Tony came to Into Work for support because his mental health as well as his age were barriers to finding a job. Tony was in his sixties and had been unemployed for 20 years, having been made redundant from his last job, and felt he experienced prejudice from employers for having been out for work for a long time.
He was anxious about moving off benefits and into employment as he was so reliant on them for security. He was scared to take up employment because of what it could mean for his benefits income and his financial wellbeing.
The full story
Having been out of work for so long, Tony struggled with adapting to some of the changes in recruitment processes since he was last in work. He lacked digital skills and was unable to job search online which was a further barrier to finding and securing work.
His adviser supported him to develop his IT skills, helping him set up an email account for sending correspondence to employers. His adviser also provided support to complete his UC journal and fulfil his work-related requirements.
Our welfare rights officer also advised Tony about his benefit entitlements. He helped him to receive housing benefits, as Tony had been missing out on £400 a month that was available to him. This helped ease some of his fears about how employment would affect his current level of finances.
Tony found job interviews difficult as he struggled to articulate himself. It was important to find ways to allow him to show employers his skills, and to persevere in finding employers who could be open and accommodating, which included asking for a work trial rather than an interview. When this was not possible, he requested interview questions in advance as a reasonable adjustment so his adviser could help him to prepare. Together they went over interview techniques, and his adviser sat in on interviews with Tony to support and prompt him.
He applied to the No One Left Behind fund, a City of Edinburgh Council incentive for people over the age of 25 who had been out of work for at least a year. This scheme generated paid work placements that could lead to a full-time job. His adviser linked in with the Council to go through the process of disclosing a disability and spoke to them about what adjustments Tony would need. He also helped Tony to fill out the form to receive the PVG clearance required for the job.
Upon being offered an interview, Tony’s adviser was able to arrange for this to be more informal and less competency-based, which allowed Tony to express himself in the best way.
He is now working for Scottish Veterans Residences as a kitchen assistant, reporting to the chef. Having been out of work for so long he felt resigned to never having a job again, so getting this role was a nice surprise for him.
Tony’s story shows that whilst there can be stigma around age, he did not feel defeated, and that with the support he received he was able to get back into the workplace and have a career again.