Britons try online job quiz after Sunak said unemployed could retrain

‘It’s suggested I become a professional boxer… I’m 57’: Britons raise their eyebrows at suggestions from government’s online skills assessment after Rishi Sunak suggested people retrain if they lose jobs to Covid

  • Several creatives took to Twitter to share results of their 15-minute questionnaire
  • Playwright was told she would be suited to a career in manufacturing industry 
  • Musician, 57, was also suggested career as ‘sports professional’, boxer or referee
  • The rush to take the quiz was prompted by an ITV News interview with Mr Sunak
  • Suggested that people should retrain and find new employment if they lose work

Hard-hit workers in Britain’s creative industries have flocked to the Government’s online ‘skills assessment’ quiz for new career recommendations after Rishi Sunak suggested people should retrain if they lose jobs to Covid.

Several creatives – including actors, authors and theatre directors – took to Twitter to share the outcomes of their 15-minute questionnaire.

Some had surprising results, including a playwright who was told she would be suited to a career in the manufacturing industry and a magazine editor who was advised to be a ‘boxer’.

A 57-year-old musician was also told a career as a ‘sports professional’, a boxer or a referee would be a good fit, prompting her to label the quiz ‘pretty useless’ because it doesn’t ask for a person’s age.

The rush to take the quiz was prompted by an ITV News interview with Mr Sunak, in which he suggested that people should retrain and find new employment if they lose work due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing restrictions.

Hard-hit workers in Britain’s creative industries have flocked to the Government’s online ‘skills assessment’ quiz (pictured) for new career recommendations after Rishi Sunak suggested people should retrain if they lose jobs to Covid

The rush to take the quiz was prompted by an ITV News interview with Mr Sunak (pictured), in which he suggested that people should retrain and find new employment if they lose work due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing restrictions

The Chancellor was asked:  ‘If you’re a professional musician, what is your message right now? If they can’t earn enough money to live, is your message for them, you’re going to have to get another job?

Mr Sunak said: ‘It’s a very sad time, three quarters of a million people have already lost their jobs, we know that and that is likely to increase and many more people will.

‘I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job they were doing at the beginning of this crisis and that’s why we’ve put a lot of our extra resource into trying to create new opportunities for people’.

He added that people should get ‘that fresh and new opportunity’.

ITV tweeted a video clip of the interview out with a headline suggesting Mr Sunak was specifically talking about arts employees.

Mr Sunak refuted that claim, saying he was talking about employment generally. 

But even so, disgruntled arts workers flocked to the careers assesment to see what path they could take instead. 

The assessment on the Government’s National Careers Service website asks participants to say how strongly they agree with fewer than 50 statements (some pictured)

The quiz generates various sectors that person might be suited for based on the answers given. The participant can then click on one of these sectors, take a few more questions to discover what role in particular would suit them (some examples pictured)

The National Careers Service website states it will take the participant between five and ten minutes to complete the quiz

The assessment on the Government’s National Careers Service website asks participants to say how strongly they agree with fewer than 50 statements.

These include ‘I am comfortable telling other people what to do’ and ‘I like to take control of situations’

The quiz – which the website states will take the participant between five and ten minutes – then generates various sectors that person might be suited for based on the answers given.

These include ‘manufacturing’, ‘creative and media’ and ‘sports and leisure’.

The participant can then click on one of these sectors, take a few more questions to discover what role in particular would suit them. 

Children’s book author James Mayhew was told he could be an actor, copy editor or commissioning editor.

Along with sharing his results, he wrote: ‘Obviously my work in theatres has dried up and in publishing much is postponed. 

‘Never mind! The government have made a “skills assessor” so you can do what Rishi Sunak told us to do, and train for a new job. It told me I should be an actor or editor.’

Author and screenwriter Nikesh Shukla was told he could either enter the wildly different ‘creative and media’ or ‘construction and trades’ industries as he slammed the questions ‘so vague’.

Several creatives – including actors, authors and theatre directors – took to Twitter to share the outcomes of their 15-minute questionnaire

Playwright Emily Holyoake shared her results along with the caption: ‘Can’t wait to start my new life in manufacturing.’ 

