Belfast Telegraph

Shop work's no life of Reilly

By Jane Graham

Cait Reilly, the 24-year-old geology graduate who got the Government' s hilariously titled 'Back to Work' scheme declared unlawful this week has already suffered the kind of abuse in the right-wing press that brings out the 'polo mallet' instincts in some of the wettest bleeding-heart liberals.

Reilly was volunteering in a museum when a job centre employee told her the government programme demanded she abandon that edifying experience to work for nothing at Poundland. If she didn't, she would have her jobseekers' allowance withdrawn. After the fortnight stint, which did not lead to a job, nor bestow any skills which might lead to a job, she decided to challenge the logic and fairness of the scheme in court. And this week she won.

Reilly is not a 'scrounger' or an over-privileged adolescent with an unjustified sense of entitlement. She was committed to unpaid work in a museum, where her education was an asset and she was augmenting her expertise. She said she doesn't feel she's 'above' working at Poundland, but if she's forced to do it, she wants paid.

She's been dubbed a 'whinger', but I wonder how many Spectator columnists would encourage their graduate kids to embrace the Poundland experience. Frankly, I think Reilly's geology degree does make her 'above' shelf-stacking at Poundland and I hope every job-seeker has aspirations to better themselves so that they too are above this mindless, soulless, c****y job. Reilly is currently working at Morrisons' supermarket, having hated being on benefits. Her tenacity and spirit are a credit to her generation.

Belfast Telegraph


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