Why can’t I find a job?

Can’t find a job? Fear not, we’re here to help! Go and grab a pen and paper or open a word document…

Draw three columns onto your page. If you’re on word maybe insert a table.

Example table

In the first column, list the things that are or have been holding you back from getting a job. This could include:

1. Mental health is taking over my life

2. Struggling to stay motivated

3. I can’t drive

4. I don’t know if my CV or application form is right

5. I think I’m great, I don’t know why no-ones hiring me!

6. I don’t know where to start

7. I don’t have any/many/the right qualifications

8. They always ask for experience and I don’t have any

9. I’m worried about how it would affect my universal credit

10. There are no jobs in the field I want

It’s important to be open and honest with yourself here! We’re not out to get you. We’re not trying to make you feel bad either. Just using this time to help you to take control over your life and see which areas could do with a little boost!


Moving to the second column, list things that you need to overcome the barriers that you listed in your first column. This could be:

1. Counselling, wellbeing support, someone to talk to about my worries

2. A routine or structure to my day

3. A driving license

4. Someone to look over my applications

5. An outside perspective

6. A mindmap of potential things of interest

7. Relevant qualifications8. Volunteering or work experience

9. Understanding of the rules of universal credit

10. Pros and cons list of moving to where the jobs in the field are

The above is just a flavour of ideas of things and you might find that you have a lot more than ten or a lot less. This is ok! Be reasonable and reflective with the things you need. Usually, these are the things that we say “if only..” before or tell our friends about.


Column three is for the help that you need. Can you overcome this barrier yourself now that you have identified it? Great, give that a whirl! Do you need support to overcome it or to work on the practical things? Also great, now figure out who can help. Below is a list of support services and people who could help:

You have control over your life and have the ability to overcome some barriers with a shift in mindsets and a lifestyle change. We’re not saying that this is easy, but sometimes it is doable.

Friends and family
These people know you the most and can often help you to mindmap different ideas of things you might be interested in doing. Sometimes they can help you to practice interview questions or lend you an outfit to where for the interview. Perhaps they could go with you on the bus a couple of times to get you used to travelling. Try not to rely on others completely, but asking for help can be really positive.

Mental health hubs
If you feel ready for counselling and perhaps don’t want to wait on NHS waiting lists then you could consider a private route. You could look into supporting minds or NWCH. With them being private, they require a fee. This means that if you are earning under £24,000 per year, are unemployed or you are living with someone else and your combined household income is under £36,000 a year, then you can apply for funding. Have a look at Bromhead, a service that will pay for a set number of counselling sessions for you. Alternatively, if you feel as though your mental health could be improved by trying out new hobbies and activities get in touch with the social prescribers!

People plus offer a set number of driving lessons if you are on their careers training course. Alternatively, if you can drive and just need the vehicle, perhaps consider a moped, with wheels to work. To top up your driving awareness and to feel more confident on the road, perhaps consider the courses offered by iamroadsmart.

Sometimes it can be intimidating to know which pronouns to use with an employer and in an application. Especially if your birth certificate is not up-to-date. If you have any worries or need a hand changing your birth name to your real name, get in touch with Think2Speak. If you want to find out more about your rights in the workplace, check out ACAS.

There are so many routes to getting qualifications, so please do get in touch with us to discuss the options that are right for you.

There are so many free apps out there that can help with different aspects of your life. Apps like headspace and calm for your mind, down dog for yoga to keep you get rid of stress and waking up for routines. There are lots of learning apps, like duolingo for learning a new language and audible for reading new books.

*This list does not show every single support service available to you, just a couple for you to start exploring! If you would like to find out more information about any of them or would like to find out about other support services, chat to us and we’ll point out the different directions.

How to find your path

Now there’s no definitive way to discover what you should do with your life. No formula or code that will get you there faster. Though that can be a daunting prospect, it can sometimes take the heat off. There is no right job, no right career path or right thing for you to be doing. You will get to where you need to be, and it will be in your own time! Having said this, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself along the way. Things that we have learnt along the way on our journeys.

Start with the basics

Here, the term basics is used loosely. The basics vary in degree of difficulty from person to person and from time to time. Sometimes you might find routines and day to day activities easy and almost mindless, whilst other days it might be overwhelming to brush your teeth.. we have all been there! There is no shame in struggling. The key is to find something that works for you. We use schedules and visual lists to plan our day to day activities. This takes the stress and brainpower out of the basics. Your basics could include; enough sleep, good hygiene, a little bit of exercise, safe and comforting friendships and food. The level of each of these that we need varies from time to time, so be patient with yourself. Select routines that fit into your lifestyle!

What are you resisting?

