’The Job Centre puts everyone in the same group - but they have different circumstances...
For Level 3 child care - I need to work 150 hours for free, as soon as I do this I’m qualified. But if I do more than 15 volunteer hours a week they cut off my money so then what do I live on?
I do 2 hours a week admin for Skills Network - that’s 12 pounds an hour, 24 pounds a day.
My Job Seekers’ allowance is £60 a week. But I’m not allowed to earn - so they deduct £19 for each day at Skills. So I make £5 per day.
If I do 15 hours a week for free I still get 60 quid a week. So I have to be in the system for longer though I don’t want to be in the system.
I’ve been going to the Job Centre for 4 years. I have no qualification.
I stopped for 3 months to do a cleaning job. I earned £600 - £700 per month but I had to pay travel and a fiver for each of my children to stay on after school. I stopped because they wanted more hours and I couldn’t.
But I have to look for work, I’m looking for part-time, because I want to carry on with Skills Network, I want to work one day a week at Skills. And do unpaid creche work there.
I have to go to the Work Programme, they have these meetings about finding work, you get a text message sent to you at 5 pm saying ‘‘you have to turn up the next day at whatever time, or we will tell the Job Centre you haven’t shown up.’’
I’m supposed to apply for 20 jobs a week.
Me, personally, I can’t do interviews.... I’m frightened.. since I have started CDG [Careers Development Group -a careers services based in Brixton] I said I needed mock interviews. If I have to do a presentation I get bellyache and diarrhoea. Pisses me off, if I have told them why I struggle, why don’t they help?
I can understand why they want people working but sometimes they just have to look at the different circumstances. I’ve said: ‘Find me a job in a shop, stacking shelves, cleaning the floor... So long as I can drop my children at school... 9.30 start - if it ends at 5 I’ll manage.’’
But never let go of your goal. I want to have my own creche.
I’ve done the cleaning, done the housekeeping. I have a yellow card. I wanted a green appointment card, he’s telling me ‘‘watch my attitude’’ And the security guard. Sometimes you’ve just had enough of these people. I’m in the system, you just have to do what they say.
Skills Network creche will run till May. My goal is: finish my 100 hours. By September I want to have my Level 3 qualification. In a year I want to see myself working for myself. I don’t think they want people with ambitions. Because they are stuck there all day doing this job they don’t want anyone else to have it better.
I saw this one job last night, wish I had the qualification. A support worker between families and prisoners. The money wasn’t great but I know how the prison system works, it’s so corrupted, there’s no support for women who have kids...
My kids’ dad was got for drink driving, you don’t know what to say to the kids, all the emotion and distress. I was rushed into hospital Monday... I had reflux, really I was in so much pain, they just called the ambulance, it was caused by stress and anxiety.
I said, ‘I haven’t got time to be in this hospital bed, I need to get home to go to my kids.’ It’s the first time I got taken into hospital, I haven’t got time to be sick.
My kids are T---- 12, D---- 10 and J---- 8.
I had T____ at the age of 15, I found it hard, there was no one who understood me, I was under age and people look at you, weird, like....... is a kid having a kid?
I don’t think I did a bad job. People are very judgmental. I would like to run something to teach young mums ‘not all services are like that’.
I’ve got white hairs but its what you feel like inside.’’