Solway Views

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Mossbay and Salterbeck residents share their experiences of job searching and employment.
A research project in association with Lancaster University, Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council.


Mossbay and Salterbeck residents share their

experiences of job searching and employment











Improving Employment Opportunities

We are a group of local residents from Mossbay and Salterbeck working on a project with

Lancaster University, Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council.

We’ve been talking to local people of all ages to find out what it’s like to be looking for work

and we’ve also been talking to people who already have a job. We want to improve employment

opportunities for people round here.

The stories you’ll read in this booklet are real stories from real people living and working in this

area. We’re sharing our findings with the local authority, local employers and the NHS to help

them better understand this community and what it needs.

If you have a story you’d like to share with us, or you would like to join us for the next stage of

our project, please get in touch. Our contact details are on the back.

The hope is

diminshing with every

job I apply for... I’m

trying really hard

but it’s getting me


John’s Story

“I’m conditioned to work full time, it’s in my DNA but I was made redundant eight years ago and

I’ve only had temporary jobs and agency work since. I want a fulltime job.

“Before last Christmas I got a temporary job as a store assistant for four mths. I was doing

16 hours a week, basically three hours each afterno. We were told some of us might be kept on

but two wees before Christmas I was told I’d be finishing on Christmas Eve. In the end ne of

us were kept on. ow I got through those last two wees, I d’t now.

“I tried to put it to the back of my mind over Christmas but it really hit me when I went to the

JobCentre again in January. I’d left my C with them, maybe they’ll get back in touch, who nows

“Since then I’ve been looking right, left and centre. I d’t drive so that doesn’t help.

“Whenever I apply for a job it seems inevitable that I’m going to get a negative reply, or worse,

nothing at all. Most companies d’t even acknowledge your application.

“I’ve just put my C in at a local store because a friend of mine was leaving and she tipped me

o. But it’s getting more difficult. Many of the bigger stores are closing and there are more

people looking for the same jobs.”

John is still actively seeking employment. He’s secured one interview in the last twelve

mths. He didn’t get thejob.


ocal managers keeping records of locally available temporary workers

Improvements at a national policy level for larger employers

Ashleigh’s story

“amily connecs helped me get a job in hairdsing straight from ool. When I started 10

years ago I was lucky to get some work experience through ool but I d’t think there is much

work experience in this area anymore.

“I leave the house at 6.50am, take the twins to a private nursery from where they’re taken to

ool. Mostly I d’t get back until 8.30pm and then they’re in bed.

“I’m a good distance away from the kids if anything happens during the day. I d’t drive and

it takes two hours to get home on the bus.

“Then two days a week I’m at college for 5.30pm. I rush to get the kids home, get somebody to

watch them, and then get to college.

“More nurseries and some sort of ool holiday provis would make life easier. Six wees is a

long time to keep them occupied without burning a hole in your pocket.

“I’d like not to work every Saturday but that’s obviously our busiest day. Sometimes we start at

7 in the morning, so I d’t see the kids at all.”


More information about flexible and aordable childcare, childcare facilities in

colleges, activities during ool holidays.

On the adverts

they make it sound

easy to get in.

In reality it’s

really hard.

Barry’s Story

“I first enired about joining the olice after leaving sixth form. They said I needed to

develop some customer skills so I got a job at a supermarket and worked my way up to customer

services manager. Then I got married and settled down... and started applying again.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do: helping people, giving something back. I even volunteered

at the Ld Olympics and paid all my own expenses.

“ast year I applied to be a C. I went to Coventry for the first interview, everye has to, and

did group tass and short exams. I had to stay overnight because it all started at 8am. There

were no expenses. I passed that and had ano interview with the local force. I didn’t pass

that. I have no idea why. They d’t give any feedback. at’s a lot of mey and holiday used

up to hear nothing back.”


Better interview feedback? Attention to keeping interview costs down

Grant’s Story

“One of the main reass I joined the RAF was because I was struggling to find work round here

when I left college.

“It’s even worse now: Eastmans has shut, Corus has gone. They were two big employers. There’s not

much left.

“I got some interviews for factory work locally after I left the Forces but was told I had no

experience of working in a factory. I’m an aircraft engineer by trade.

“The closest I could find work was in Penrith – an 80mile round trip – where I’m a mechanical

engineer maintaining the machinery in a factory that makes doors. I’d prefer to work closer to

home but there’s nothing available. There’s not much call for engineers around here any more.”


Careers advice from local employers looking for skilled sta? RAF careers

Better transport lins to Penrith?

There’s nothing round

here so I joined up to

get a trade.

When I applied for my job

there was a different

salary on different job

websites… I didn’t mention

it because I didn’t want to

make trouble.

It was advertised as a

15-hour night contract

at £7.75 an hour. t t the

interview they oered oered

me a 3-hour contract

at £7.40 but I ended up

working 9 hours.

“It’s just rude when they d’t let you now. The people who interview you must now roughly how

long you’ll have to wait for an answer.”

“ow can you improve your interview technique if you d’t now where you’ve made your


“Why go through the sts of an interview if you now fine well someone you work with is going to

get it ou just think, oh I needn’t bo because I now through local nowledge someone else

is lined up for that job.”

