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Where to go now?
I've just read the response from Wax (#4), recommending volunteering to obtain experience. That was a route I've used myself during past periods of unemployment, and in the early 1990s it was a case of declaring in advance that despite the intention to volunteer you would be available at a moment's notice to attend the dole office for direction to a job prospect!

I have a hunch that now it's a lot less straightforward - I think that as far as benefit is concerned, the only acceptable volunteering on these terms is with registered charitable organisations. I know that there are archaeological organisations with that status, but they're not necessarily the ones that might give the type of archaeological experience that you'd choose for your intended career niche.
I suspect Man from Porlock may be right and (just through reading the government contradictory advice) that this is a potential minefield....

The free little leaflet from DWP says that volunteering can be for anyone including charities, social enterprises and local businesses..

Howver the DirectGov web-site clearly states that volunteering will only be allowed for not-for-profit concerns....

Lefthand? righthand? Clearly not to be trusted with anything more complicated than arse-wiping.....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
kevin wooldridge Wrote:Lefthand? righthand? Clearly not to be trusted with anything more complicated than arse-wiping.....

Only if they can find it without input from a special advisor on *rse wiping.
D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of Tony Robinson.
It can indeed be a nightmare when benefit offices are involved. That said, it largely depends on the office and how you approach them. If you can convince them that through volunteering, you expose yourself to potential employers, gain some essential skills to climb onto the ladder with and are pro-actively seeking work in doing so, I don`t see that they can refuse. After all-they have a work-trial scheme where employers can take you on for a period to assess you so what`s the difference?
I do agree that there is no justification in a commercial concern staffing projects with volunteers but that`s not what we are talking about here. Graduates are simply not being equipped with the essential skills for the market by their university experiences. It would be worth reminding new grads that there are more options than the field out there and it would be well worth suggesting that they approach consultancies too as they can often be the more regular employers during economic malaise (a brief look back at the BAJR job page seems to support this contention). There really is no easy answer I`m afraid.
There are still some units who will take people on as GOs (General Operatives) who are not always graduates but who seem to find fairly regular work by being willing to take a lesser wage on the road to becoming fully fledged staff. If I were a new graduate, I would be sending begging letters to every unit on the surface of the earth and phoning them mercilessly. I would be ready to work anywhere at the drop of a hat and even on short contracts. Building experience levels is the main key but more importantly, once key people in the commercial world spot that you turn up sober, on time, work like a Trojan, are reliable and are hungry to learn.......doors can start opening for you. It really is a small world and word does get around-good or bad.
So long as you have all the prerequisites in place (CSCS card etc) and can demonstrate a reliable work ethic- you are in with as much chance as the next person. Whilst things have been awful for a long time now, things will have to change for the better and quickly too. Kick starting a failing economy usually requires large infrastructure projects (HS2 etc) so now is the time to let units know that you are still very available and equally willing.
For those of you without ties and major obligations to stay rooted in the UK, why not look abroad? The States,Canada and Australia in particular have been bolt-holes for those with ambitions for sunnier climbs and endless beaches! You never know until you try. Keep writing to units....keep cold-calling....hunt down as much experience as possible and above all, don`t give in. Things will change.:face-approve:

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