A DRIVER whose career was cut short by a stroke is heading to China after ‘losing all hope’ of finding work in Uttoxeter’s ‘dismal’ jobs market.
Unlucky Nicholas Blurton had applied for more than 3,000 jobs without success when positions at Carter’s Square became available earlier this year.
He told the Post and Times he hoped the new state-of-the-art shopping centre would end his five-year job search.
But his applications for the centre’s Asda and Holland and Barrett stores were ignored.
The 52-year-old is now resigned to leaving the country to work for a friend who moved to the Far East to open a chain of beauticians.
He said: “I’m going to be talking to Fox’s to see if they’ll take me on in their twilight shift but, if that doesn’t come off, I’ll be packing my bags and going to China.
“If I could find a job round here I would certainly stay, but I’ve lost all hope of that happening, particularly in Uttoxeter.
“When Carter’s Square was being touted as a welcome boost to the town’s jobs market, it really gave me hope I might be able to start contributing to the economy.
“I applied for shop floor roles at Asda and Holland and Barrett but have heard nothing back.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because, although my stroke left me with speech and mobility problems, I know I could do these jobs.
“Now it looks like I’m going to be forced to leave the town, and even the country, to get regular work which leaves me with a really heavy heart.
“It’s a sad state of affairs and I can’t pretend I don’t think my age and disability have been massive obstacles in the way of me finding work.”
Mr Blurton was forced to abandon a well-paid career as a lorry driver when he suffered a stroke in 2009.
It left him having to ‘learn to walk and talk all over again’ and he was banned from driving.
Since then, despite applying for thousands of roles all over the UK, he has been out of work.
Although he has been volunteering at Ashbourne’s Salvation Army shop, Mr Blurton is ‘desperate to earn a living and contribute to the economy’.
He said: “It’s very sad that it looks like I’m going to have to leave to make a living, because I love living in Uttoxeter.
“But that’s the reality and, although it’s really frustrating, I have to take all the steps I possibly can to ensure I’m earning a living.
“It frustrates me because it wasn’t my fault I had a stroke.”
A spokesperson from Asda said: “We can’t comment on individual cases as to why they didn’t make it through the online application.
“As with all new stores we receive a much higher number of applications than jobs available leaving some people disappointed.”
Holland and Barrett was unable to get a comment to the Post and Times in time to go to press.