What are the things that peak your interest? The things that although you don’t understand why they intrigue or interest you, they do. Now cross off the ones that you don’t want to do. Never do something just because its what other people expect from you! Only do the things that you feel drawn to. Obviously make sure that they aren’t illegal or unsafe. Then explore them. Get curious! Go and try out that pottery class you’ve been looking at. Start writing that gaming code that you’ve been planning in your head. Bake. Read. Create. Do all of the things that you’ve told yourself are silly because you never know where it will take you!

Take a chance

Sometimes you have to take a risk. Sometimes you have to work so hard just to get by. You have to work a job, volunteer and explore your interests and this can be exhausting. Sometimes you have to turn down a night out or spend a little less on your weekly food shop, but it’s worth it in the long run. In a society where instant gratification is the norm, push yourself out of your box and graft!

Don’t give up!

The likelihood is, you’re not going to be outstanding straight away! So keep going. Keep crafting your skill until it becomes natural. Think about all of the greats from history, they didn’t just pick up a paintbrush and become world-renowned artists or suddenly jump to the top of the charts. If something came that easy, we wouldn’t actually feel fulfilled. So if you are working on your craft right now and you’re hitting roadblocks or feel that what you’re producing is rubbish that’s good. Through the years, as you get better, the sense of achievement and pride will be unparalleled.

Talk to people

and surround yourself with people that inspire you. Build your friends up and spark conversations. Speak to people who are interested in the things you are and ask for their advice. Put yourself out there even when you are afraid. The whole fake it til you make it advise springs to mind here!

And remember, it’s okay to not know where you’re going. Keep exploring, keep learning and keep trying things out!

So you’re missing the cinema…

reviewer: Charlotte

Ah, the cinema. The overpriced popcorn, the slightly sticky flooring that somewhat resembles a nightclub, the hiss of pain as your eyes adjust to the harsh sunlight after being in a dark room for the best part of that afternoon, you can’t beat it. And if you’re like me, then chances are you’re typically there on the first day of new releases and are even known as a regular to the staff. That a good thing? I dunno. Back on track! Anyway, now that we’re on week four of lockdown and with little sign of it being lifted anytime soon, I’m really beginning to miss the cinema. Like, really miss it. The cinema for me, is an escape. If the bigger picture is out of my control, then I relish in what I can control, and for me, more often than not, it’s going to Odeon, flashing a card and heading on through. It’s fun, it’s easy and most of all, simple.

Does that sound like your cup of tea? If not, then I suggest finding another article, but if so, then read no further, for I will be sharing my hints, my tricks and even what films are worth watching.


World Tour is arguably the film at the moment, with it being the first in movie history to be released on demand on the same day it was meant for a theatrical release. That in itself is an achievement. With a little help from my sister, I managed to watch the film last night, with it being one of my most anticipated movies of this year, seeing how I love the first one. And I gotta say personally, I loved it. Even more than the first one. Whilst I can say the first Trolls movie is arguably better and has funnier moments, this has a more defined story, more characters and the visuals are something else completely. I have no idea what the creators were on when making this film, but I’d gladly take some in a heartbeat. Just make sure to keep two metres apart when handing it over 😉

 Another aspect I found to be enjoyable, like the last film, is its soundtrack. This time, having a range of different styles as opposed to primarily pop songs and ballads, which fits in with what the movie is trying to do. Yes, there’s some truly cheesy songs in there, but that’s part of the fun and leads to a pretty clever joke in my opinion. Though they couldn’t have done ‘Old Town Road’? Honestly, a song like that was waiting to be recorded by these guys!

 Now, it’s not perfect, but hardly any films are, but where this one falls is in the message. The message and the way it comes across, I like. What makes us different brings us together and what we’ve been taught about our history may not be what truly happened. The last one in particular I found to be mature and challenging, particularly for a kids film. But that said, it doesn’t go all the way with it, not tonally at least. The movie is way too happy and bright for a message like that to work. I admire it for sure on what it was trying to do, but it just fell a little flat in my opinion. I’d still highly recommend it though and chances are if you have kids, they’ll like it for sure. Just remember to provide them with sunglasses to protect their eyes.

Jumanji: The Next Level

Another popular film that is making the rounds at the moment is Jumanji: The Next Level. A sequel to the ‘sequel’ of the original that honestly, had no right in being as good as it is, this one follows the characters of the last film as they are once again, sucked into the video game world, albeit with a few twists…

Unlike Trolls: World Tour, this is aimed less towards younger kids and more towards families and as far as family films go, it’s decent. Is it as good as the first film? No, but it has a self-awareness about itself that honestly, comes across as refreshing. The characters (for the most part) know what to expect and watching them explain it to others who are less experienced, is rather funny. I would also argue that the humour is more for adults this time round as well. Granted, there were a few jokes like that in the first one, but these hit a whole other level for me. One in particular when Kevin Hart’s and Jack Black’s characters were being questioned made me laugh out loud when I saw it for the first time.

