The Government has set up an online careers advice service for the four million people who could find themselves out of work when the furlough scheme expires at the end of this month.
Those whose jobs will no longer exist are being encouraged to retrain by filling in a skills questionnaire designed to determine what kind of work they are best suited for. Needless to say, there have been teething problems.
An unfit woman in her 50s was told to become a stunt double. For whom — Jo Brand?
We’re clearly not talking Wonder Woman here.
A 57-year-old musician who hasn’t worked since March was advised to try his luck as a boxer or football referee.
He couldn’t do any worse than VAR. Teachers have been advised to retrain as teachers, and a photographer was told he might retrain as, er, a photographer.
It got me wondering what jobs some of the Cabinet could do if they found themselves on the political scrapheap.
The Government’s careers advice website is having some teething issues,suggesting a woman in her 50s could become a stunt double – at least Boris Johnson can fall back on journalism should he end up on the political scrapheap, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN
Dishi Rishi could always get a job as a waiter at Wagamama. He gained a bit of work experience there during Eat Out To Help Out.
Gavin Williamson could go back to flogging fireplaces, at least until fires are made illegal in ten years’ time under the Government’s green agenda.
Dominic Raab could make ends meet as a martial arts teacher. Everybody’s gone Kung Fu fighting! Tough-talking Priti Flamingo would be in demand as a high- class dominatrix.
Some men would pay good money for a sound thrashing with a cat’o’nine tails from Priti, especially if she wore Jane Fonda’s thigh-high stilettos. Michael Gove could fall back on journalism, as could Boris.
Neither of them, like most hacks, is qualified to do anything else.
I speak from bitter experience. In January, it’ll be 50 years since I signed on as a trainee cub reporter at a now defunct weekly paper.
Tough-talking Priti Patel would be in demand as a high- class dominatrix, but how did RICHARD LITTLEJOHN fair when he took on the government’s assessment?
To be honest, I’ve never had a proper job in my life. I wouldn’t know where to start. Actually, that’s not strictly true.
In 1975, I was made redundant from my job with a provincial news agency. Newly married, with a young daughter and a 100 per cent mortgage, I had to find something to bring in a few bob.
My dad fixed me up with a job painting pallets at an engineering company.
They sacked me at the end of the first week. I was hopeless. There was more paint on me and the factory floor than on the pallets.
Think Frank Spencer and you won’t be far wide of the mark.
I’ll pay for any damage.
Fortunately, I fell on my feet and was hired by the local evening paper.
The rest, as they say…
But it’s just as well I’ve managed to stumble my way through the world of journalism. Because I don’t have a clue how to do anything else.
Much like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove also has a career in journalism that he can fall back on
So, out of curiosity, I thought I’d take the Government’s skills questionnaire, just to find out what kind of work could be available if the Mail decides to shoot me at the end of October.
It went something like this. You’re given five possible answers to a range of statements, from Strongly Agree, via Depends, to Strongly Disagree.
These are the edited highlights.
Question One: I am comfortable telling people what they need to do. Put that down as Strongly Agree.
Next, I make decisions quickly. Pass.
I like to take control of situations. I’ll get back to you on that.
I prefer to follow what other people are doing. That’ll be a ‘No’ then. I’m with The Byrds — I wasn’t born to follow.
I like to take responsibility for other people. I’m barely responsible for my own actions, let alone anyone else.
I think I am a competitive person. Wanna bet?
I set myself goals in life. That was a Tuesday.
I am comfortable talking people around to my way of thinking. Please yourself.
I am comfortable talking in front of a group of people. It’s a living.
I like meeting new people. Depends.
Rishi Sunak helped promote his Eat Out to Help Out scheme at Wagamama, perhaps he’ll get a call back from a manager there
I find it hard to understand other people’s point of view. Is that the time?
I like to work out complicated things. What was that again?
I like to get to the centre of the issue. Sounds about right.
I like working with facts. True.
I like working with numbers. Nope. That’s what accountants are for.
I like learning new things. Old dogs, new tricks.
I enjoy coming up with new ways of doing things. Tell me about it. Twice a week, as a basis for negotiation. A large Bloody Mary always helps.
I try to think differently to others. Someone has to.
I like to try new things. Not if it involves quinoa.
I like to focus on details. Run that by me again.
I like doing things in a careful order. Sorry, what was that?
I like to follow rules. You must be joking.
I feel restricted when I have to follow a routine. Get on with it.
I like to see the results of the work I do. True.
Dominic Raab, who stepped in as Prime Minister while Boris Johnson fought Covid-19, but could RICHARD LITTLEJOHN thinks he could be suited as a kung-fu fighter
I like to get involved in making things. Not as such. Failed woodwork O-level. Every shelf I’ve ever put up fell down.
I enjoy getting involved in practical tasks. Don’t be daft.
I like working with my hands and tools. You’re having a laugh.
I enjoy planning a task more than doing it. Why do something today when you can put it off to tomorrow?
The website tells me: ‘You are a practical person.’
What? How the hell did they reach that conclusion, let alone manage to recommend the ‘two job categories that might suit you’?
Category One — ‘Engineering and Maintenance’. Did they not read the bit about my brief career painting pallets in an engineering factory? Or the stuff about failing woodwork O-level and being useless with my hands?
Category Two — ‘Environment and Land’. Clicking on this link pointed me in the direction of a number of possible alternative careers, including meteorologist, tractor driver, tree surgeon, wind turbine technician and fence installer.
After a disastrous summer for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, he could go back to flogging fireplaces
Where did they come up with that little lot, especially as I’d take a chainsaw to each and every wind turbine in Britain?
Meteorologist? As Bob Dylan pointed out, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Somehow, I can’t see myself as a fence installer, either.
But you never know, needs must.
I suppose if all else fails I could always retrain as a Government careers adviser.
Still, this only goes to prove what I’ve always said: don’t give up the day job.
But if I’m not here on Tuesday, you’ll find me driving a tractor into the nearest wind turbine. I’ve got a brand new combine harvester.