A DETERMINED dad who applies for up to ten jobs a day said his efforts were getting him nowhere.
Former carpet fitter Mark Essem (28), of Ringway in Bolton-upon-Dearne, has been seeking work since last July — but is still struggling on benefits.
He said he blamed politicians for austerity policies and job automation, which reduced the amount of work available.
Despite applying for everything from washing pots to the armed forces, his job hunt has still not paid off.
“There wasn’t enough work fitting carpets, so I had to sign on and look for another job,” he said.
“I’m not even right for cleaning work, apparently — although I’ve worked on building sites where I’ve had to clean.
“I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships, but I’m getting little feedback. I’m trying, but I’m just not getting anywhere.”
Mark left school with no GCSEs aged 13, shortly after his dad took his own life.
He has since studied for maths and English certificates, but said learning was stopping him earning.
“I needed money so when I was offered work, I took it,” he said. “The course was meant to last six months. I’ll have to go back and do it, if I can.”
Despite his lack of schooling, Mark has had several jobs, including laying carpets, gardening, factory work and building site labouring.
But he said few employers showed an interest in his applications.
“I’ve mostly been applying online,” said Mark. “There are thousands of jobs on there, but the number of those that I can do and get to is much smaller.”
Mark said he applied to South Yorkshire Wheels2Work for help with transport, but found himself “between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
“You need money to find a job,” he added. “To be a labourer you need money for a car, for security work you need money for your badge.
“I applied to Wheels2Work, but they couldn’t give me a scooter because I didn’t have a job or a job offer.
“But I can’t get a job because I don’t have any transport to get there.”
Mark said he has taken the Jobcentre mantra — that finding work is a full-time job — to heart and resented the idea that some people think benefits claimants are workshy.
“It’s very tiring, but you just have to pick yourself up and keep plodding on,” he said.
“Obviously I want to work — you can’t get anywhere in life without money.
“Without a job I can’t get a loan or a mortgage, so I’m stuck living with friends or with my mum.
“I want to start my own carpet business, but now I’m applying to do just about anything and can’t even get a dead-end job.”
He added: “It doesn’t help that the supermarkets have self-service machines so there are fewer jobs.
“The government need to start creating jobs. I’d rather there were no benefits and more jobs going.”
Nigel Coleman, of Rotherham Jobcentre, said jobseekers like Mark could build skills and confidence to enhance their CV using services like do-it.org, which gives details of volunteering openings, and work experience placements arranged by the job centre.
Schemes in nearby Goldthorpe also offered support for jobseekers, Nigel said, adding that the Salvation Army had a weekly job club and Goldthorpe Community Shop gives membership to buy cheap food from the high street and courses to improve wellbeing.”
Groups like this helped build confidence, he said, adding: “They also offer basic skills classes, IT classes and sessions on CVs and motivation.”
For information and advice on finding work, visit www.gov.uk/browse/working/finding-job.