I have a friend who has been unemployed since last year. She's been applying for jobs below her previous grade (now as a worker rather than team leader), and not getting short-listed, and I have been surprised, since she has 20+ years experience in the field, which is social care/supported living - working with vulnerable adults.
Yesterday I found out some background. She was dismissed for 'gross misconduct' - which (I expect) explains her lack of success so far.
When she gave me details, it sounded to me like she has had a raw deal... She was a team leader, and repeatedly raised issues with management - specifically the fact that one group of workers was not keeping any daily records at all, and that there were safeguarding concerns for a group of service users living in one particular house. Her line manager told her to take certain actions, which were impossible or did not work or did not happen, and each time she flagged this up. She then involved social services - reporting safeguarding concerns and care standard shortcomings - against the wishes of her line manager and senior management, but with their knowledge, not behind their backs.
When SS came in to investigate, her manager blamed her for the problems. She had raised concerns verbally, while her manager was able to provide the emails proving that he had asked her to take certain steps. And it was clear that she had not taken them - but not why, or that she had kept him informed and kept raising concerns. Because she could not prove anything, she was not able to defend herself, and she had no union representation or other support, and was dismissed for 'gross misconduct'.
There were however no safeguarding concerns raised about her practice, and she was not placed on the POVA list.
The job centre have advised her not to give details about her dismissal unless anyone specifically asks. She thinks she should. I also tend to think she should, not only because it's what feels 'right' to her, but also because she is not ever getting the opportunity to explain circumstances, since she is not getting short-listed.
She is experienced, caring, committed to supporting and empowering disabled people to live independent lives, and has never worked in any other field.
Is her career in social care over? Or is there something she can/should do? Does anyone have any relevant experience or advice, please?
I can't provide much of a solution, but I would advise her to join some agencies if she hasn't already.
She will get the opportunity to explain her circumstances to just one company and can build her reputation in other organisations through assignments. It's not perfect in terms of stability but it's a really good way to find an organisation to apply to that fits you well and it always helps to be able to provide a reference from within that organisation.
Thanks Iamsparklyknickers. We were talking about agencies yesterday. she hasn't done this yet because they pay so much less than she was earning and she has been hoping for a permanent job... but I think she'll be doing this very soon.