It’s been a while since I last updated my blog and a few things have happened. I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue writing. The negative comments got to me and made me question whether this was something I wanted to face. This is currently a very stressful time for my family and I. Do I need to compound this stress by opening up about our circumstances, allowing people to express their opinions about our lives? Maybe not. However, I have a voice. I have an opinion. I have a cause and because of this I will continue to write.
Last weekend Paul had his skills test at Nissan. He returned home extremely upbeat and pleased with his performance. I was thrilled and really hoped this was going to be his chance of finding a decent job right on the doorstep. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. For whatever reason, last night, Paul received an email to inform him his application would be taken no further. When I arrived home from work I immediately realised Paul was not himself. He was busy cooking dinner when he turned to me and told me the news. I was gutted for him. We don’t know why he hasn’t been accepted but are awaiting feedback. This was the second knockback in a week. Despite passing the assessments for Network Rail, an email also informed Paul that he had been unsuccessful in their selection process. As yet we do not know why his applications have been unsuccessful but we are hoping feedback from the companies will help us to understand. We need to know what is going wrong so we can put it right.
We cannot afford for Paul to be unemployed for much longer. Our financial situation isn’t great but it’s not just about money. For Paul, the days are long; looking after the girls, attending appointments and carrying out the household chores. This isn’t what he wants long term. He wants to feel valued again and he wants to support his family. As the days and weeks pass by it is growing more difficult to keep Paul positive. Each rejection is a massive setback and it gets harder each time to remain positive.
Everything is taking time. Applications and assessments take time. Appointments take time and trying to get funding for training takes time! Paul has decided to try and utilise this ‘time off work’ and is applying for different training courses that will assist him in finding suitable employment. He found out today that he has been funded to start a fork lift truck driving course next week.
Tomorrow we are meeting with a training provider to discuss the opportunity for Paul to train to become a gas engineer. Although we are living with uncertainty about our future right now, it may be the right time to start making big changes. Maybe we need to exploit this opportunity so that Paul really can be in control of his own destiny. While things were good at SSI we could never have imagined giving any thought to Paul running his own business. However this now seems to be very appealing to both of us and I think Paul should just go for it.
On Tuesday I was invited to speak at an event in Stockton. I’ve never spoken publicly before (I’m not sure reading in church counts?!) but I felt as though this was an opportunity not to be missed. The debate was held in The Storytellers pub and to be honest I hadn’t given it a great deal of thought since I’d received the invite. We met up with Paul’s friends (all ex-SSI) and their wives in a local Italian restaurant prior to the debate. This was the first time since the closure that we had all met up. I enjoyed having a chat with ‘the wives’ and finding out how everyone was getting on. None of the lads have found work yet but despite this we all enjoyed a laugh, it was good to be in their company.
The debate got underway promptly and I was first up. The room was reasonably full but I sensed a friendly crowd and my nerves were put at ease. I had made a few notes but once I started to talk I just spoke from my heart and the words flowed easily. I’ve no idea how long I spoke for but I received a good response. There were people in the audience ready to stand up and be heard unafraid to voice their opinions. They inspired me. The chairperson, Jessie, said something about people wanting change need to be political and need to be heard. Moreover, I believe they need to be listened to. The people in power make decisions that impact on all of us. We can make challenges. We do not have to sit back and take it. From now on I am going to stand up for what I believe in and not be afraid to use my voice.
This time tomorrow I hope Paul has signed up for the gas engineer training. I think this will give him and us a focus and although it will be hardwork and time consuming the end result should be rewarding. In times of adversity there may be opportunity. That’s what we are hoping for anyway.