This month hasn't been the best for me.....

The work that I had is all coming to an end and I haven’t had any offers of more work. It’s so disheartening when things were going so well.

Apparently Job Centre Staff didn’t receive the memo on how the New Enterprise Allowance actually works. I went to the bank on my payday and it was empty, no NEA? Strange. So off I went to the local Job Centre, the first person I spoke to informed me that she wasn’t sure how the NEA worked and asked who was dealing with my claim. On telling her this she informed me that my adviser only worked part time and would be back in the following week and I could speak to her then because no one else at the office really knew anything about NEA.

As irate as I was I agreed and left my contact details with her in the hope that someone would get back to me. It’s a little degrading to be made to feel like you are begging for the measly £33 allowance, but there I was. Luckily that afternoon my advisor rang back and informed me that she was infact FULL TIME now, it’s funny none of the other staff seemed to know. She arranged for me to have an interview with her the following Friday and apologized.

Week 2 no money: I attended the interview on the friday and was told everything was in order and I was told that my money should restart within three days. Three days came and went, still no money. I called the Job Centre the following friday and got put through to a call handler who said that I was showing as employed on the system and therefore there was nothing he could do. 3 weeks without any NEA, I am starting to think that they intentionally make it as awkward as possible so no one tries to claim this allowance. It finally started again last week much to my amazement.

As for the rest of the month it hasn’t been the best, I really can’t carry on with the business as it is. I need to find a job so that I know I have a guaranteed wage at the end of every month, I have spent the last few weeks sending out CV after CV in the hope that someone will just reply, my covering letters are getting quirkier and quirkier in the hope that my CV will be more memorable than the other thousand on the employer’s desk. My most recent read:

“Fun Loving Vegetarian seeks retail position for clean and soapy fun” (For a well known Soap/ethical cosmetics firm)

Lets hope it made someone smile and maybe it will make them read my CV. I have loved this experience on the radio show and can only thank everyone involved. Especially Rosemary Parr who has been my mentor through this whole process, she has been fantastic I have spoken to her nearly every week, even when we haven’t been on air. She has given up her spare time to help me anyway she can.

Danielle meets her mentor Rosemary Parr

I intend to keep the business open and trading but I need a full time job in the meantime a guaranteed wage just incase the business doesn’t take off. I am going to keep my options open, keep trying to find a Supervising Solicitor and in the meantime keep sending CV’s and keep hoping that at some point I will get a call back for an interview. I’m also hoping that lessons will be learnt by the Job Centre and those disgruntled civil servants will receive the necessary training to make NEA an effective scheme. We’ll see…………………………

Thanks to everyone who’s followed.

This is a guest post from Danielle who took part in the 'NOISE Young & Jobless' radio documentary series, broadcast over 4 months on BBC 5Live in 2012. The programme followed four unemployed young people as they looked for work, hooking them up with mentors and advice on their journey. For more information about this project, the participants and mentors--see here--