Ex-Burnley soldier’s unemployment shame
In the same week the nation marked Remembrance Day and paid tribute to Servicemen and women everywhere, dad-of-two Joseph Wade (25), who has served in the Queen’s Guards and Scots Guards, told how he has applied for thousands of jobs without success.
Now he has been reduced to sleeping on friends’ sofas after the pressure of constantly looking for work took its toll on his relationship with his partner, Eleanor (27).
Joseph left the Army five years ago. After spending time in Greece, where he was born, looking after his poorly mother and grandmother, he returned to Burnley but has been unable to find employment, despite being willing to try his hand at anything or move to another part of the country.
He said he has now hit rock bottom and has had to move out of the family home in Burnley.
“I fought for this country and, at the end of the day, I’ve protected the people of this nation and now I can’t find any work,” he said.
“I had to move out because I can’t face looking at my two boys knowing I can’t provide for them.”
And Joseph, who said he and Eleanor have had to go without food themselves to feed their sons, Joseph (5) and Orpheus (2), said he is not the only ex-soldier in Burnley struggling to find work.
“There are lots of veterans out there who are struggling and want to work,” he said.
“They just want to lead a normal life and not feel worthless.
“When I first came back to Burnley the Armed Forces groups helped me out with accommodation but they have so many people to help.
“I know one ex-Servicemen who has slept in a stable because he has no home to go to.
“Once we take the oath of allegiance there should be a rule to protect us and enable us to get a job when we leave so we don’t feel pushed out.”
He has been to countless appointments at the Job Centre but is often told he is either overqualified or not skilled enough for the vacancies available.
Eleanor said: “It’s hard watching the person that you love fall into depression every day. We are desperate for him to get a job, the pressure has broken this family up.
“It’s so stressful. That he is prepared to go and literally beg for work shows how much he wants a job.
“There must be somebody who can offer him a job, he is willing to do anything.”
Joseph, who grew up in Barnoldswick, has travelled to Manchester for job interviews but has been told the distance is too great for him to work there.
He has stopped receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance as he said he was too ashamed to keep going to the Job Centre and claimed some of the staff were unhelpful.
“I used to be proud of who I was. I’ve even looked into going back to college to better myself but I can’t afford to. I just don’t know what to do,” he said.
“Being a soldier was one of my proudest moments but now I feel worthless. I just want to be able to work and live a normal life and set a good example to my children so they grow up to be good men.”