Getting back to work

Well I must admit,I can't believe how difficult it has been to try and get back to work or even get any help to get back. I had my injury 4 years ago and have been looking for something for the last few years but I am getting nowhere.

I have tried the Careers Service whom couldn't help because I am too qualified for any training nor did they have much options for a bloke in his 50s. However, I did try their career builder which did suggest I would be ideally suited to being a fire fighter or a ceramic tile designer!

A private Redeployment service looked at my work history, qualifications and skills and offered to help but backed away when they realised getting a person back to work with a head injury was more difficult than someone whom had been made redundant.

I went to see the local Remploy representative a very odious man whom within the first few minutes informed me he could get me a job as cleaner straight away or maybe a job stacking shelves in a supermarket. When I explained that I have a lot of skills that I would be looking to re-use, I was told that I had an attitude that will prevent me working and that maybe i should see an employment psychologist...

The Shaw Trust again offered me shelf stacking or work experience with the local council but couldn't offer me anything else as I am too qualified.

The strangest one was the Disability Employment Advisor in the local job centre, whom looked at my file, smiled and just said there really isn't any pressure to look for work. Couldn't provide any careers advice or suggestions but If I found a job they could help me afterwards.

Apparently, even though I had my degrees many, many years ago. I can't get funding for retraining. so education is out.

Self employment is an option but how to fund it whilst its developing ? Every source I have looked has very little help with funding apart from going to see a bank - well that's going to get results.

So how do you go about finding a new career or job post head injury ?

16 Replies

  • Hi sospan.

    Basically good luck . Have been trying since my bi 16 yeads ago. Ok it took me about 4 -5 years to be anywhere fit but since then no joy.

    Voluntary work is easier to get but not the same as paid work. It is a good way into employment but so far everytime it has looked like I may be taken on the voluntary work ends as " I am no longer needed".

    Have now decided that volunteering may be my only option. Yes the pay is terrible ( what minimum wage? ) but the self worth it provides is well worth it.

    I wish you all the best with your job search.


  • I have been looking for volunteering for a number of years but where I am in West Wales, there are very few true voluntary positions.

    What volunteering roles are available are either tin, rattling or sorting clothes in charity shops - which is a worthy thing but I want something more challenging. Other "opportunities" like a recent Age Concern requests was for a volunteer receptionist for a few days a week to to answer the telephone, handle queries, file and write documents for the salaried staff - which should really be a paid job if every one else is getting paid.

  • have you tried care homes

  • As Paxo has said it is sounding like good luck.

    What I would say and I know a few people have made it work.....if you have a hobby then building it into a small business.

    Seriously though it may be time to reconsider how you value your worth.

    pre bi I guess most of us valued our worth by our earning ability and the lucky ones by the feeling of having a rewarding job.

    Now it may be time for a change and simply feeling useful may have to be enough.

    Hey when the job centre says "there isn't really any pressure to look for work" maybe you could take the hint.

    Look at it as early retirement or become a gentleman who dines out (the male version of a lady who lunches). Whatever label you need to give yourself to make it easier to be the new you.

    You could always offer to mentor other survivors.

    Whatever you decide I wish you well.



  • With what I get in benefits there would be a "blue moon" before I could have lunch out.

    I used to work very long hours a week in IT, so never had much time for hobbies. The only thing I used to do part time was build and renovate houses. Physically struggle with that now and don't have any qualifications to do it professionally and can't get the training to get them.

    I have never claimed benefits before in my life and have always been independent. What I get each week is a constant struggle to keep heads above water is just so wearing

  • Not easy one, this life is is it?

    It's made me realise just how difficult it must be for so many people.

    It's taken many years of voluntary work for my niece to find work, she was daiagnosed with MS at 19, she's struggled with her illness, gained a degree and worked, when she could voluntarily, it's now beginning to pay off and she is finally getting job offers, albeit part time. 10 years of frustration and worry.

    I do hope you find something, employers have to be so careful these days, I know I wouldn't pass a risk assessment in most working environments.

    Good luck Janet x

  • Hi Sospan,

    I am currently off work sick again, no idea how long for.

    Losing money from my self employed job, panicking over my evening cleaning job.

    Okay, so I never got back to my full physical potential and had to greatly reduce my hours but that was my little slice of financial independence and pride.

    Supervisor tells me that there is to soon be a new shake up, with the building I was transferred to 2 1/2 years ago on return from illness looking to close.

    Possibility of being taken over, redeployed to another building or redundancy.

    All cheery stuff to break to me in the middle of this difficult illness !

    Only managed not to claim originally as son moved back home, got a decent job after a year's search and contributes to the bills. It is a worrying time ahead, for me.

