Employment and careers
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How can I improve my prospects?

Zebra88Zebra88 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
edited October 2018 in Employment and careers
Hi

Bit of background first but ultimately I am looking at how I can put my skills and knowledge to good use?

I have worked in various jobs and always found it easy to find employment in the advice sector. I worked for a local council, citizens advice and also DWP as well as private companies. I have a lot of knowledge and often help other people out with affairs as well as having a disability myself. I was recently working for DWP but commuting for well over 6hrs a day and with the recent train problems I just couldn't fulfil my hours and get home safely every day. I can't afford to work part time at the moment. As a reasonable adjustment (no access to work funding for department employees) they were willing to pay £800 per week for taxis. I also can't drive to my disability. Unfortunately this meant getting multiple quotes from local taxi firms and also paying for the taxis upfront while I waited for the fares to be reimbursed through expenses which would take minimum 5 working days and that's if my manager was in to approve them. First of all I was finding it impossible to find a wheelchair taxi driver to pick me up at 5am, sit in rush hour traffic for hours and come back and do the same later on. Or at least anyone who was willing to provide receipts. They kept looking at me suspiciously when i said i would need proof of payment lol. Not only that but when I did find someone and they wanted so much money I didn't have any access to funds to pay over £800 out even though it would be reimbursed eventually. My employer unsurprisingly offered no solutions but did say I could reduce my hours which like I've said would not be suitable for me and with the state of public transport over the summer I would still be having the same problems as I was massively behind on flexi time due to cancelled trains. I waited for an assisted transfer for over 8 months until the point where I could physically not get into work as so many trains were cancelled I was getting in and having to leave again a couple of hours later by the time a train and assistance was available. I got some free travel passes from Northern a week after I had to leave my job as the stress of it all was making me physically ill. I didn't feel as though the transport company or my MP really grasped how badly the rail chaos affected someone who couldn't just cram onto a packed train when it decided to turn up. After one week of the problems I realised I would lose my job if it wasn't sorted out.

I have now had to make a claim for benefit. I have no doubts that I would be out into the support group of ESA as I can't use a self propelled wheelchair to move at all. It's just I WANT to work. When I tried to claim JSA years ago I was told to claim ESA. When I went to my work focused interview the advisor was so unhelpful and basically told me to claim oow benefit that he was actually my inspiration for wanting to work within DWP. I thought I could do a better job XD

I have an interview tomorrow at my local council after passing my phone interview today but I've never been to an interview in a wheelchair before. I'm terrified that they will write me off as a pain in the bum before they get chance to see how good I am. I plan to do a social welfare law degree when I find a new job but I've kind of placed all my eggs on one basket with this job and I'm getting exasperated at how difficult it's going to be to prove I am able. I also have weekly hospital treatments which I haven't disclosed yet but could be a problem as it's a temp contract but on paper they can't say why they would let me go but let's be honest it does happen.

Has anyone any advice on what other things I could do to improve my prospects? JC advisor couldn't offer any training or anything as I already have a strong background. He told me to just keep applying at the council as a private sector employer is unlikely to make the right adjustments. I am also limited to jobs in my local town which is a pain but I know what my limitations are from the last experience.

Replies

  • Zebra88Zebra88 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    edited October 2018
    I might also add that I did get offered a job recently but was scuppered by DWP. I had to give the references and part of the policy within the organisation I wanted to work for was that a non response to a reference request is treated as a non recommendation. It turns out DWP shared services just never responded to the request despite me sending the reference permission slip to them. Im worried this is going to happen again but I have to give their details as my most recent employer. For anyone who thinks that employees are treated any differently to claimants with regards to the departments indifference over important matters you would be wrong. I think my landlord is still waiting for a reference from 3 years ago but let the place to me as good will. I dont know how to address this problem except from being completely honest about the fact they may not respond.
  • Ren_ScopeRen_Scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 24 Courageous
    Hello @Zebra88

    I'm sorry to hear you are going though a difficult time.

    Without looking at your CV or talking to you at length it is difficult to advise you on exactly what roles you could apply for, however It may be an idea to sign up to our Support to Work programme.  We are a 12 week digital service, so all your appointments will be either via Skype or on the phone, as long as you have access to a computer and the internet, I'm sure we will be able to assign you to an advisor who will talk you through your options.

    If this is something you would be interested in, then follow this link to sign up and someone will be in touch shortly:

    https://my.scope.org.uk/supporttowork/?_ga=2.257782024.2012890925.1540219475-51014583.1525963952

    Thanks,

    Ren

    Ren
    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
    Email: [email protected]
    www.scope.org.uk/supporttowork
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