Amanda was referred to Working Potential because after many years of caring for her husband, who suffers from dementia, she wanted to go back to work. Her 81-year-old husband’s condition was getting worse and Amanda had begun to worry about how she would live independently and provide for herself financially when all her benefits stopped
Prior to joining the Working Potential programme she had applied for a casual/bank staff catering position at a local hospital. She thought that this would be an ideal role as it was advertised as being flexible, could fit in with her existing care responsibilities and would utilise her previous work experience. Amanda was delighted to be shortlisted for interview and got very excited about the opportunity. Her excitement was short-lived however, as during the interview process, it became clear that the “flexibility” offered was all in favour of the employer.
Despite telling the employer that she was available every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday plus alternative weekends and could commit to up to 16 hours work per week, Amanda was told she would have to accept a zero-hour contract, be available at all times, and have to commit to at least 16 hours per week. This would not work for her due to her caring responsibilities and she would lose her Carers Allowance in weeks when there was no work. She discussed her personal circumstances, relevant work experience and qualifications with them, offering to work a couple of shifts each week for extra income as a stepping stone to possible future full-time employment when she was no longer caring. However, the employer was still unable to offer any flexibility in order to accommodate any of Amanda's reasonable requests.
Following her set back, Amanda has engaged with the Working Potential programme and has been attending 1-2-1 support sessions with her coach. She is accessing a confidence course and a basic IT/Computing Course at Bolton College. Both courses provide flexibility around her caring responsibilities.
With an updated CV and a newfound confidence and belief in herself, Amanda is now ready to search independently for work and to progress on her journey towards employment. Her message to employers is to “please be aware of how rejection of candidates is handled as this can have a big impact on a vulnerable person’s wellbeing”. Amanda feels it is especially important for health care providers - whose main role is to look after patients’ wellbeing - to act as a role model with their recruitment and working practices. This means adopting a more sensitive, flexible and carer-friendly approach.
We look forward to hearing some good news soon and wish Amanda continuing success on her journey.