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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

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Fairy Jobmother


Anyone watching The Fairy Jobmother?

Very interesting Coaching / Training / Mentoring techniques. Very few people would get away with using her techniques but she seems to be very well respected by the people she helps.

The only thing I very much doubt is whether the "subjects" in the documentary would have got jobs or even interviews without the TV cameras

Does anyone work with long term unemployed? Any views on her success rate?

15 Responses

  1. Reality TV

    The Fairy Jobmother is good middle of the week TV and I have to admit to enjoying every minute of it; but I don’t believe for one minute that its anything more than a scripted TV drama.

    Its formulaic, using good cop, bad cop routines, highs and lows, laughter and tears, but always has a happy ending.  Its bullet proof as far as reality TV goes and I’m sure its inspired a few people along the way, which can’t be a bad thing.

  2. Awareness

    Hi Swan lake

    I guess it has raised awareness which is a good thing.

    Wonder if long term unemployed watch it? Probably not I would think?

    Hmm Not sure…I think she is great but in reality "she" isn’t available so quite pointless really as real long term unemployed don’t get anything like the personal service (and tv cameras)…so good entertainment but completely unrealistic?

  3. yes and no…..

    following on from your comment, Steve, if what she says and does is great then by watching it some people will emulate what they see happen on the screen and this may have a beneficial effect; I often watch DIY programmes and though the tradesmen don’t come to MY house, I still learn from what I see them demonstrate on the show.  I can also be inspired by the design elements.


  4. Jamie Oliver

    I completely get where you are coming from because now I can cook as good as Jamie Oliver and am actually considering applying to Come Dine With Me as I’m sure the £1000 would be mine!

    However…I did some work with long term unemployed many years ago and I would put the figure at about 1 in 100 who would be able to do what the people in this tv show can do.

    The chances of any of the people I used to work with watching this show are 1 in 1000000…In fact it would be the last thing they would consider watching…

    I do think those newly out of work would watch it and I’m sure for them it really does have the jamie Oliver effect!

  5. let’s face it…..

    ….the TV company doesn’t work out its ROI on the basis of "how many people get a job because of this programme"!

  6. Jobs
    …agreed the TV Co are making an entertainment programme, not a “lets get the unemployed back to work” programme.

    I would love to hear from someone who works in this sector now…do they see Hayley Taylor as a hero or is what she does totally unrealistic?

  7. Some thoughts…

    Whilst I don’t work in the industry, I confess, that I did consider working as a National Training Manager for one of the big players, many many years ago. I pulled out just prior to attending an interview, after doing my research and finding that the company culture was (probably) not right for me….

    Given the nature of the client group, (the long term unemployed), her style is probably what’s needed to motivate these individuals to take some ownership of their situation to get out there and keep looking for work.

    Though at the end of the day, these "facilitators" performance is measured by the number of jobs/activites/placements their clients are placed in which determines their bonus and ultimately their ability to be on the other side of the fence.

    Which begs the question, "are they really in it for the client?", as various reports and comments in the press have stated that the standard and quality of assistance varies from place to place.

    Another question I would ask is "would her technique work on a (recently made) redundant white collar worker?". As it seems to me that she is a bit of a one trick pony.

    Still, the programme fills the few hours before bed!


  8. Employers

    Also worth looking at from an employers point of view.

    In todays market would you give a job to someone who hadn’t worked for more than 2 years?

    I agree…her style would probably not go down well with someone newly made redundant, but then I guess she specialises in long term unemployed rather than newbies?

  9. As an aside


    I’m not qualified to comment on the impact of the programme to the long-term unemployed, but may be of interest that this wasn’t ‘The Fairy Jobmothers’ first foray into the world of TV, having first appeared on Benefit Busters (a similar type programme getting lone parents back into work): 

    (By way of co-incidence, the Chairman of a4e also appeared on The Secret Millionaire – I watch way to much TV!!)

    Interesting interview and comments with Hayley here:



    Thanks for that


    Interesting comments at the bottom of the interview. Some are hilarious but not sure if they are supoposed to be!

  11. the vicious cycle…

    Steve poses the question " In todays market would you give a job to someone who had been unemployed for two years" (I’m paraphrasing because as I answer I can’t see Steve’s actual words)

    This is a question that is quite clear to the long term unemployed and though Steve doesn’t actually say it the inference is "No, I wouldn’t give a job to someone who had been unemployed for two years"; I’m not being personal to Steve, this is a fairly widespread belief.

