website, only takes a few minutes to do some research.


Well said number 8, my partner is working full time, studying a management course which she has paid for and looking after my daughter as I work away from home. She does all of this as A we need the income from both of us to survive in Jersey, B she has a strong work ethic and C she does not expect anyone else to cough up to assist her to better herself. To be honest, studying for your maths GCSE in your late twenties will not make a jot of a difference to your employability I am afraid. The bar has been raised, jobs that required for example and HND as a qualification now demand a degree.

Tax payers should not be footing the bill for these people who (lets face it) are not going to walk into a well paid job and contribute more tax on the strengths of having acheived maths GCSE.

Don't spend my tax money supporting these benefit loungers.


Whilst reading of the “plight” of the people being paid by Income Support to go to college I can only feel angered. Who do they think they are expecting the tax payer to fund them. I am sure that most of us would enjoy a college course to improve our skills at the cost of the tax payer but unfortunately we have to work to pay our bills and support our families on minimum wage, why do these “mature students” think they should be treated differently? I am sure if this was put to a public vote would the general working public be in favour of this being allowed to happen? Most students have to work to support themselves so I don’t see why these people should be treated any differently. Stop moaning, take responsibility for yourselves and get a job!


All these comments making insults, eh. What kind of community is this ? We should be supporting our own, not slagging each other off.

They are trying to BETTER THEMSELVES ! Know the other side of the story and see it through their eyes. These people are working hard to get a job, VERY hard (harder than most) and going back to education to better themselves seems like the only option to them to obtain employment. Also, these people have paid into Social Security, so it should be their RIGHT to go back into education.

They aren't begging for money from the government; they are working for it.

Many of them did do well at school, but they need to expand their qualifications, so they are able to compete with other people to get a job.

Many have raised a family and haven't had a job in a long time, so they might need to go on a course to refresh their mind on a subject, thus meaning they are able to gain employment. Also, not everyone has a loving partner or family to support them, that would enable them to work in the day and study at night.

Blessed Be )O(

PS: I typed this in good, supportive spirit, so please don't reply anything negative. I am just supporting my fellow Jerseys. ;-)


A sense of community has been gradually destroyed over the last 40 years. It is now everyone for themselves, where backstabbers rule.


Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceburg. I have always worked but recently had to leave a position due to ill health. Now ready to get back to work I have felt bullied into applying for completely unsuitable jobs - when I questioned this i was told i had to, regardless of whether it affected my health again or not! I am actively seeking work, am degree qualified (which I did through OU whilst working)and yet I am being made to feel worthless, degraded and looked down on. Some saff there are very supportive and helpful but they are few and far between unfortunately. Some peope skills and compassion would certanly help! Not all unemployed are lazy scroungers!


Trouble is you can't have it both ways


Cannot you see education is the key,

Do you want to see young people uneducated.

with no skills to earn a living taking benefits for the rest of their lives.

Yes I do feel they should pay back the funds

used for the next students turn,when they

reach a level of salary in their chosen career.

Jersey has been sadly lacking in providing

training and opportunities for their own ,

rather bring in J Cat that never leave and bring in their colleagues for jobs that become


Now is the time to form a Healthy Island Policy,where people feel they have quality of

life are valued and have a future.


There are some pretty clear issues. We do not want to encourage a system where anyone gets into a habit of sitting around all day. We need to ensure that people have hope. Core skills education is a good thing in pretty well all jobs. There should not be a lifelong penalty over access to a second chance for being a bit lazy or disinterested at school, if that is an issue in any case. Perhaps there should be some degree of compromise by which these individuals are able to undertake the jobs searching that SS require and at the same time continue with some education. Highlands might need to look at its timetabling.


Agreed. Perhaps SS themselves could find a way of providing GCSE core subject courses for those whom would benefit i.e. those who can't gain any employment as a result of their qualifications?

Just to add to the "scrounger should have worked whilst they were at school in the first place" debate - sometimes people underachieve at school due to undiagnosed learning disabilities such as dyslexia and grew up being called "stupid and lazy" by their teachers, parents and peers. Now we have more understanding and a greater ability to help these people achieve their potential, should we not give them that chance?

I think that SS needs to make their decisions about study, volunteering, or insistence that the person just take any paid job regardless on a case by case basis instead of trying to make people fit into their narrow minded tick boxes.


