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The use of flail mowers?

In recent weeks, the government has been setting out its policy of getting some of the long term unemployed to do unpaid work.
I think that learning to do hedge laying and some other rural crafts could be the way forward. I say this because surely, taking some pride in your work must be far more appealing than some of the demeaning tasks that they might be put to. Having seen a newly laid hedge, I know what I'd rather do. If this sort of scheme was adopted, it would be something worth doing for all the parties concerned.It would benefit  wildlife, give farmers good stock proof fencing and most importantly, the unemployed would gain skills and hopefully a sense of purpose.
In the meantime, because time and rural crafts are so time consuming, most of our hedges are massacred by flail mowers.
old ploughman

Bodger I have some sympathy with your argument, however, my experience of training the majority (not all!) of the people likely to be on this couse is that they will have little interest in the subject, will likely want to keep disappearing to roll a joint or get a fix on whatever potion they are on and will probably not even show up on day 2. I know I am tarring all with a very wide brush, but that is my actual experience. You cannot believe how mind numblingly disheartening it is trying to instill enthusiasm and being met with blank faces and indifference. I really wish I could be more positive.

With regard to your comment on flail hedgetrimmers - the worst thing that has happened in the countryside over the last few years is the move to cutting hedges every 2 or 3 years. When cut properly with a flail - taking off just this years growth (trimming not thrashing) - the hedge is a far better habitat for small birds having a thick bushy growth of thorns etc to give them protection against predators. Hedges that are cut back every 2 or 3 years quickly become open and provide less shelter for stock and wildlife.

As a hedgelayer myself I agree that hedges should be laid reguarly to give a good stockproof hedge which supports a variety of wildlife but the subsequent management of the hedge is not adversely affected by a flail trimmer as long as the operator is competent and able to trim the hedge rather than massacre it



If the UK's unemployed are like the unemployed over here, they are not interested in learning a skill they would rather sit on their arse with a ciggy in one hand and a beer in the other, moaning about how little money they receieve on the dole.

If they are on top level benifit they will recieve about 1744 quid a month, not bad for sitting on your arse.

A checkout lady a the supermarket will be earning about 1976, so you tell me, where is the incentive to work.

border don't know where are but that sounds just like here and some don't want a job because they couldn't live on the wages, so much less that their dole

I have very mixed feelings about this latest policy towards using the unemployed on schemes such as this. Community programme: for those unemployed for more than 6 months worked very well in the East Midlands 25 years ago, Clearing overgrown church yards, repainting community centres, clearing wood land, reinstating footpaths, etc. even moving old graves for a road development, which also included training courses on Hedge laying, chainsaw operating, and first aid. There were a minority who rolled their joints, smoked their pot and got stoned, or didn't turn up, but by and large the scheme worked.

Next door to my Workshop is the Community Service Gardening and Landscaping project. This project is for newly released prisoners, those not bad enough to receive a prison sentence, and those on probation. This is a very successfully scheme in that the attendance rate is in excess of 90%, with a similar high percentage achieving NVQ 2 in gardening along with basic health & safety and first aid courses. Yes, there is the odd skiving stoner amongst them, but the majority get on with it and obtain their qualifications and their work experience, with most of them then being assigned to genuine industrial work placements.

Do I and my business experience problems with them .... actually no. In fact they often help me when I have a steel delivery, unloading the steel and setting it on my racks. Some of you here on OTG may even remember my positive experiences with the Community Service work crews when I had to move from one allotment to an other due to a council error. So in my opinion Community Service work and training crews do work for the benefit of the attendees, the community and for society.

Will the new Community Programme for the unemployed work? No, I don't think that it will. To start with a large percentage of these people will not respond to authority, will not be good time keepers, are actually more aggressive than those assigned by the courts, and resent being assigned to work for their benefits almost to the point of being uncontrollable, and I for one would not like them walking around in public with axes, billhooks and sickles.

Why is there such a significant differences between what should be two similar if not identical schemes .... .... .... the answer is management; purely and simply how the schemes are managed and conducted.

The Community service (offenders) project works because it is extremely well managed at all levels. It's board of trustees are mainly retired commercial or industrial managers, with a retired physiatrist as CEO, and so due consideration is taken with all decisions. However, there is also incentive within the scheme for the attendees (let's put aside the possibility of additional court appearances. custodial sentences and revoked early release licences). The workers on this scheme are permitted self advancement within the scheme to positions of charge hands, gang supervisors, and day to day administrators, even internal quality controllers. This project is actually making money as well, because after initial training the attendees are then given placements on the commercial gardening crews which do work on factory sites, the airport perimeter (not "air side"), the smaller village sewage works etc. even private gardens.

One of the Community Programme schemes (unemployed placements from the Jobcentre) is based 6 doors from my unit and this scheme does not work. It is extremely poorly managed by Civil servants using fashionable words, ticking boxes and submitting forms, many of the attendees only occasionally turn up .... mainly to make their mark to get paid their benefits. There is little if no incentive for advancement within the scheme, and virtually no training. They are also disruptive towards the other tenants of the site, including me, and often just wander in to the other businesses including mine as though it is a God given right, then getting mouthy or aggressive if asked to leave (there is one particular individual who is going to receive a face full sparks from an Angle grinder of mine very soon).

As neighbours I would much rather have the "naughty girls and boys" on Community Service who are actually trying to make a difference in their lives. OK, so I inflate the odd tyre, help fix the odd bike, change the odd car wheel, etc. for them; but they also help me move large pieces or long lengths of steel, and all of them seem to have a brighter outlook on life which that sense of positive purpose and achievement gives to them.

I know the sort the you are talking about Ploughman but some would jump at the opportunity, if we could save just a small percentage from their vegative state, then it would be worth it.
I was listening to an interview the other day and it basically said that the individuals who didn't want work, would get around the horror of usefull labourit by interviewing with prospective employees extremely badly. Turning up to interviews drunk was one stunt that they were pulling.

Those members of the unemployed population who want to get on are already doing something about: volunteering for various community projects  and charities, pounding the streets actively seeking employment, attending the various return to work schemes, and using the many facilities available to them.

Dare I say it; this country desperately needs a "National Social service" something akin to the post war "National service."

I am in no way suggesting the supply of conscripted cannon fodder for our armed services but a scheme that begins to address problems stemming from our education system, and which then run on into society in general. Something along the lines of an extended "Skills for Life" program (another Gov't program that is currently not working to it's full potential). We need to install basic; manners, discipline, literacy and numeracy and many of the other necessary life skills into these people, and if that means a 6-12 month boot type camp environment, then so be it. After all the ranks of the unemployed are about assailed with people who are already trained and experienced in these matters, and the country already has the necesary facilities and infrastructure.

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