Father’s job search hell

Unemployed Bryan Thorpe outside Lancaster Job Centre based in Mitre House.
Unemployed Bryan Thorpe outside Lancaster Job Centre based in Mitre House.

Bryan Thorpe just wants to work.

But after applying for hundreds of jobs at Lancaster Job Centre, registering with agencies and even offering his time for free, the reality is he may have to leave his pregnant partner and children and go in search of work elsewhere.

The 36-year-old from the Vale in Lancaster is at his wits end with the Job Centre, which, he says, still advertises jobs despite them no longer being available.

Bryan said he applied for 55 jobs in the Job Centre in one morning, but each one had already been taken.

He said: “It’s just a nightmare.

“There are jobs available, but it’s usually care work, and if you’re not qualified that’s out of the question.

“In one morning I applied for all 55 jobs, but when they were checked, none of them were available.”

Bryan was on incapacity benefit for around five years following a serious road traffic collision, but went back on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) around two years ago.

He found work at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on a freelance self employed basis, but the contract was short term, and he was soon back looking for work again, and has not re-claimed JSA, due to not having a registered address.

He says that the cost of travel means he can’t get a job in Blackpool or Preston to earn a living because he can’t afford to get there in the first place.

He studied catering at college and has done labouring jobs since then.

“With Christmas around the corner, it’s getting to the point where I might actually have to leave my partner and the children, and go and stay with my parents in Wales where there seems to be more work going,” he said.

It’s affecting me really badly, to the point where I’ve registered with the community mental health team.

“I’ve got a son and a step son and my partner is expecting again.

“I’ve even said I’d work for nothing for a week as a trial, but you can’t even do that.

“I’m at the Job Centre every day, or on the internet looking at everything.

“I’m sending out applications, CVs, it’s just crazy.

“I just want to do anything, I’m not bothered what it is, as long as it pays the bills.”

Figures show that there were a total of 1,370 Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants at Lancaster Job Centre in August 2012, down from 1,458 in August 2011 but up from 1,345 in 2010.

Figures from the Nomis website, which lists labour market statistics for an area, also shows that there are currently 788 outstanding job vacancies in the Lancaster district.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We stop advertising vacancies as soon as the closing date, given to us by the employer, has passed.

“If no specific date has been given we keep the position open, until the employer tells us it has been filled, or for a maximum of four weeks.”