They should work and pay for their own further education. Night classes are available for those who wasted their free education during their school years. Income Support is for the jobless not for mature students who regret their laziness at school.


First of all, they didn't waste their free education and they weren't lazy in school. Maintenant, mon vi, you're taking it out of context; they need higher qualifications to get a job, because jobs over here (I don't know whether you've noticed, because you're so busy at your job) are mainly management, supervisor, etc. highly professional sort of jobs, which require diplomas, degrees and experience, which college can provide !

Second, I have studied with some of these people and they are the most kindest, heart warming people you could ever meet. Being so harsh in your judgement is scary, because not all of us Jersey born are millionaires and certainly most of us are NOT lazy.

Third, if the government invests MORE in our people, then once we get a career, then we will be paying it back and will leave the vicious circle of receiving income support (to those who need it). Anyone can come to our island and they can leave; whereas people like us can't ! This is OUR home. Surely, you would want to support your local Jersey born instead of les étrangères eh !?

Finalement, how are they meant to obtain employment without being up-to-code with the amount of certificates many students have already ? Competition for a job these days is high, every where you go, so it's best that they have the same chance as everybody else, because they need to support their families, not just themselves.

Blessed Be )O(


Firstly, isn't one of them retaking GCSE maths and science? Were they not given classes in these subjects ten years ago? What happened?

Secondly, they may well be loving, wonderful people, probably are. Is that the criteria for giving them more money? I'm not a bad chap myself on a good day, could you send me a cheque please?

Thirdly, the Government is investing extensively in people. It is simply saying that Income support isn't there to support study - that funding is altogether seperate. If they qualify for study support under the agreed criteria, then good for them. What we shouldn't have is back-door funding via income support.

Finally, there are plenty of people in work who don't have the qualifications they are taking. They have got their jobs in a variety of ways. Those are the ways that Soc Sec encourage.


Yes, one person is re-taking some of the GCSE subjects, maybe because that's what they require to get onto another course that will get them on to the course they need to be on ?

Is this all our community is coming to ? Greed over money and keeping the poor in the dark. :/ Why can't we be a civilised community and support our own Jersey born, eh ?

As I've said before: when they get a job, they will pay it back, so by going on courses it will be an investment for the future.

Isn't it better for hope than nothing except a cheque every week or so, just to survive (in some cases it doesn't even stay on the island...) and that's it ? No progression, no hopes, nothing. At least us locals want something better and are fighting for it !

Blessed Be )O(


Like the sentiments Pierre, just disagree that not simply giving money away to anyone who gets their story into the JEP amounts to greed. It's about fairness, and about teaching even grown ups that they have responsibilities to themselves and to their fellow citizens. Surely reading many posts on here demonstrates that where there is a will there is a way without State handouts. No?



They can gain qualifications by Open University and night study courses. If they are serious, then they will take any available job an advance themselves with their own cash not mine.


Two comments from people studying an open university course whilst working. An open university course is different to a full time course for which you need to attend daily sessions at Highlands for. It is impossible to work full time in those circumstances. You are comparing apples and oranges.


Sam, you can't always get what you want.

Choose a course which suits, ie,one which you can do outside of work hours like the rest of us.


Good luck to you ladies, ignore the ignorant comments..

By the way this is disgusting to treat these women this way. Locals trying to better themselves should be supported, I would much rather this than support people with no desire to educate themselves and using their race as an excuse to scrounge, pop out kids and live in social housing.

We SHOULD support these ladies not attack them. Everyone's circumstances are different and I am FED UP with seeing foreign no hopers pushing prams round knowing their kids will adapt the same attitude as them!!


You had me with you until ruining it with the last point. Foreigners can't claim any income support until they have lived and worked here for five years. Jersey folk can do it the moment they walk out of school. And how do you know those women you see in town don't have husbands working to support them? Some prejudice!


Well Sam if you could see the way many behave towards some of us you may understand..

I choose to publically declare it as I believe in freedom of speech when it means sticking up for others and stopping THEIR prejudice views and behaviour to others..

Honesty is always the best policy and from experiencing lots of vindictive people in Jersey the truth always outs in the end. Disgusting what you find out too..


You know there are many ways to help people get work but the actions and the rules at Social do not help.

They are working negatively not positively with a system that is clearly no longer fit for purpose either for those contributing or those who get to recieve.

I contribute and will never recieve but I believe what with some imagination - something that Francis Le Gresley clearly has little of - the system could accomodate retraining and could be used to encourage the take up of people who are already local by employers who seem to rush to central Europe for staff.