What I find odd about Jumanji: The Next Level though, is it’s visually more action oriented, with bigger threats and set pieces, but it doesn’t feel as big. It’s almost like a ‘been there, done that, got the shirt’ scenario. And that’s a shame, as the action scenes are really well done. I think it’s because it’s been done before and the pacing is a bit slow between them that it does get old rather quickly. That said, it is still something I’d recommend checking out, even if it’s out of curiosity or boredom.

Host your own themed night

When I was younger, whenever we had takeaway, we’d watch a film that went along with that. Mulan for Chinese, Finding Nemo for fish and chips, etc. The point I’m getting at is theming is fun and can add a whole new layer of interactivity to your evening. Instead of just watching The Greatest Showman, why not learn some circus skills to go alongside it? I’m not saying reach for the lighter fluid and burn the house down with your new found fire breathing skills, but I’m more thinking along the lines of plate spinning, juggling and even sleight of hand. Something to impress, but not endanger. For snacks, reach for the roasted peanuts, popcorn and candyfloss. Proper old circus food. And for a real good time, switch on the singalong and belt out your best ‘This is me’.

Turn your living room into a proper cinema! Popcorn, drinks, snacks and tickets can be done in the kitchen, a willing participant to stand outside and wish you a good movie watching experience, even a ‘projectionist’ to sort out the movie and any technical difficulties. You don’t need a lot to have the same outcome, just some props, some films and a whole lot of creativity!

As the saying goes, less is more, and that is certainly the case when it comes to horror. Why go all out and create a large haunted set piece with fake monsters and blood when really, a simple red balloon will send the chills down the spine even more? If it’s a horror film you want to watch, dress up, turn the lights off and remember, kiss (keep it simple, stupid).

Should the viewing party be made up of adults and if they are willing, a drinking game may be the way to go. Decide on a film together, find up a drinking game online and away you go! Perhaps make new rules, like ‘sip every time someone gets shot’ or ‘finish your drink if the dog survives’. There is endless possibility when it comes to this type of game and that is the beauty of it. If you don’t drink, substitute the beer for something else of your choosing. It doesn’t have to be alcohol, though based on my own experiences, it may make the film either more baffling or more bearable (I’m looking at you, Cats!)

I hope thistle cheer you up!

Are you lost for things to do during this covid lockdown? Well you’re in luck! Our fantastic volunteers are going out (well, technically staying in) and trialling different activities to give you the lowdown on what’s worth giving a go and what’s a colossal waste of time!                 

I reviewed: Gardening!

Writer: Charlotte
Age: 23

How much time in your day did it take up approximately?

About two hours

On a scale of 1-10 how interesting did you find it?

1= Magnolia paint drying on a particularly cold and damp day

5=Meh, not bad actually

10=Oh my goodness, what a dream, what a delight

My number score for how interesting the activity was: 6

Can you tell us why you gave this answer?

Was it just not your cup of tea, or was it really just so incredibly dull? If it was amazing, what made it so good? I’m lucky in that the days I did gardening were nice. Cos if they weren’t, I would have given a lower score. It’s not the most fun of activities for sure, but getting mud on your skin, marvelling at the worms and having an excuse to go nuts with tools (within reason of course) along with some decent listening on YouTube and it ain’t half bad. A job is done, it looks nice and you have a sense of accomplishment. 

Which of these phrases did you feel while you completed the task?
  • Why did I agree to this?
  • OK, so that kept me entertained for like 5 minutes so that’s fine
  • Better than doing nothing I guess
  • Actually, I’m warming up to this
  • It made me feel productive, so that’s a plus
  • OK, this is kind of fascinating and interesting
  • Alright, this is kinda fun!
  • I feel like I’m learning something
  • I feel really chilled out and calm right now, it’s kinda nice
Please feel free to add anything else you felt, potentially using the above as prompts:
  • *Sees ants’ nest* NOPE! NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE!
  • I am legitimately worried the ants will uprise and avenge their fallen brethren.
  • Yes, I know you see the flowers Mr Bee, but I am not finished planting yet! I’ll let you know when I am.
Would you do it again/can you do it again?


Why is this?

For example, it’s unlikely you would repeat the same e-learning course, but you may do more courses from the same provider. Alternatively, it could have been a really bad course, so you wouldn’t go back to the provider OR do the course again.

I would do it again, but perhaps take a different approach to it. I’m not the most delicate of people and unfortunately, the gardening that I took part in required a rather gentle touch. That said, anytime it requires more muscle, I’m more than happy to get stuck in! Long as there aren’t any ants’ nests involved.

