The Bureau of Applied History

These people are looking for a new career. They’ve noticed that a Government Agency – one they’ve never heard of before, which is rather strange – is advertising for trainees. Apparently, no qualifications or prior experience is needed. Each has filled out the preliminary application, and is waiting to hear the result. Who will you be?

(1) Mary Evans, female, white (68): two daughters and five grandkids, about to retire from her job as a primary school teacher, and keen to avoid becoming a permanent babysitter. Once in a way, fine: day in day out – no chance. She’d rather be dealing with adults, for a change.

(2) Deana Taylor, female, mixed race (48): no kids, been working in insurance for the past 30 years, but her company’s being bought out, and her job’s being replaced by software. She’s anxious – and aware that companies might find her too old for a new start – but eager to have a go at something different.

(3) Aisha Abasi, female, asian (26): no kids, currently doing PR after starting off in marketing, doing a part-time degree in web design. Looking for a job that offers a bit more security – but one that’s still exciting and unpredictable. She doesn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all her life.

(4) Syd Johnson, genderqueer, white (36): one daughter, who’s just left home for uni. Has worked a range of part-time and shared jobs to fit with childcare needs – shop manager, librarian, office administrator – but is now looking for a more focused career with a clearer future.

(5) James Hughes, male, black (38): no kids, did a degree in history, took a law conversion course to become a solicitor with a focus on property law – but increasingly wonders if he should have tried for a PhD in history and an academic career.

(6) Martin Atkins, male, white (55): a son and daughter, has worked as a nurse in the NHS all his life – but is tired and burned out. He’s too young to retire – he can’t afford to retire, come to that! But most of all, he still wants his job to make a difference, and to know he’s helping people.

(7) Benjie Holden, male, white (18): failed his A-levels, doesn’t really want to go to University (or re-sit his A-levels), but his parents won’t let him live at home unless he either does that or gets a job. So he’s looking for a job – preferably one that isn’t a 9-5 grind.