Some lowering of aspirations may be needed and some carrot and stick - but at the moment we are rule led by people without vision, or passion or ability who are happy to spin and spin dubious tales of success.

We need to stop moaning and encourage those in charge to look for creative solutions and to stop dodging the real issues.

It can be fixed but I do fear that Le Gresley, Ozouf, McClean and others are part of the problem and not part of the solution.


Studying and qualifications are all very well but the reality is there are little or no jobs, whether you have qualifications or not. Maybe they will be useful if you are thinking of leaving the Island!!!


All individuals irrespective of age should be supported if they wish to study and improve themselves.

I too did the Access course and am now studying law whilst working, had I not completed the Access course with distinction level grades I would not be studying law or working for that matter.

The population is too high and there is insufficient employment opportunities for those of working age regardless of intellect.

You need to ask yourselves whether you would prefer to have individuals lying in bed with a hangover or learning valuable skills as most of the skill options available through the 'SS' or Social Security department are an insult to an individuals intelligence and certainly will not enable one to secure employment.

The States of Jersey have failed to act and therefore such problems will increase, how many of those who have commented have actually been unemployed for a lengthy period; I was unemployed for over three years even though I have more qualifications than I can put on two sheets of A4 and going to college essentially saved my life as was desperate. The Social Security department treated me with disdain and essentially violated my human rights, no individual should be treated as such.

The States of Jersey have failed us all.


Sorry, you are saying that anyone who wants to study anything at any time should have whatever costs paid by the taxpayer? Tell me that you didn't really mean that, please!

R. Williams

I comment these islanders for wanting to improve their learning in the hope that it will enable them into employment.

I believe that all recipients (with very few exceptions) of money from Social Security should have to attend full-time training courses compulsorily if they want to continue getting those payments.

I would sooner pay those who are prepared to do something positive than those who just want to sit at home, visit the pub or bookies, or produce children outside of a secure family home just to get money.

R. Williams

I meant commend.


Agreed! Education or peeling chewing gum off of public benches and pavements!


I have retrained twice in my working life, both times completely paid for by working around the training, bloody hard work though! I now have a well paid job, and no one dished out any money for me to get this far.

The problem is that receiving benefits of any kind seems to make people think they are entitled to them, instead of getting off their arses and paying for it themselves. Why should I pay for people to retrain because they don't want to work hard enough to pay for it themselves?

Maybe give them some kind of grant that has to be paid back once they have a job. Or they could just do what I did and do bar work etc in the evenings to pay for their own re-education.


easy fix,

You must do 35 hours of community service / charity work per week to receive a penny, signed off each week. If you do not then you get nothing. This will not stop you going to highlands at any time to study and that way you are contributing to society and not just a drain on it.

i would have no issue if my taxes went to one of the volunteers in a Bernardo's shop for example so they can go to college and study.

Sadly i doubt this would work, the reason most don't work and "want" to study is because they either don't want to work at all OR beleive the jobs they might actually be able to get are below them. hotel / retail / catering work

This is a big problem with Jersey/British youths.


Totally agree Ollie.

And say the course lasts 3 years, they aren't going to want to work for that whole time, plus at the end of that 3 years could just bugger off somewhere else to take up a job, so what benefit do us taxpayers get then?

I fully support people educating themselves but I'm already paying for children to be educated, and now am I expected to pay for adults to have 8 week summer holidays whilst I'm slogging my arse off in an office to support them?


None of you have obviously been unemloyed for a significant length of time and you are therefore extremely fortunate.

I did not attend college on a whim, I attended college because I was fed up of being unemployed and saw studying as the only means of re-entering civilisation; yes re-entering because if youi have to visit the Social Security department you no longer possess any pride or indeed human rights.

You either pay individuals to study or sit at home consoling themselves with a crate of beer because there isn't sufficient employment for everyone as the States of Jersey have failed to implement any form of population control.

Before I receive any comments stating that I would wish to sit in front of a computer and would not accept any menial forms of employment, well, I have washed dishes, cleaned toilets and been to sea merely to avoid receiving benefits, have you? I was a credit controller and now work in a legal capacity but is temporary and will probably have to walk into the Social Security department in future which I am not looking forward to.

