Jobcentre turns to the iPhone
'gis a job - there's an app for that
The UK's Jobcentre Plus service is now available through an iPhone application and Android, providing a vital service to the jobless-but-gadget-obsessed.
The app is free to download and provides for keyword searching, with location-specific filtering and maps showing where the work is - we found the location part a bit optimistic in the way it broadens the search area until it gets some hits, but that's a small quibble.
Not just for labourers from Blackpool
The real question is why searching for a job needs to be done on a mobile phone? It could be argued that anyone looking for work would be better sat in front of a PC, a view underlined by the announcement that 50 job centres around the country would be sharing a couple of hundred PCs between them for exactly that reason.
Apparently 13 per cent of the jobs advertised through jobcentres now require digital applications. That's 350,000 vacancies which are closed to those without access to a PC, or a high-end smart phone.
Except that the mobile application can't actually be used to apply for the job. For that you'll need to call Jobseeker Direct and give them the reference number of the job, so it's a search service and nothing more. It's also restricted to the iPhone and Android platforms - users of lesser handsets will have to rely on the web site, or travel into town.
But encouraging people to search for a better job more often can only be a good thing, and ten minutes of boredom is probably better spent looking for a job than playing Tetris. ®
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