Test and Trace workers across the country have been left with a sense of worry following signs of pandemic ending. After being lucky enough to find employment during the past hellish year, will they be back to square one after the pandemic ends?
After over a year of being in a constant coronavirus cycle, there seems to be some light seen at the end of this dark tunnel. This past year has been filled with uncertainty for everyone across the world. All of us have been affected in some shape or form during this, whether it is losing a loved one or your job, having to change your spending habits in order to get by or negative effects on mental health after being stuck in doors for such a long time away from family and friends.
Shannon, 22, currently working on a Test and Trace site, lost her full time job as a flight attendant at the start of the pandemic. “It was my dream job, I studied really hard for this and it took me years to get to where I was. I had it all torn away from me in a blink of an eye”. Shannon is one of many working on the Test and Trace site that began the year of 2020 with losing a job due to the pandemic. “We have been lucky enough to find jobs in Test and Trace, I don’t want to imagine what others are going through that haven’t been lucky enough to find jobs”, said Shannon.
Over 80% of the people working on the same Covid site as Shannon will be left jobless when the site closes. With the existing stress of living through a pandemic, the added stress of being back to square one in the employment seeking process can be a huge strain on the mental well being of those employees. There are currently thousands of employees working on Regional Testing Sites (RTS), Local Testing Sites (LTS) and Mobile Testing Units (MTU).
Now, with signs of coronavirus becoming a thing of the past, Shannon and thousands of others working on Test and Trace sites across the UK, are beginning to get the same feeling of worry as they had after Coronavirus tore away their careers in 2020. “We don’t really know when this is all going to end and when the sites will begin to shut down, all we know is that sooner or later it will happen and we may be back to square one and in desperate search of jobs again.”
New figures published by the Office of National Statistics show that almost 830,000 people lost their jobs due to the pandemic which began here in the UK in March 2020. “I’m worried at how difficult it is going to be to find a job after all of this due to the amount of unemployed people seeking jobs” says Shannon. Many of the staff have been searching for jobs throughout this but have sadly been unsuccessful so far.
Many members of Shannon’s family have been affected during the pandemic in the same way Shannon has. Her mum, her sister and brother all lost their full time jobs at the start of the pandemic, leaving the family to rely on the salary of her father. “Don’t get me wrong, I want this to all be over as much as the next person does, but I can’t help but worry about finding a job, will I be lucky enough to find employment this soon again after it all ends?”.
Like Shannon, the majority of staff working on the sites will be left jobless when this is all over. Despite patiently waiting for normality to return, the worry and uncertainty of their jobs and what is to come after, has been overwhelming at times.