Who do you think would enjoy this activity and why?

Anyone can enjoy gardening, it really doesn’t require that much thought, depending on what it is you’re doing. It truly is a relaxing hobby that can even be done if you don’t have a garden! A cactus from Wilkos, a plant pot, some soil and seeds, it can be done virtually anywhere nowadays. If it has sunlight and it’s warm, you’re good to go.

Who do you think wouldn’t enjoy this activity and why?

I would say those who are prone to being impatient, as it’s not an activity that happens right away, particularly with the growing aspect. On the other hand though, it may actually prove useful in teaching patience, or at the very least, introducing the concept of it.

Animal crossing

Are you lost for things to do during this covid lockdown? Well you’re in luck! Our fantastic volunteers are going out (well, technically staying in) and trialling different activities to give you the lowdown on what’s worth giving a go and what’s a colossal waste of time!  

I reviewed: Animal Crossing New Horizons

Writer: Charlotte
Age: 23

How much time in your day did it take up approximately?

It took: TOO MUCH TIME. But on average, I’d say around three and a half hours?

On a scale of 1-10 how interesting did you find it?

1= Magnolia paint drying on a particularly cold and damp day

5=Meh, not bad actually

10=Oh my goodness, what a dream, what a delight

My number score for how interesting the activity was: 7.5

Can you tell us why you gave this answer?

I didn’t find it all that engaging at first; you’re stuck with a tent that barely has any room and a seemingly impossible debt of 48,000 bells to a bell hungry tyrannical tanuki who may or may not be aware that he is promoting slave labour and forcing you to cough up for the luxury of working for him. However, as the days went on, I got into the swing of things and whilst yes, I am still in a rather large bell debt and am not the biggest fan of my boss, I find it’s actually enjoyable. Seeing the fish in the museum, interacting with neighbours and helping those on the island; it’s everything that can’t be done at this moment in time from the comfort of your own home.

Which of these phrases did you feel while you completed the task?

Actually, I’m warming up to this

It made me feel productive, so that’s a plus

OK, this is kind of fascinating and interesting

Alright, this is kinda fun!

Definitely nerding-out over this

This is worth my time

I’m actually having a nice time

I may have just found a new hobby

I’m actually enjoying communicating with people right now

I feel like I’m fully distracted from the whole pandemic thing (until Gabby reminded you with this prompt, sorry)

I feel safe and warm and fuzzy now

I feel really chilled out and calm right now, it’s kinda nice

I didn’t even realise how much time had passed, I enjoyed this so much

This is going to probably become part of my social distancing routine

This is probably going to be something I do in my normal life now

Please feel free to add anything else you felt, potentially using the above as prompts:

• I may or may not have seen a butterfly and wanted to catch it. Then I remember this is not a game and even if it was, that butterfly would only be worth 400 bells at the most.

  • Aaand it’s another egg.
  • Back, bunny demon! Back from whence you came!
  • *Insert expletives here*
  • Aaand it’s another carp.
  • *Hitting the rock* Why *hit* won’t *hit* you *hit* get me *hit* some clay? *hit*
Would you do it again/can you do it again?


Why is this?

It’s fun. And with how things are, this may be my only getaway this year.

Who do you think would enjoy this activity and why?

Those looking for a relaxing game that doesn’t require a whole lot of skill and stealth, or those wanting to socialise but are unable to do so. With there being less of an emphasis on skill and stealth, it’s very hard to actually go wrong or mess up in this game. Granted, things can happen that affect you, but even then, it’s done in such a way that it’s sort of okay. Got on the wrong side of some wasps? Take some medicine and you’re fine again. Rotten turnips? Least they’re not real.

Corona Virus aside, this is an excellent game for those who wish to socialise as well, but may find it hard to do so in person. Instead of talking with speech, there is the option to talk through words instead, which puts a lot of pressure off those who prefer doing their interacting through the internet and gaming. You can visit others ‘ islands or have people come visit yours, however, there is a slight catch to this. You need friends on the Switch in  order for it to work and for best results, it’s easier to choose the online option rather than the local play one.

Who do you think wouldn’t enjoy this activity and why?

For those who get easily bored and prefer more action based games, this ain’t the one for you, I’m afraid. I’ll admit I get bored as well rather easily, but I didn’t have too much of a problem with it as there’s still plenty to do on the island. That said as well, if you’re not a patient person (such as myself) then this won’t do you any favours. The whole game plays out in real time, so if a character says that something will be completed tomorrow, they mean tomorrow. Not in game mode, where tomorrow may only be an hour, but you have to wait until the next physical day. Now, there is the option of ‘time travel’ where you can adjust the console accordingly, but that is met with controversy, as some say it ruins the whole point of the game.