The Jobcentre Plus Examplar
Jobcentre Plus is a UK government inspired set of offices where job vacancies are advertised and the unemployed may access services both to claim benefits and aid their return to gainful employment. This has been, in time, augmented by a number fairly useless web-site which has now on its third revamp and is current named "Universal Jobmatch" or "Jobsearch Direct", depending upon which branding you believe.
While the current official
site 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 Now Defunct Jobcentre Plus Mirror
|Show us how it's done|
Fuelled by indignation, curiosity and the occasional bit of feedback, a scraper system evolved, which allowed an FTP feed of Jobcentre Plus jobs. By degrees a web-interface, e-mail, Twitter, RSS and JSON feeds were added to this. It all had a some sort of 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.
This all ended with the much-delayed introduction of Universal
Jobmatch, for the terms and conditions specifically forbade this
activity, confirmed later in an e-mails exchange. It was sadly the end for the Jobcentre Plus Mirror
The Replacement Jobcentre Plus Examplar
Rather than just pull all the web-site pages that dealt with the Jobcentre Plus Mirror, I thought I'd re-purpose them with example data, so people could explore the 'Find' mechanism at least. Thus the Jobcentre Plus Examplar was conceived to showcase this technology.
'Navigation', elsewhere on this page, provides search interfaces.
The Examplar consists of a large, representative, but out-of-date block of 100,000 vacancies from the old system. There are two interfaces to explore this data, a generalised 'Find' and a mechanism to locate and display a particular Jobcentre offices' vacancies. It was felt that an office based browsing was better geographically than some other approaches.
The name 'Examplar' is deliberately spelt like that. According to
my dictionary it is an archaic spelling of 'exemplar', a model
presented as an example.
Vacancy Details Display
So that all the links scattered throughout the Internet are not
broken, the display of vacancy details by reference is still supported
on all the data scraped since the Jobcentre Plus Mirror's inception. As
is the use of the URL shortening
system, beloved of some on Twitter. Using zois.com will, however, get you the
All the vacancy data displayed in this Demonstration system must be considered out-of-date and expired.
This is vaguely another Technology
Demonstrator. It is wholly dependent on the Jobcentre Plus and
lately the Jobseekers Direct web-sites for content. It's their content
and although they don't actually state it, it's probably their
copyright too (so we accept no liability for the content). If anybody
is unhappy about the subject-matter of this Demonstrator let us know
and we'll happily take it off-line.
Older Updates are now archived.
- Universal Jobmatch Now Scraped
- Universal Jobmatch have recently changed their Terms and Conditions (T&Cs). This replacement to Jobseekers Direct did not allow scraping and this was why the JCPM was closed. The new T&Cs do allow scraping so this has recommenced to a limited degree. You can follow this in the Blog using the UJM tag. 2012-03-01
- The Mirror is Now The Exampler
- The now-defunct Jobcentre Mirror has been extensively reworked to allow the technology to be demonstrated on old out-of-date data. 2012-12-21
- Twitter Explanation Moved
- A number of experiments are on-going with the Twitter micro-blogging system. These were documented here, but are now to be found on own page. 2011-11-14.
- Northern Ireland FTP Feeds Removed
- The Department of Education and Learning in Northern Ireland (DELNI) run Jobcentre Online, Northern Ireland's own Jobcentre system. For the sake of completeness, this used to be scraped and the data provided as an FTP feed, much like the rest of the JCP Mirror. Sadly, DELNI have recently introduced Captchas and a series of draconian Terms and Conditions. We've therefore stopped scraping their web-site and withdrawn the FTP feed. Please contact us should you wish to discuss alternatives. 2011-11-01.
- Overseas Office Renamed
- When we started scraping, the Jobs coming from the then Jobcentre Plus web-site were apparently confined to England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland had its own separate system. We've only recently noted this, but the central Sheffield office, at Cavendish Court, has been responsible for a number of overseas vacancies. These are being posted with their own Office Code, so we've renamed it as Overseas Office so that searching is more accurate. It is interesting to see what's posted there and worth a little exploration, particularly if you're from Northern Ireland and not getting any joy from the Official DELNI site. 2011-06-07.
- SOC Codes Appear, We Use Them
- Sometime over the weekend, we think, Jobseekers Direct made one or
two changes to their web-site. While it didn't break the scraper the
changes do look significant. One of the changes is the introduction of
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a magic number that kind-of defines a Job. This information was captured by the Jobcentre system, but not disseminated, but now it is. So, we're scraping it, and they now appear on the end of the CSV FTP dump. In addition we're putting a short description of a vacancies SOC Code on the Details page, together with a 'search for similar nearby' link. The usual caveats and feedback requests apply. 2011-05-31.
- RSS Feed on the New Search Interface
- As you can read, we've a newish search interface that allows you to enter queries like "plumber in carlisle" and it will have a stab at truly finding Plumber jobs in Carlisle. Somewhat belatedly we've added an RSS feed for this. It means that you can effectively have this query run in background for you, on a frequent, automatic basis, and it'll update your favourite RSS/News reader with the vacancies you're interested in. From there you can generally explore the details with a more conventional web-browser. Our favourite, by the way, is Stefan Handschuh's SparseRSS on our fancy little Android 'phone. 2011-03-08.
- Problems in Providing 'Original' Data
- All part of the service, we provide a little function to get you to the original Jobseekers Direct posting. It's not as easy as it sounds and sometimes it goes a little hay wire. But it's fixed now. 2011-02-01.
Thank you for your interest.