    As a result of this many longer term unemployed cannot see any point in traipsing round being rejected again and again.  Yes, there are some people who have/want to make a career out of living on benefits, but the others get tarred with the same brush.  Many career break mothers have/suffer the same attitude; "Your skills are rusty and you are out of the habit of going to work, therefore I can’t take the risk of offering you a job."  Inevitably these folk never even get the interview because the break in employment shows on the CV or the Application form.

    In this programme the presence of the camera probably helps them to actually get in front of the employer after which point they have the chance of overcoming the "bigotry" against people who have been out of work.

    We all make assumptions about people based on the little information we have on a CV or an application form; I can give two examples from my own experience;

    ~"You know nothing about managing people because your experience is military; you give orders and other people have to carry them out" 

    ~"You have been self employed for over 5 years, so you can’t handle the office politics"

    Sadly the perceptions of the long term unemployed exist in all markets, and it is also worth remembering that the redundant of today may well be the long term unemployed of next year!



  12. Is Fairy Jobmother delivering the right message?

    Completely agree with you ..

    I was very confused how her techniques were being demonstrated as positive and supportive, especially as I am an advocate of coaching and self-discovery and this was barely done during her recent program.

    I found her methods to be very patronising and condescending.

    Having said that, is it her actions and methods that led to the result of successful job placements? 

  13. “situational” leadership in coaching

    I suspect that the issue here is the "tough love" approach…….her perception is that these folk need a short sharp shock in order to jolt them into action~ it is inappropriate in some situations but wholly appropriate in others.


  14. Fairy Jobmother

    I have not seen this programme at all but I did read the interviews she has done. However, I have worked in both "Unemployment Benefit Offices" and "Jobcentre Plus" and I do agree with most of her comments.

    I was a New Deal Personal Adviser dealing 18-24 year olds who were over 6 months Unemployed and 25+ who were over 2 years unemployed. In reality about 70% of my caseload of clients were over 50 and 10+ years unemployed. When people get to this stage they have lost all confidence and self esteem and dont apply for jobs because "i’ll just get a rejection letter". I always spend the first 3-4 interviews just getting to get to know the person, what they can do, what they would like to do, in quite a few of these cases the people were not fit to work, but didnt say anthing in case their benefit was stopped (this was a few years ago). My aim was that after teh initial interviews I got them to identify 1 job they would like to apply for and work with them to complete the application form or complete a decent CV to apply for it, then build from there.

    But like all cases you do have the ones who try it on and the genuine ones. I advised all my clients to be as open and honest as they can when applying for jobs, i have even approached employers on their behalf to offer incentives to employers to take on Long-Term Unemployed with quite a good success rate. But the area I worked in I used to deal with 2nd and 3rd generation unemployed, speaking to youngsters whose parents and grandparents were claiming benefit and didnt see why they had to work. But you did get the occassional gem who actually wanted to work.

  15. Fairy Jobmother – Hero or Unrealistic


    I’ve been following this thread and congratulate you on having created an interesting debate.

    I have recently been engaged in precisely this type of work and I have watched all the episodes in the series with some interest. In my experience it’s very difficult to pigeon-hole the unemployed (long term or otherwise). I have learnt that there are a variety of reasons why people are unemployed. I’ve also found that it can be counter productive to focus energy and attention on those reasons. I prefer instead Hayley’s approach of focusing attention on removing the perceived obstacles whether they be financial, a lack of skills, personal presentation, fear of the unknown or just a lack of confidence.

    Where I would differ from Hayley is that she seems to line up the individuals for any available jobs without trying to understand whether there is something available that might excite and engage them. I accept this is not always possible but I feel it is preferable.

    I would say that Hayley has a coaching style very different to mine. She consistently seems forceful, confrontational and opiniated – but I suspect the latter apllies to many of us ;^).  However I do not beleive she is a "one trick pony "- as it seems to me that as I’ve followed the series she has demonstrated "situational leadership" and altered her coaching approach to deal with the differening personalities she has encountered. I also believe she is passionate about what she does and appears to make a genuine, personal, emotional investment in helping the individual achieve their goal.

    Perhaps most relevant is that (so far) she has achieved excellent results. If I remain objective this is one of the most important criteria by which I should evaluate her. However I also think it important that in achieving results we should not leave those around us exploited or disrespected by our methods. In considering this aspect I feel the question is not whether I would be disrespected by the approach Hayley uses (evidence suggests she would alter it for me anyway), but whether the individual she was assisting felt that way. I think their ultimate reactions in the programmes I’ve seen to date suggest they find the intervention a hugely positive experience.

    On balance I quite like Hayley and the phrase "If it works don’t knock it" comes most readily to mind.


    — Pete Nyland Development & Training Consultant Compass Professional Development

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Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

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