La Moye Squirrel

# I think you epitomize exactly the reality of what is going on at the heart of the Jersey population - educated native speaker unable to make much headway because of endless hurdles which present themselves at every turn of the road. It should be that if a suitable Jersey person, and I mean Jersey person, applies for a job they should get preference. Now that there is a huge amount of second English language speaker bosses, they tend to employ their own and native English speakers don't get a look in. I know this for a fact from first hand experience!


What should happen is, say, all people should carry papers which show if they are Jersey person (and I mean Jersey person) or not so that they get preference for a job...and the queue in supermarkets, cross the road first and have priority at filter in turns. I am sick of foreign reg cars letting out other foreign reg cars are filter in turn while good ol' J reg have to wait.


I think that numerous businesses would love to employ suitable local people, and I mean suitable.

Over 15 years plus of working in Jersey, I must have interviewed a few hundred people. I have interviewed some great Jersey-and-I-mean-Jersey people. I think I have offered positions to all the great, the good, and probably the just about suitable.

But, my goodness, there is a wide spectrum in these here parts. A recent example, a lad who said he had only come because his Mother had applied for him. Yes, he said that in an interview. And if I said who his Mother is (and I won't), you'd recognise her name.


So much negativity from people especially James, no one is saying that EVERYONE should be entitled to return to college, I was seeking work for 8 months and was willing to do any job available but also due to having a child of school age I am unable to work evenings as I don't have the luxury of friends and family to help with child care so I could work unsociable hours, I asked income support of they would be willing to continue my payments whilst I took a course at highlands and they agreed with certain conditions.. They wanted to know what course I wanted to do and what I intended to do once I had finished the course after answering all these questions I got the go ahead. Now I am on my way to becoming a qualified Teaching Assistant and I don't want to be income support all of my life but due to certain things happening when growing up I didn't have the best FREE enducation people keep going on about.... Oh and the girl re taking her G.C.S.E's when you have been out of school for so long highlands advise you to take a return to study course that helps you with lots of things and these are at G.C.S.E level. The people who abide the system should be penalised not the people trying to make something of themselfs at the end of the day when your not working your made to apply for 2 jobs a week that takes maybe 30 min max if u already have a CV ready so for the rest of the time they can sit on their bottoms watching Day time TV, at Least the ones at college yet still seeking work are doing something productive and trying to better themselfs in the meantime!


Sorry abide should of been abuse


I am very positive about having an Income Support system that provides a safety net for those seeking work, within certain criteria. I am very positive about supporting students to study, again within certain criteria. This story mixes up the two and that I don't support in general.

I agree with Le Gresley who has said that he will always look at exceptional cases, and it looks as though that works in practice given your own case study.

With regard to entitlement to study, Highlands and other institutions offer a wide range of course, subjects and activities. Highlands are absolutely right that if you are returning to study, there are certain courses that are preferable. This debate isn't about that. It is about who pays for it. There are other "negative" correspondents on here who have made their way without the help of someone else. They have a right to protest at the inference of others that anyone is entitled to be given financial support just because they they say hey want to better themselves. Very easy to say.

And I still can't understand why certain examples can't find part-time jobs to fit around studying for a couple of GCSE's.

Shucks, started off balanced, ended up "negative" again. Better have a cup of tea.

R. Williams

Being an 'oldie', I cannot understand why OAP's get concessionary fees to study as there will be little chance of them using the qualifications obtained for the advantage of the population of Jersey.

It may be just to fill the courses or give us something to do.


Sorry Jsy Girl but it isn't everyone who pays social/Taxs fault that you have a child whilst not being in the type of employment you want to be in and now you want to do something else.

I do however think that you should receive the help you need to look after your child whislt you are at work. But not so you can study im afraid.

I know a lot of people wont agree with the above i have said but i live within my means, i don't have children because my Job is unsociable hours so working would just about pay for the childcare i would need.

I think it would be great if everyone only had children when they had the recources to look after and pay for them themselves. This in reality will never happen though.

This is not a dig at you personally just the way i was brought up. If you can't afford it you can't have it, don't ask or expect someone else to pick up the bill for your benefit.

Just imagine if Jersey's Social went bust tomorrow and child support and the likes just couldn't be paid out anymore....


I've written along same lines before. We just bumble along from one crisis to the next hoping things work out somehow. Our States and economic minister in particular are completely reactionary.