Several people where told to enter the sporting world.

Associate Editor of magazine Vice Ryan Bassil wrote: ‘So the government have released a beta website telling people in the arts what they could retrain as and this is what I got. A boxer? In this economy?’

An example of some jobs the careers quiz can suggest to participants after they answer the questions

Musician Catherine Rose said the quiz told her she could enjoy being a ‘sports professional’, a boxer or a referee. 

She wrote: ‘I’m 57 years old. Of course they don’t ask your age, which makes it pretty useless.’ 

Meanwhile, some people were told to go into industries where they already worked.

Actor Darren Lawrence was told he was best suited to being an actor – among other creative roles – in his results.

Journalist Dawn Foster was told she should be a commissioning editor or a newspaper or magazine editor. 

Musicians and artists have criticised Mr Sunak for his suggestion.

Actor Darren Lawrence was told he was best suited to being an actor – among other creative roles – in his results

Children’s book author James Mayhew was told he could be an actor, copy editor or commissioning editor

Multi-millionaire musicians Liam Gallagher, Badly Drawn Boy joined former Bake Off host Sue Perkins and crime writer Ian Rankin to slam Mr Sunak’s remarks.

The outraged arts employees demanded more government handouts to support musicians and prevent them having to find viable alternative employment – despite millions of Britons across the country facing losing their jobs to the coronavirus crisis.

Unemployment is forecast to hit 7.5 per cent – 2.6million people – and the entertainers’ demands for special treatment will anger ordinary working Britons in other sectors that have been devastated by the pandemic such as travel and hospitality.

The government’s furlough scheme ends at the end of October, having already cost the taxpayer £60bn and sending public debt soaring and leaving the country on course for its biggest budget deficit since World War Two. 

The furlough scheme will be replaced by Job Support Scheme which will support businesses that can only afford to pay some employees part time. 

The arts sector has already received more than £1.57bn in support from the government, while across all sectors 750,000 people of all professions have lost their jobs. 

The arts face further hardship as the government enforces stricter restrictions to try and halt rising coronavirus cases – backed by many voices on the left who want to prioritise controlling the virus at the expense of helping Britain’s economy recover and saving jobs. 

Liam Gallagher was infuriated by the remarks and said Mr Sunak and MPs should retrain too

Musicians and artists are amongst the hardest hit by social distancing restrictions and Mr Sunak has been fighting to minimise the economic impact of rules such as the 10pm pub curfew which he has called ‘frustrating’.

One dance choreographer fumed: ‘I already have a degree and 19 years experience in the industry I trained to be in, why would I consider now retraining to be something completely different? And also start from scratch on a new pay ladder!?’

TV presenter Sue Perkins wrote: ‘The arts contributes in the region of 10 billion a year to our economy. The people who work in it have already trained long and hard, thank you. This is shameful.’

Author Ian Rankin said: ‘Without the arts, our lives are impoverished. This is nuts,’ said Scottish author Ian Rankin. 

Gallagher fumed: ‘So the dopes in gov telling musicians and people in arts to retrain and get another job what and become massive c**** like you nah yer alright c’mon you know LG x

‘This country would be beyond w*** if it wasn’t for the arts and the music and football show a bit of respect you little TURD cmon you know LG x.

Tweets from celebrities and members of the public did not think Mr Sunak had been fair

 ‘If anyone needs to retrain it’s them shower of C**** c’mon you know LG x.’ 

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree – who is also a Labour councillor – said on Twitter: ‘What a stupid thing to say. The ‘arts’ earn over £100bn for the UK each year. £13million an hour. It’s one area where we really are world beating.’ 

Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess said: ‘Maybe some MPs should retrain, as they aren’t really doing their job anyway.’

And Badly Drawn Boy had his own proposal on the best way forward, proposing ‘I suggest Rishi shoves my records up his a***!’

One man learning an instrument said he feared that the medium of music would be lost forever by the chancellor’s comments.

He said: ‘Music teacher just made a boss point when i told him what Rishi Sumac (SIC) said.

