Mrs. Thatcher goes job hunting
Finchley MP and Opposition Leader Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was “unemployed” for an hour on Monday morning. For Mrs. Thatcher visited the Job-centre in Ballards Lane, Church End Finchley, where she followed the same route taken by a job hunter.
Although she admitted “the one I want wouldn't come through a Jobcentre,” Mrs. Thatcher made a detailed examination of the many vacancies offered.
While she was in the front office one Scotsman quipped: “It's a sorry state of affairs when an MP has to look for a job.”
In the Jobcentre's “self-service” department the Tory leader spoke to 24-year-old Mr. James McManus and Mr. Frank Ho, aged 20, both of Friern Barnet Road, Friern Barnet. Mr. McManus has been looking for an unskilled local job for three years without luck. His friend, Mr. Ho, left his job as a salesman in Harrow a week ago because it took him an hour and a half to get there.
She then went to the employment advisors. She chatted to 19-year-old Jackie Dixon, of Hillcrest Avenue, Hampstead Garden Suburb, who has been looking for a job as an animal nurse since August.
District training officer Pamela Lord told Mrs Thatcher: “We pay particular attention to the fact that the people we are trying to help must be suitable for the job and the job must be suitable for them.”
She also said: “There are insufficient courses for training in general.”
After speaking to disabled resettlement officer Mr. Dave Sellars, and Iris Schreier, who is in charge of order control, Mrs. Thatcher saw a “message switch” machine, a fast telex system which can route job information to other offices.
Mrs. Thatcher was shown around the complex by manager, Mr. Gareth Wright, and district manager Mr. Peter East.
She was very impressed with the “self-service” department. “Parents can wander in and look at the vacancies, you can also come in and see what people in your job are getting—it is excellent.”
Mr. Wright explained to her that about 700 people leave the centre's register each month and that they have improved placing performance by 80 per cent. in two years. He said a quarter of the jobs available come through a Jobcentre.
Mr. Steve Sharpe, Manpower Services Commission, stressed the importance of training. “It is a problem in engineering. There are many vacancies but people do not have the skill. There is also a reluctance to go into industry.”
The centre has got its work cut out though for now there are 1,066 local people unemployed. Two years ago there were 860.