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I’m a double graduate, dual qualified professional – and also a lone parent. I can’t get a job

Location: UK » South West » TR
I’m a double graduate, dual qualified professional – and also a lone parent. I can’t get a job

After 20 years as a Graduate Nurse, working as a Clinical Nursing Specialist I was replaced with ‘someone who doesn’t have kids’ when my 13 hour days and alternate weekend working – as a lone parent – were considered inflexible by the senior management at my NHS hospital.

I completed a second BA, then a PGCE while running a small business and bringing up my family.

I am now a qualified Teacher and Nurse, able to teach across Health and Social Care subjects plus all Art & Contemporary Practice subjects, Literacy and Numeracy… but am unable to find work.

My local FE/HE Institutions have made swingeing cuts over the last 2 academic years that have seen a total of 58% cuts to the staffing levels in all subject areas.

Teachers around the South West are being made redundant – not employed.

The budget for student support has been all but shut down, so there is no access to student support roles, or student mentor roles – notwithstanding the salary for that work is barely above minimum wage.

My son and I are surviving on Working Tax Credits as I struggle to build a business as a freelance tutor in an area of the country that is so depressed, the uptake for private workshops or learning in any subject is negligible and the local community is awash with out of work tutors desperately trying to support their families..

Our home is rented, with the rent running at £200 above the local authority rates for this size of property and a £50/month increase due. The demand for rentals has sky rocketed since this government cancelled all new/affordable house building in the county and we are in the grips of a serious housing shortage.

We live in a rural area with limited public transport, but my car is now 9 yrs old and starting to fail - the diesel costs prevent me from driving except in urgent/unavoidable situations. My son is gifted academically and in sport but I am facing the decision to stop all his sports clubs (all at Academy level) as I cannot afford to drive him to them 4 times a week. The car will probably be taken off the road at the next MOT as the cost to keep it on the road has become prohibitive. Thus making access to work very challenging.

We had planned to move so that he could go to the Outstanding Secondary school 20 miles away, which is perfect for his mix of skills, but we are now too poor to move and he is forced into the local school with some of the worst results in the county and a long history of serious behavioural problems from the local estate that was subject to a Curfew in recent times.

I cannot afford to put the heating on and while that is manageable now with extra clothes and hot water bottles, when the winter really hits, we will have to choose between food and heat.

I am double graduate, dual qualified, post grad professional but have the misfortune to be a lone parent in a Conservative government who defines me as a leech and has passed a swatch of laws that will actively prevent me from supporting my own family and building for our future. My son deserves better than this.

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