Coachloads of jobless people were brought in to work unpaid on the river pageant as part of the Work Programme. Some of those hired as stewards had to spend the night before the pageant sleeping under London Bridge.
In France, there are 70,000 unfilled jobs in the digital sector – specialist academies are turning 'dropouts' into developers.
Job vacancies in Friesing, near Munich airport, mean that even school-leavers with no qualifications are in demand.
Hiring and firing needs to be easier, but as part of a reframed social settlement – not as a standalone attack on workers' rights.
The bureaucracies supposed to help jobless people back into work are often little more than gatekeepers to the benefits systems.
The government’s Budget 2012 has just been revealed. The headlines have focused on the so-called 'Granny Tax', but what will the budget mean for unemployed and economically inactive people?