Queen Of The Jobless Industry 2009: Claim Yours

Queen of the jobless industry

Claim yours now India Knight Where am I The first time Emma Harrison visited Thornbridge Hall, an immense faux-Jacobean pile in the Peak District,
she was a feckless teenager on an Outward Bound course with her social worker. But then she turned her life around, made a fortune getting unemployed people back to work and … bought the place. She built a new wing, restored the Victorian fittings and put a herd of wild boar in the woods. It would be easy to point out the contrast between Harrison’s glamorous existence — The Sunday Times Rich List estimates her fortune as £35m — and the bleaker lives of her company’s clients. Harrison, 46, is one of the biggest shots in Britain’s rapidly growing unemployment industry, one of the few sectors flourishing in these straitened times. Figures released last week show that 2.5m people are jobless, the highest number for 14 years. Almost 1m of them are young people, a lost generation who may never wean themselves off the state. On the other side of the fence, about 30,000 people are employed in Britain’s high street jobcentres, which are themselves affiliated to a myriad of state-supported bodies and private companies, including Harrison’s training company, Action for Employment (A4e).
Harrison and A4e should represent the government’s best hope at cracking unemployment. Since 1991 she and her thousands of trainers and tutors have taught more than 1m single mothers, redundant steelworkers and former offenders to write a CV, smarten themselves up for interviews and look their potential boss straight in the eye.

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