Former Yarmouth soldier’s hunt for civilian job

HE fought for his country in conflicts across the globe during his 21 years as a soldier.

But since leaving the forces last July, Jason Dale has not been able to find work anywhere - even being turned down for jobs as a bin man, cleaner and bartender.

Mr Dale, 41, was a corporal with the Pioneer Regiment when he retired from military life, and used his resettlement grant to train in fibre optics.

He had been stationed in Oxfordshire, but moved to North Quay in Great Yarmouth when he left the army so he could be near his four children, aged from six to 18, who live in Martham.

When he saw there were not many jobs in fibre optics around Yarmouth, Mr Dale trained in security systems and data communications - including burglar alarm fitting, CCTV and wireless computer technology.

After struggling for work in both industries, he says he swallowed his pride and applied for any job he could find including being a bin man, bar work and cleaning jobs.

But despite applying for - on average - three jobs every week, Mr Dale has only received two replies since last August.

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Both replies were to turn him down, and Mr Dale says he is disheartened that some people do not realise the skills ex-soldiers have - which are equivalent to skills gained in the work place.

“I served my country and I would like to think that I served my country well,” he said. “I am not asking for handouts or charity and I understand that many people are without jobs these days.

“All I would like is to see people spend that moment to say ‘sorry, thanks, but no thanks’ and of course be given the opportunity to earn a wage rather than relying on Job Seekers’ Allowance and housing benefit.”

He added he has a wealth of management experience from working in the army, and has communication skills from working with peoples from throughout the world on hearts and minds missions.

“There should be some sort of understanding that ex-soldiers do a job then move on into civilian life,” he said. “Employers see how long someone has spent in the forces and think they will have to retrain them, but they might not have to.”

He says he does not have enough money to launch his own business, and is not sure how to gain experience or better his CV when no-one will take him on and few people even acknowledge his job applications.

“I didn’t think it was going to be this hard,” said Mr Dale. “For someone who’s worked for the last 21 years, six months is a long time to be unemployed.”

Mr Dale joined the army in 1990 and has served in tours across the globe.