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Adult son advice please

(60 Posts)
pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 21:18:12

My son is 25 and a NEET. Not by choice but he is struggling to get anything beyond the odd day of casual work.

He underperformed at school; if you talked to him you would think him one of the brightest people you'd ever met but nevertheless an expensive education only left him with two Ds and an E at A level. I have recently discovered that he couldn't actually handwrite properly and he's been working on that. I think that he might be mildly autistic but he's never been diagnosed.

His schooling was disrupted by our move abroad when he was 12. He went then to a British International School and unfortunately found himself as part of the first cohort to take the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, rather than GCSEs. It was not terrifically successful for anyone and certainly not for my son, though he did scrape a pass.

At his choice he then went to another school to do A levels. This period coincided with a marked deterioration in my husband's health and I took my eye off the ball. Son went through a bad patch, mixed with the wrong crowd, and generally didn't put his back into his work. His A level results were entirely justified.

On leaving school he did a year of basic accountancy training at evening classes but gave it up. At the same time he got a job in some sort of financial services start up but it folded. After messing about for a while he finally decided to try teaching English as a foreign language. He did a training course and then lived in Europe for a year but couldn't earn enough to keep himself and finally returned after a year, much skinnier.

His father died a few months later and son and I returned to the UK at the end of 2016. I found a reasonable job with little difficulty but he has found nothing. He has been rejected for real work, voluntary work, access courses, foundation degrees - you name it, he hasn't been able to get it.

He's not horrible. A bit shy, a bit diffident. Horribly depressed and dejected, of course. He speaks with a posh accent which might put some people off but surely not everyone. He leads a pretty blameless life nowadays.

One thing which has surfaced recently was that a websearch of his name plus our town leads to an article about a violent criminal of the same name. Not my son of course but it appears that at least one college rejected him because they thought it was him. They purported to reconsider once the mistake was pointed out to them but rejected him again.

One final point - he is apparently unable to claim Universal Credit (all that's available in our area) because I earn (just) too much. Which also seems to mean that he cannot access any governmental help to get out of this hole.

MissAdventure Tue 27-Aug-19 21:36:07

I'm convinced your son should be getting whatever is the equivalent of job seekers allowance.

Does he have a plan of action?
Is he going to the job centre and seeing a work coach?

Time for him to strike out, I think.
As for the other issues.. he has had things happening as he's grown up, very much like lots of other people.

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 21:38:28

No JSA available in this area, MissAdventure, just UC. But not Universal enough for him, it would appear sad.

Grannyknot Tue 27-Aug-19 21:45:36

Hi Pen how unfortunate and what a worry for you. Has he tried Waterstones or any bookshop? What about Timpsons? Depending on whether they are in your area of course. I know Timpsons have a policy of helping people into work.

Tesco? A nephew of ours washed pots in a pub kitchen and is now an Assistant Chef.

My suggestions might not be much help, I just cant stand it when young people fall through the net.

Good luck!

wildswan16 Tue 27-Aug-19 21:47:53

Surely JSA is nationwide and does not depend on where you live? So long as you are still in the UK. Please check with the CAB or other advice agency.

What reasons have been given for his rejection at interviews for jobs or voluntary work. Has he followed all the protocols set down by the Job Centre to look for work? Is he applying for jobs that he is qualified or able to do.

MissAdventure Tue 27-Aug-19 21:48:25

MissAdventure Tue 27-Aug-19 21:50:30

If your son is a job seeker and over 18, he will be entitled to at least £53 a week, regardless of what the benefit is now called.

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 21:54:56

Genuinely, there is no Jobseeker's Allowance available in this area. We have tried, honest! If you fill in that form and put in our postcode, it redirects to the UC site. And certainly at the last time of trying, I earned too much for my son to be able to claim UC because he lives with me and the entire household income is taken into account, not just a partner's.

petra Tue 27-Aug-19 21:56:23

You say your son couldn't make a living in Europe teaching English as a foreign language.
My friend has been teaching this subject in Russia for 3 years now and has a good lifestyle.
He comes back to the uk 3 times a year. Maybe your son could look outside Europe ( cheaper living )

MissAdventure Tue 27-Aug-19 21:57:10

So, you'll be keeping him for the foreseeable future then?
I'm no expert on the system but surely that's not right?!

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 21:58:33

CAB looks like a possibility - I'll point him towards that. Apparently Job Centres seem to do little nowadays except provide computer access.

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 22:01:23

I know, MissAdventure. It seems rather unfair. But apparently I am expected to keep on working until he can claim a pension himself - except that if course he won't be able to because he hadn't any No record

silverlining48 Tue 27-Aug-19 22:02:35

You mention your son leads a pretty blameless life ‘nowadays.’ Is there a backstory there which makes him less employable? Does he have references, and does he actually want to get a job?
He would have to be prepared to start at the bottom of ladder if necessary. That means, as MissAdventure says, getting himself to the job centre to get help with finding something, either training or a job of some sort. He is still young, it’s not too late.
I am sorry, you must be so concerned but he has to want this fir himself. I hope things work out.

