Thursday, 26 February 2009

Sometimes in life we have to suffer hardship…

It’s been more than 9 weeks since my husband, Charlie, was made redundant from Flexys Ruabon works. Initially, the shock of no money coming in kept us from sleeping. Then, there was news of an opening in another part of the works. He was told there were three vacancies, lasting a further two years. Not long I know, but it would steer us through the dreaded credit crunch tears. Many people, including his personnel manager put a good word in the manager’s ears. I prayed he’d be successful. But not leaving this to chance, I also asked the universe for help. (If it’s good enough for Noel Edmunds, it’s good enough for me.)

The nail-nibbling wait was horrendous. I had to know which way the job was going to go. So I consulted the cards. One card I’d rather not see the - five of coins (pentacles) came fluttered out of the pack. The pauper card warns of loss and uncertainty and difficult times ahead. And although I should be counting my blessings, a dark cloud floated over my head. I peeked at my cards twice more after this, and both times had the same earth-shattering outcome. Depressed, I packed away the cards, I couldn’t face further readings.

On the day of the interview, Charlie was feeling quietly confident and perhaps a little too nonchalant. As a result, didn’t get the job.

Being told they were making you redundant just two weeks before December 25th, takes the shine off Christmas.

So, at 52 he was -for the first time - signing on at the dole. If that wasn’t degrading and depressing enough, the guy behind the desk told him, there was not only no jobs in manufacturing, but no jobs full stop!

Not one to lie down and die, he contacted a Flintshire company about learning to drive buses. In the interview, he was told the intense course would cost around £1, 500. There was a little help from the redundancy Action Scheme with the Welsh Assembly (ReAct). It’s to help people gain new skills and gets them back to work A.S.A.P. With Charlie’s application being successful, ReAct will kindly provide us with almost half this amount.

The downside was he had to have a £90 medical examination first. And new glasses costing another £74. Then for the driving course, he first has to pay up front. Fortunately, his redundancy cheque (which shrinks a little more each month) will just about cover this.

The flip side of the coin is, there's a shortage of bus drivers. However, Charlie read somewhere the pass rate is not very high. If he fails his test we'll have to fork out the whole amount, or pay for further lessons. So as you can see, failing is not an option.

Charlie passed three written tests with flying colours on Tuesday, so today, his 28, intense, driving lessons begins...

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