“t 16 I thought I’d go for an apprenticeship. I went for the interivew but despite emailing a few

times, I didn’t get any feedback for four or five mths. In the end I decided to go into sixth form.”

“I found a job through word of mouth... my dad was phoning around local companies.”


“The majority of temporary contracts start with maybe three

hours, then you could get 20 hours, then they put you back to

three hours.”

“I asked for more hours but they

said they couldn’t aord aord it.

d d d then this morning there’s a new

pers pers arrived.”

“We do a lot of 3 12 12 hour shifts

now which means they d’t d’t have

to give you a paid break..”

“They’ll go round asking people to

reduce their hours romly. romly.

ou ou d’t d’t now now where you are.”

“With these contracts they might only have you in for two hours

each day and it’s always in the middle of the day, so you can’t do

anything else. They’ve got you over a barrel.”

“My manager messaged me on acebook acebook the o o

day to ask me to do some overtime. Normally it’s

“They shouldn’t take more people

by text or What’s App.”

on and just give them three hour

shifts. They should have fewer

people but give them more hours.”


Some folk are on 20

hours but end up

doing 40 or even 50

hours. Then it just

goes down again.

ou ou stand no chance

of getting a job round

here unless you can


I now now some people

who pay £50 a week on

public transport.

“One bus gets me there 20 minutes before my shift starts but that’s always 15 minutes late, so

I’ve had to turn up for work 40 minutes early to make sure I’m on time.”

“I do nine hours a week over three shifts. I’d prefer to do it over two shifts then I’d spend

less mey on buses and less time wasted travelling back and forth.”

“I get paid £60 a week and about £20 of it goes on buses.”

“It’s 2 12 hours round trip on the bus they provide... and on a zero hours contract you d’t get

paid for travel time.”

“On my 6-pm shift they might ask me to work late – you feel disloyal if you say no – which

means I miss my last bus and have a 40 minute walk home. It’s like the dark ages.”

“The W still expect us to

search for jobs in Lancaster.

It’s four hours on the bus one

way and the train goes via

Carlisle so that takes nearly

three hours!”


ou ou have no chance

to budget if they cut

your hours and your

childcare has been

booked in advance.


“We’re planning a family – and will have all those childcare costs – so it puts me o o moving

jobs at the minute. People wder wder wder wder why lots of young mums d’t d’t d’t d’t work... that’s why! My friends have

had to give up their jobs and get ones in the evenings but then they d’t d’t d’t see their families.”

“Me and my mum both have jobs but she only does hours that mean she can help look after

my kids.”

“More nurseries and some sort of ool ool holiday provis provis would make life easier. Six wees wees is

a long time to keep them occupied without burning a hole in your pocket.”

“My bro bro bro bro and his wife both work but they struggled with the childcare… he got the sack

because of looking after the kids.”

I was already on a warning... for

taking too much time o o sick.

d d then I was in hoital hoital with

pneumia. pneumia. If I’d put in a sick note

that woud have triggered the

sack. So I got my friends to cover

my shifts and I had two mths mths

o o without pay. It’s stsful. stsful.

I’m always worried I might get the

sack if I’m o o again.

They d’t d’t take well to you

being o. o. There were times I

was working so much that I was

getting ill but they wouldn’t let

you have a day o. o. I just had to

try my best and not be ill.

They asked if I’d consider being

agency sta sta which means they can

consider you self-employed. It wors wors

to the advantage of the employer:

no leave, no sick pay and they can

drop you whenever they want.

With my medical condition

sometimes I’m in agy agy at work

and have to go home.

If I apply for ano ano job I’d

be worried they might not be as

understanding. o o I tell them

when I’m applying and risk

them not considering me or

do I drop it on them the first

time it happens to me at work work


What local people think about our work...

We tested out some of our findings on the wider community in June 2018 at the ‘Spring Fling’ at The

Oval Centre in Salterbeck, attended by around 200 local people. Here’s what some people said…

What next

These stories from the community in Mossbay and Salterbeck show that improving the employment

proects of local people is a complex task that needs many organisations to talk more, share

ideas and plan together.

ocal ocal residents, employers, local authorities and the voluntary sector all need to be involved.

Here are a few of our

suggests suggests to get the

conversation going.

Applying for jobs and the interview process – clearer job adverts,

better communication with applicants throughout the interview

process, better feedback, local interviews, greater awareness

about the timings and travel costs to interviews.

For employees on temporary contracts – fewer sudden changes to working

hours and o contractual arrangements, proactive management in

signposting new job opportunities.

Travel – public transport representatives to consider local

comments about timetabling around the area, car sharing schemes,

extending transport schemes operated by local employers.

Childcare – more information about flexible, aordable aordable local childcare,

nurseries, breakfast and after ool clubs.

Health – local employment support groups, mental health and

wellbeing courses, review of disciplinary / H H sickness procedu, procedu,

sharing of best practice between local employers, role for local

health services through Integrated Care Communities (ICCs. (ICCs.

unded by The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North West

Coast (NIH CLHC NC. The views expsed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIH, or the

Department of Health and Social Care.

For more information about our project contact:

Sheryl Mckeating, Project Co-ordinator

Tel: 07825 340615

Sketches by Len Grant

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