MissAdventure Tue 27-Aug-19 22:10:21

The only info I can find is that universal credit claimants don't get help with housing costs if they live with family.

Your son would qualify for job seekers, and all that universal credit has done is merge all the benefits.

So... its worth pursuing, for your own sake as well as your sons.

There is no reason for him to allow you to keep him.

Allegretto Tue 27-Aug-19 22:13:24

If he can’t get a paid job, what about doing some voluntary work? He might be able to find something that provides board and maybe some small allowance. Is working (volunteering) in a Camphill Community something he might consider?

Greytin94 Tue 27-Aug-19 22:24:06

I have 2 adult children both living at home, both with degrees and one with a masters, struggling to find permanent work. They have both gone to our local ‘Hub’, and have been appointed a work coach. They offer schemes specifically for 16 to 25 year olds not in
Permanent work .Their adviser helps with job searches, arranges voluntary work in fields they’re interested in, helps with CV’s and can also advise on benefits. It might be s good idea if you go along to your local ‘Hub’ to see if there’s a similar scheme locally. It’s not means tested or dependant on qualifications. Hope this helps

Joyfulnanna Tue 27-Aug-19 22:29:09

Very dispiriting for you both. I think volunteering is the best course of action for him. This will give valuable work experience. He needs to be with people who are doing meaningful work rather than relying on benefits. Can you support him for six months? He needs to build his self esteem. The working world is tough but he needs to jump in.

Soozikinzi Tue 27-Aug-19 22:36:57

One of my sons has terrible hand writing- really bad - so he has been allowed to use a keyboard for all his education so surely your son should have had the same treatment? Could he sign up to an agency to work as a classroom support? They are usually crying out for them in our area anyway. I hope he can get out of his rut soon xx

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 22:44:12

No criminal record, silverlining48, but he was a difficult adolescent sad. Much improved now.

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 22:45:51

Even for voluntary work, no one seems to want him. It's very odd.

agnurse Tue 27-Aug-19 22:49:08

Are there no entry-level jobs, at least, available in his area? Even if he's employed working in fast food or as a dishwasher or prep cook, he'll be doing something.

I recognize that not everyone is this fortunate, but when I was a high school and early college student, I worked in fast food for a boss who had started at the entry level and worked her way into management. Originally she had been employed in fast food part-time while she did her diploma (2-year program) in broadcast journalism at the local college. She worked her way into management, and eventually she was earning more than a radio station would ever pay her as a DJ. When I first started, she was the assistant manager at our restaurant. She left shortly thereafter to become the senior assistant manager at another restaurant in the same chain, then returned to be our new restaurant general manager after the old one left.

At the very least, entry-level will give him some experience and he can put that on a job or college application.

M0nica Tue 27-Aug-19 22:54:33

First: Speak to CAB, they can advise on benefits and local charities who work with young people who have difficulty finding work.

Second: Arrange for your son to be seen and assessed by an educational psychologist, In particular to assess whether he is autistic. If he has difficulties with writing the causes could be that he has mild dyspraxia, poor fine motor control that can make writing difficult, a problem that I and my DS have or he could have dysgraphia, which is a difficulty in encoding words in writing (separate from dyslexia which is a problem with decoding words which are written). Get these problems checked out.

he leads a pretty blameless life these days what does this mean? Does a search on his name bring up his previous misdemeanours? As for the local criminal with the same name. The ideal thing would be a statement from the police to say that is not him.

But he could also address this problem directly in any application or its accompanying letter. State that unfortunately there is someone with his name in his town with a criminal record and a search on his name will bring this up. I assume this criminal is not exactly the same age with the same birthday, so point that out in the letter.

SueDonim Tue 27-Aug-19 22:58:45

Could he retake his A Levels (or take new ones) at college to give himself a boost? Or maybe some other type of college course.

Is he able to start his own business, gardening, handyman, window-cleaning? All those services are in high demand round here and pay well above minimum wage!

suziewoozie Tue 27-Aug-19 22:59:44

It just can’t be true in a million years that a 25 year old living with his mother can’t get benefits because of her earnings - it just can’t be true - am I going mad?

pen50 Tue 27-Aug-19 23:12:49

I think my phraseology is leading some of you to read more into it than I meant. He was can averagely difficult adolescent, drank a bit, smoked, a bit of weed, arguments, that sort of thing. Nowadays he drinks very little, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs, and his biggest addiction is political websites. That's what I mean by blameless!