    I wish you the best of luck in your quest and if you don't fancy them and I can get fit enough again, I'll happily take those cleaning/ shelfstacking jobs ! ! : ))

    Angela x

  • Your experience sounds very familiar, including the DEA. To dip a toe in I volunteered at a kids'safety awareness facility and Primary School initially. In my case this was illuminating as it showed my Fatigue issues were more than I expected, and in retrospect possibly what the DEA was more objective about than I was...

    If your BI has affected your learning ability (it certainly has mine) then using as many prior skills with as loose a contract as possible may be the key. I took one of my previous skills (kayaking) and, exhaustingly, have turned it into a Freelance job as guide/coach. As it's so seasonal I also do some additional ad hoc freelance stuff such as Stage Crew to keep me occupied and in the black. I'm late 40's, also with a degree, and manage now to find the work I am capable of no less rewarding than when all eyes were on my (or generally someone elses!) Bottom Line.

    So I'd say dip a toe into the volunteering world and feel your way; hopefully you'll have friends/former colleagues who might give you a low-pressure start also. At times painfully slowly catchy monkey in my experience, though apologies if your BI manifests itself in a way that makes my reflections useless :-)

  • just been inspired by your kayaking. I've been told my coaching awards are out of date and that I should start from scratch, going to look at reregistering with BCU and training at PyB, will have to look into financing this, and openings for the future. philcow1

  • Good luck. The BCU is more pragmatic than given credit for; you may find that if you explain the situation to transfer to the new qual's may not require a whole new Log book - which otherwise is indeed a fag! Whatever you do I would strongly advise you find a 'mentor' who's been through the current system recently to guide you through the hoops. I've managed to get a few Headway types into kayaking through the local disabled paddlers unit as well as earning some money commercially - has definitely been a good move for me. Let me know how you get on; I'm now L2 coach with 3* most disciplines and 4* Sea Leader. Can't imagine I'll collect any more as above that it really does look a bit daunting!

  • Then you go for a WCA and they stop your benefits stating you are fit to work although nobody will employ you. The Lunatics have taken over the Asylum

  • I think that some people feel that they are defined by what they do as a job, and really this isnt the case. I know now that i will never work again and have come to terms with that. At first it was hard because i felt the usual thing of worthlesness, id lost my use to society. Then i began to realise that society is a rats arse and could go swivel anyway, life is for living for you not for everyone else. I threw myself into new things, things i would never have done before or even had an interest in, they dont have to be expensive, just reading and learning alone can be gratifying. Every day is an opportunity that we particularly as bi patients should grasp, instead of wallowing in our apparent misery. Yes we are limited by our problems but we are a long time dead and we could cry about things or move on. I chose the latter. Enjoy the fact you are freed from the institutionalised slavery and those eight hours a day that you gave away to some rich people are now yours again.

  • Not sure if business networking groups are in your area or not, but attending these events may put you in touch with business owners in a nontraditional ways and you may be able to find an opportunity there. Also start a list of the most successful people you know of. You don't need to actually have met or know them. Then write a brief letter of introduction and let them know you are contemplating a career change and would like to get their opinion about your plans. Obviously you will need to have a well thought out plan of what you want to actually do. Also let them know you are not expecting them to hire you. You simply want a brief meeting to get their advice about what you are looking to do. In your letter let them know you will be calling them next week to setup this meeting. While meeting with them you also want to ask them this question “Do you know anyone else you think I should talk with about what I am looking to do?" Sometimes they will even call that person and introduce you. When you meet with these referrals you will do the same things you did with the person who gave you the referral. Be sure and send each one you meet with a thank you letter. Successful people gladly will give you advice when you know what you want to do. They also know other successful people who may end up being your future workplace. I’ve successfully used this technique, it worked amazingly well. Best wishes to you. Please let me know how things turn out for you.

  • Shaw trust and disability advisor worked together for me. I got a position on short hours working in a school that just kept on morphing around my capabilities!

    I work part time and it's a temporary contract but I've been there years. I get a yearly contract now.

    Getting something with the council could be a good use Of your skills. It may lead to other things, they are reliable with time off for hospital etc too.

    A lot of positions within the local authorities need degree level education. Even if you start at a less taxing position there is the oportunity to move onwards and upwards.

    I found it frustrating being told that I had to volunteer first to give employers the chance to see that I was still capable of work, and the problem with people saying we have no call for any air traffic workers,have you tried contacting the airports?

    I had my CAA licences revoked due to memory problems!!!

  • sospan probably the reason you were told there was no rush for you to find a job by dwp is because you may find dwp have put you in the esa care option or whatever its called

  • Yep, I have been in the "support" group as its called since my injury.

    Whilst I will still need support, I can still do things - not the same standard I did before and a lot slower than before. The crux is to find something where I can work at my own pace so I can pay my way.

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