The offshore finance sector is shrinking, get used to it. Economic growth comes from investment, and that includes investing in education for both the young and the more mature if their current skills become obsolete. I would much rather see benefits attached to conditions of re-education and training than just handouts. I'm sure many people on benefits would agree. The percentage of people who want to be on benefits is tiny.

Jersey should use its small size as an advantage. Government influence can be much more impactful and directed than for major industrial nations. We have a a small but very highly educated society. We should focus on attracting low impact, high margin business and industries (technology, research, IT, pharma). Offer tax breaks, grants and provide education programs to the existing polutation to retrain into these sectors. Set a goal, create a plan and implement.


This is exactly what I have done and why income support gave me the funding because I know what I want to do and had a goal and was able to provide all information about my goal. They don't just hand it out to people willy nilly like some people think they do



Any company worth it's salt will recognise it's serious employees and will help towards further advancement in study. It is much more economically viable to advance the skills of those who already work in the company ie. daily release to attend courses, than to employ from outside the company.


Not sure I follow your point. Of course Companies will train their staff, but only in ways relevant and to the benefit of their own business.

I am saying the finance sector is shrinking, leading to fewer jobs over time. This will lead to a wealth of bright, capable and professional people out of work. So how about the States of Jersey develop policies to incentivise new industries to the Island and then provide assistance to enable the domestic workforce to retrain in support of those new industries.

The alternative is a brain drane as the workforce simply leaves to find employment elsewhere. Not exactly a healthy situation for anyone and certainly not good economic policy.

For what its worth, I am neither unemployed nor on benefits. Just a concerned citizen that believes the vast majority of people don't want handouts but the sense of self worth that comes from a hard days work and being a productive member of the community.

David Rotherham

So, there seems to be a consensus here.

People on benefits shouldn't do nothing.

People on benefits shouldn't try to improve their employability.

People on benefits wouldn't need to improve their employability, if we didn't let hard-working foreigners grab all the low-paid and grotty work.

I despair of you lot!


People on jobseeker's allowance stop job seeking and therefore aren't paid the money due to people who do seek jobs. Anyone have a problem with this, really?

jersey taxpayer

Of course - it's intentional - Ozouf doesn't want the indigenous population in Jersey - everything our Treasury Minister brings in is an attack on the local person as far as I am concerned. so don't for one minute think that local students will fare any better! All vote sensibly next election!


There is no way we should be paying for anyone to carry out further studies that they didn't do while at school! Get any job and pay for it yourselves! Like the rest of us have to. Why do some people in Jersey feel they have a god-given right to free money and the rest of us have to struggle and actually think and be responsible for ourselves? Absolute joke. You don't need many quals for a whole range of jobs, get off your backside and go look for one, pay for your further studies and at the end of it you will feel a bigger sense of achievement than if you are just given whatever you want for free. Makes my blood boil.


Come on. This cannot be true. You had better explain yourself. He has the least popular job in the island, but I cannot see signs of an anti local policy. Anyway, why would he? What are these attacks?

Progress Seeker

It is common knowledge that unemployment is at an all time low and getting worse. Many businesses are closing, many people are either facing or have been made redundant. There are a huge amount of people unemployed at the moment but a small amount of job vacancies. Many people are applying for jobs and not getting interviews for months, due to the large amount of people applying for every job.

The type of job an applicant can apply for depends on their personal situation, experience and qualifications. If a person is a single parent and has a family to support, for example, they might be looking for part time work, or face extreme fares for after school care. This would be financially crippling if they were untrained and unqualified, as the only jobs they could apply for, would be in the lower pay bracket. This would result in that individual still needing to claim benefits, to top up their wages, to enable them to have enough money to feed and clothe their children.

To give people the chance to gain the education needed to support themselves and their own families, without the need for financial aid from social security, makes sense in the long term.The large unemployment numbers we are facing now are a long term situation that will not be resolved overnight by penalizing the people, unable to find work yet are trying to improve their employ-ability.

If a person is smart enough to achieve the qualifications needed to gain ulterior employment and they are willing to put in the hard work, effort and dedication needed to achieve this, then I admire and commend them.

Contrary to certain beliefs here, it is not easy to change direction or return to study. As you may know the older you get, the harder it is to take in new information, plus the extra homework required, which is done around raising a family for some. To complete the courses, whether at diploma or degree level, is an outstanding achievement. Especially for those who may have learning difficulties, mental or physical health problems or a lack of support.

