Seven-year job hunt for Rochester man David Thorne
David Thorne outside the
Medway Messenger office
by Nicola Jordan
Former warehouseman David Thorne has spoken about his
seven-year hunt for a job.
He has joined the ranks of the unemployed who believe they are
being discriminated against because of their age and lack of
Mr Thorne, 64, spoke out after reading in the Medway Messenger
about Ken Roots, who has been on the dole for five years and is
willing to turn his hand to anything to earn a wage rather than
rely on handouts.
Mr Thorne has been trying to get regular work ever since he was
made redundant by Safeway supermarket in 2006, where he worked for
This week he was told that, despite working on and off since he was
15, he was no longer entitled to jobseekers’ allowance.
Mr Thorne said: “I’ve been told I have not paid enough national
insurance in the past two years, which is a kick in the teeth
having worked since I left school.”
He was so keen to highlight his plight that he walked in the
snow from his home in Friston Way, Rochester, to our offices on
Medway City Estate in Strood last week.
The father-of-two, who lives with his wife Sharon, said being
unemployed in Medway was a “complete nightmare”.
He, like Mr Roots, left school with no qualifications and has no
Mr Thorne said: “If you are under 25 there is lots of help. But
for the older unskilled worker there is very little help, so at my
age I don’t hold up much hope, and I am one of the hundreds of
thousands of people in the same position.
“One of the biggest problems is being directed by the Jobcentre
to go online to find a job. I don’t have a computer and have tried
unsuccessfully to grasp computer skills. Another problem is they
expect you to pay travel expenses for up to 90 minutes each way. On
minimum wage I would be out of pocket.
“Gone are the days when the dole office would make a phone call
and arrange an interview. They are not there to help you get
"They are only interested in making sure you have filled
out the right forms to show you are actively looking for work.”
Mr Thorne left the former Temple School in Strood when he was 15
and got a job as a messenger boy on the Isle of Grain.
Mr Roots, 54, (pictured left) of Princes Street, Rochester, said
he has received rejections to hundreds of jobs and hands out on
average seven CVs a week. His jobseekers’ allowance has also been
stopped after being told he is not trying hard enough to find
Mr Roots is currently appealing against this decision.
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