‘Hope he turns on the radio one day and it’s just white noise because there’s no musicians left.’ 

Mr Sunak’s comments were made to ITV News and answered questions on what struggling workers were expected to do in the pandemic. 

Asked specifically about ‘fabulous musicians and artists and actors’ he said while there was work in the creative industries some may need to adapt.

Earlier he had admitted ‘I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of this crisis’.

The comments enraged the music and arts community who vented at the idea of having to retrain.

He said: ‘I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of this crisis.

‘That’s why we’ve put a lot of resource into trying to create new opportunities.’

 The furlough scheme is set to be replaced by the  Job Support Scheme, under which the government will subsidise workers so they can pick up 77 per cent of their usual wages for doing as little as a third of regular hours.

Under the new system employees’ wages receive a maximum subsidy of 22 per cent from the Treasury, depending on how many hours they work.

But firms must pick up the additional 55 per cent, compared to 20 per cent under furlough.

It has sparked fears that many businesses will simply lay staff off instead of taking it up.

Employers are obliged to notify government when they plan to make 20 or more staff redundant in any single ‘establishment’ using an HR1 Advance Notice of Redundancy form. 

However, they often make fewer positions redundant than the number they initially notify.

Rishi and ITV News: Did Chancellor say arts workers should retrain?

INTERVIEWER DANIEL HEWITT: You’ve said you want to save as many jobs as possible, but you can’t save every job. It appears in some sectors you’re not trying very hard. For musicians, actors, directors, freelancers in the arts, they say you’ve not helped them at all. Where is the help for those businesses, those jobs , for those people in those industries who simply can’t work?

RISHI SUNAK: In the cultural sector a few months ago we outlined £1.5billion cultural recovery programme. That money is now getting out the door, it’s being administered by the Arts Council and other bodies, I think money’s gone to independent cinemas and independent music venues just in the last week. That’s £1.5billion, it’s an enormous amount of support to preserve our important cultural institutions in all our local town centres and elsewhere and with regard to those who are self-employed, between two and a half and three million people have been able to access our self-employed support scheme, many of the people you mentioned will be able to do that and it remains one of the most comprehensive and generous support programmes for those who are self-employed anywhere in the world.

INTERVIEWER: If you’re a professional musician, what is your message right now? If they can’t earn enough money to live, is your message for them, you’re going to have to get another job?

RISHI SUNAK: I think as I’ve said, my simple message to everybody is that we are trying to do everything we can to protect as many jobs as possible.

INTERVIEWER: But they don’t think you are. In that sector, they just don’t think you are, Chancellor.

RISHI SUNAK: It’s a very sad time, three quarters of a million people have already lost their jobs, we know that and that is likely to increase and many more people will. I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job they were doing at the beginning of this crisis and that’s why we’ve put a lot of our extra resource into trying to create new opportunities for people, so our kickstart scheme for example for young people who are most at risk of becoming unemployed, all the way up to the age of 24 ,are going to benefit from a fully funded job placement

INTERVIEWER: But that’s a different job isn’t it, that’s you saying go and get a different job

RISHI SUNAK: That fresh and new opportunity for people, that’s exactly what we should be doing

INTERVIEWER: But we’re a country that has created so many fabulous musicians and artists and actors and you’re effectively saying ‘Look, I know it’s hard, but maybe go and get another job’.

RISHI SUNAK: I think you’re probably not quite right that there’s no work available for any of them at all

INTERVIEWER: For a lot of them, there isn’t

RISHI SUNAK: In all walks of life everyone is having to adapt, I’m getting emails and seeing how theatre companies are adapting and putting on different kids of performances, it is possible to do theatrical performances online as well and for people to engage with them that way and for new business models to emerge, plenty of music lessons are still carrying on , the same thing happens, certainly in my household and elsewhere. So yes can things happen in exactly the way they did, no, but everyone is having to find ways to adapt and adjust to the new reality, and that’s what we all have to do, and that’s why we are allowing that to happen and also providing new opportunity for people if that’s the right vehicle for them.

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