I suppose for those, who have always had family support throughout life, who were mentally or physically capable of achieving their best from the start. For those who have never failed at anything or have never made any mistakes or bad choices which have affected their life. It may be easy to sit and judge absentmindedly those who wish to turn their lives around rather than be pigeon holed and remain static. For those who are still lucky enough to have a job or those who are comfortable enough in life, at the moment, to pay for their own tuition and do part time courses, you are obviously at a point in life where this does not affects you personally and so, may not be able to relate to these issues or are you experiencing the difficulties and humiliations faced, by those who are in that position at this present time.

To have been in the position to be able to spend thousands of pounds on my own education and work full time would have been a blessing, however for me i was struggling to feed my children.

Do not judge someone else's life until you know the details of how they got there. We are not all victims. Victims lay on their backs waiting for nothing to happen or moan and never do anything to change their situation. If you are in a position to sit and judge, then you have obviously never faced the enormous amount of emotional and mental setbacks and brick walls that i, and many others, have faced throughout life. That is your misfortune, because you are lacking in the wisdom of experience of life and the compassion i feel for other people that i have gained. We can all sit an suppose the reasons why people need help and support from the community they live in. We can all presume, when we have no idea of the facts. That my fellow islanders is called ignorance and maybe you could do with another kind of education, that we have, which you don't, the kind that teaches tolerance and empathy. You would restrict others because you are doing all right yourself now and you managed it fine. Good for you, you were obviously in the position to begin with to be able to do that. Unlike many others. You didn't do the foolish thing and settle for a meaningless, underpaid job but chose to further yourself, because you were in a position to do that. Do not look down your nose now that you have achieved what you wanted to and then tell someone else that education is not an option for them because they had problems you didn't face. That is not immaturity, it is unfortunate and a fact of life for some.

Some people refuse to settle for second best for themselves or their children and have a desire to change their future. This should be encouraged.The return to study course is the first step to changing the lives of some of the most gifted, under looked of Jerseys population.

The only way to make sure that Jersey runs as efficiently as possible is by making certain that all of us, have access to the education and training needed, to move with the economic times we live in. If that means we all retrain at some point or another, then so be it. Even those who have expressed on here, sarcastically, how they personally wish they could just go off and retrain at the cost of the working taxpayer. Well lucky for them, that they have a job, because plenty of people haven't. I hope yours is secure and you don't end up biting your tongue and swallowing your pride at some point or another because you cant find a job and be referred to as a dole scrounger yourself.

Do not knock someone else for having the motivation and drive to change direction in life that you obviously don't have the desire or necessity, to do yourself at this present time.

There will always be a certain sector of society who live in the past and find social progress difficult and there will always be unforgiving, selfish, closed handed people, who are unable to feel compassion or generosity, for those people who are worse off than themselves.

It would be a shame to think, after everything Jersey has been through, we may have become an arrogant, stingy, bunch of negative, judgmental, small thinkers who resist social progress. Waiting for bigoted fools to dictate the difference between what is right and what is wrong and who are the haves and who are the have nots.

I would like to believe that we are an independent Island, full of intuitive, hopeful individuals, who are put in a unique position to help other people become self sufficient. Because we, as a community, had the creative insight to chose to move forwards in our thinking during harsh times. We had the courage to push those in power to invest in the long term development and education of the Jersey population, whoever that may be, whatever their background.

the thin wallet

i like this post. so true.


" Some people refuse to settle for second best for themselves or their children and have a desire to change their future. This should be encouraged.The return to study course is the first step to changing the lives of some of the most gifted, under looked of Jerseys population

The type of job an applicant can apply for depends on their personal situation, experience and qualifications. If a person is a single parent and has a family to support, for example, they might be looking for part time work, or face extreme fares for after school care. This would be financially crippling if they were untrained and unqualified, as the only jobs they could apply for, would be in the lower pay bracket. This would result in that individual still needing to claim benefits, to top up their wages, to enable them to have enough money to feed and clothe their children.

Agree with most of what you write apart from the from points about bettering life for your children, you should have thought about it before you had them? I dont think you should have Children if you cannot support them yourself. i think that is a fair point?

i couldn't afford the re-payments on a Ferrari, so i will not get one. I wouldn't expect someone else to foot the bill when i already know before i go down to the garage that it is too expensive.

Somethings happen which you can not control which may change your circumstances but surely this is a very small percentage.

Having a child should not be an excuse not to work, it should be something that adds to your life experience not detract from everyone elses.