ZOIS was famous, in its own little way, for the now defunct Jobcentre Plus Mirror. The UK Government’s Public Employment Service is known by the moniker ‘Jobcentre Plus’ and its online presence is currently known as Universal Jobmatch or Jobsearch Direct, depending upon the variable branding that they use. It’s the third inception of web-interface for this system and while it has its uses, it, like its predecessors, fails to address the traditional needs of looking for a job relatively close to home. It seems to revel in displaying jobs from far, far, away, often with posting dates some considerable time in the past.
The Jobcentre Plus Mirror was written in an indignant local response to the closure of the local Jobcentre Plus office, called the Jobcentre Plus Mirror Database. It aimed to provide vacancy data in a timely and better manner than the official site and by degrees expanded nationally. It depended upon scraping the official site and then providing a more useful web interface; RSS, JSON, e-mail feeds and a bulk download. With the advent of the latest version of this Government site, we’ve been asked to stop. What’s left is a neutered example showing, in part, what it used to look like. It’s based on a sample database of out-of-date vacancy data, about 100,000 records in size.
It was our belief that nationally searching a particular Jobcentre office’s vacancies yielded better local results than the official efforts.
You can see how this worked with the Examplar by searching for your local Jobcentre office. From there a cornucopia of out-of-date no-longer live vacancies awaits. Hopefully you’ll get the idea.
Find your local office:
Example: “chester” or “CH1“.
We also produced a generalised search. Try typing this kind of query: something in somewhere. Everything’s optional. Experiment!
Example: “painters or plumbers in wakefield“.
Please send feedback about these searches.
Originally this was work done in a response to the closure of the local Jobcentre Plus office, here in Cockermouth. Curiosity and the odd bit of positive feedback saw it expanded nationally and include the whole of the UK. Vacancy details were scraped off various web-sites and stored as a set of files that could be downloaded from our ftp site. These efforts appeared to have some kind of grudging official approval, for it was used extensively by both the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) internally, and by a number of subcontractors to the DWP, who needed feeds of vacancies for their work, for example with recidivist offenders in the Justice system.
The latest web-site, Universal Jobmatch, specifically bans the acquisition and use of Job Vacancy data by third-parties, and we’ve had this confirmed in an e-mail exchange. Forced to close this resource, we’re left with a Technology Demonstrator, now known as the Jobcentre Plus Examplar so you can see what it looked like in its pomp.
The word ‘Examplar’ is an archaic spelling of ‘Exemplar’, a model presented as an example. At least that’s what my dictionary says.