Elizabeth's voice - Work after redundancy
Elizabeth talks about her journey back into fulfilling work after being made redundant seven years ago.
After being made redundant in 2014, Elizabeth struggled to find a suitable role, which she thinks was partly due to her age and managing a disability.
In January 2018, at the age of 50, Elizabeth became unemployed for the third time in her career. She had been working as a Legal Administrator but believed it was not quite right, and the commute was taking a toll on her health. Before this she had been in and out of work for four years after being made redundant from her job as an Administrator for an exam board in 2014.
Elizabeth had worked for the exam board for 28 years before she was made redundant seven years ago, and she felt her age and disability played a role in her redundancy. Elizabeth is blind in one eye and managing deteriorating hearing, which means that using the telephone can be a challenge and she relies heavily on lipreading.
“I tried to stay on there as that was the only place I had worked. But there were elements of when trying to progress that I was pushed to one side due to the fact I could not use the telephone,” she says.
Elizabeth found the subsequent job-hunting experience demoralising but was determined to persevere, though she suspected her age and disability may have been a barrier during the recruitment process.
With some roles that I applied for I think there was a reluctance to engage with me despite me having the right skills and knowledge to do the job. Having a disability as well certainly played a part.
“With many of the jobs that I have applied, very often it was rejected outright, sometimes not even an acknowledgement to say that they have received your CV or application.
“I was aware that most employers went for younger people because it was cheaper labour, and recruiters would have seen my educational achievements and how long I worked for one employer in the CV.
“With some roles that I applied for I think there was a reluctance to engage with me despite me having the right skills and knowledge to do the job. Having a disability as well certainly played a part.”
Elizabeth’s coach at the Jobcentre thought she would be a good candidate for the Ingeus Working Well (Work and Health Programme) which provides support for unemployed people with health conditions or disabilities. Through the programme Elizabeth successfully found an apprenticeship position and has been there for the past two years.
Initially Elizabeth faced barriers with the use of technology to connect with colleagues working remotely and meeting with people from different regions but she found ways to work around this.
“I was able to use Microsoft Lync like a chat function to contact the team as we were working remotely some of the time.
“Face-to-face meetings had their own set of challenges for hearing and lipreading but colleagues were happy to answer any questions or to clarify something that I have not understood.”
The role was a brand new one within the company so she received on the job training to develop her skills and she will gain a Business Studies Level 3 qualification at the end of her contract.
“I am enjoying my role and learning new skills, also discovering some of the skills that I have improved as I gained more confidence. There is regular contact with my line manager and progress is outlined with objectives to allow me to grow and achieve my goals. I am happy to have a job, as I want to carry on working for as long as I can.”