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
“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.
HT MIT EL?
ocal managers keeping records of locally available temporary workers
Improvements at a national policy level for larger employers
“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.”
HT MIT EL?
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
“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.”
HT MIT EL?
Better interview feedback? Attention to keeping interview costs down
“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
“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.”
HT MIT EL?
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
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.”
APYING & INEVIEWS
“The majority of temporary contracts start with maybe three
hours, then you could get 20 hours, then they put you back to
“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.”
EMORAY EMORAY CONTCS CONTCS
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
“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
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
“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
EH & ELBEING
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…
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
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