Record may dash student’s prospects

A social work student who finished her diploma last month fears she
will never get a job in social care after losing out on a position
because of her criminal past.

Single mother of four Hermione Sterling has seven spent convictions
for deception dating back eight years. She completed a six-month
placement in older people’s services at Kent Council during her
course, then signed a temporary contract with the children and
families department which she was told would become permanent this
month at the end of her course.

After declaring her convictions on the job application, Sterling,
who at the time of the crimes had been suffering domestic abuse at
the hands of her partner, a drug misuser, was asked to explain more
about the circumstances in which they had occurred.

She was later rejected after one of three references was deemed to
be unsatisfactory.

Sterling said: “I was told that perhaps I would have more success
working with another client group. But I worked for six months
without any problems with older people and they are

“It was hard for me to do the course because I have children and it
was full time.

“I now have all these student loans I took out to do it and have no
job to pay them back.”

In a statement, Kent Council said: “We gave serious consideration
to both the reference of the most recent employer and the Criminal
Records Bureau check and we reached the decision that employment
should not be offered.

“We were particularly concerned about the extent of the offences
and the length of time over which they occurred.”

The council added that it was “very concerned” that it had not been
informed by the university about Sterling’s record.

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