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Neil Hrd Posted 7 months ago
No references

I have recently returned to Britain after 17 years teaching English in China. I am 66 but still fit and energetic. I am not ready to stop working yet but I’m having trouble finding anything. The problem is that I have no checkable work history or refences from UK employers in recent years and everybody wants them, even for shelf stacking in Tesco, or working as a volunteer in a charity shop. Chinese companies don’t give references the way UK companies do and in my last two schools nobody else can speak or write decent English anyway. I still have some good friends here in Loughborough but they are not in professional jobs or employers so they don’t count. I still enjoy teaching and I did nothing wrong in China. My visa was not renewed because of my age. But I can’t get an enhanced DBS check from the Chinese Public Security Bureau for teaching jobs either because the Chinese embassy in London will not co-operate for political reasons. Have any other returned expats encountered this kind of problem? Any suggestions how I can get round it? I am pretty flexible about the kind of work I do. The main thing I am looking for is the chance to interact with people; I am spending far too much time alone.

4 likes & 4 replies
    • Dogtired 13th January 2022 at 8:27 am

      Hi Neil, I don’t know how to get round the reference problem, sorry, but I have signed up as an exam invigilator at a local school. They’ll need a DBS check done but counting teaching in China should qualify! Maybe the school would be interested in a Chinese language after school club? Or join the U3a, ours has loads of groups so I’m planning to try lots of new things. I’m not far from Loughborough, I’m East Notts. Good luck & let me know how you get on.

    • Suz Cambridge 13th January 2022 at 10:24 am

      Starting from scratch back home after so many years abroad is not easy. Look for “informal” volunteer roles that do not require DBS checks and build up UK references that way. Example – local community projects like Wildlife Trust or Church activity, or join walking or cycling clubs…after 6 months or so the project leaders or supervisors may be able to help with reference about your work contributions and character references. This will help you get into the next proper charity volunteer or paid role? Meanwhile it is also easier to also offer private tuition (English and other subjects) to international students in your neighbourhood/town area? For example, there are many international students (in Cambridge/London etc) and many private tutors/PhD students advertise their tutoring services in local libraries or supermarket noticeboards….ALSO —remember your many years’ experience teaching Chinese students in China…will be highly regarded by Chinese students/parents here in UK — they & their parents/guardians will be able to recognise your teaching experience in Chinese colleges Universities etc — they understand there is no requirement for references in China. (I had the same problem after working 7 years in HK, had to re-start my career back in UK after the British handover in 1998)

    • manojranaweera 12th February 2022 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Neil

      In the meantime, if you like to volunteer and gain some experience, you might want to check out https://skilledup.life which I founded during Covid 19. Please note you cannot earn through us. But you can get the brain stimulated, feel appreciated and you might even learn something new.

    • Merrion49 16th February 2022 at 3:12 pm

      It might help if you say where you are living since people from all over the UK can see this. Good luck.