A man has said he is unable to get a job and feels 'overlooked' because of a facial disfigurement.
Jay Short, from Newport, Wales, has a facial disfigurement and said he has had to overcome years of barriers because of his appearance.
The 39-year-old has claimed he has been turned down for numerous jobs in recent months despite sending off plenty of applications and having years of experience in the sectors he's been applying to.
This has resulted in him having no choice but to apply for universal credit to help make ends meet.
He recently had a job interview for a role at a company he had applied to previously, and said the hiring managers were 'impressed' with his CV and experience.
However, Jay says that when he was put forward to complete a video interview, things turned sour.
"I got myself ready, got onto the call and literally while I was turning my sound on they disconnected the call," he said.
Jay claims he later got a text message advising him them the company wouldn't be taking his application further.
"I asked why and they replied saying they had interviewed me for a role before," he explained.
"I used to be a manager and I've re-interviewed people 10 times for roles in the past and that's never been a thing. Every company that has not fobbed me off has said feel free to apply for any position in the future."
Jay was left upset by the incident and he explained how he'd experienced numerous situations over the years where he felt he'd been overlooked due to his appearance.
He said it has been especially hurtful as he has almost 20 years of experience in hospitality including running teams, events and functions. Despite this, even roles below his level of experience are turning him down.
"Last summer I went to an interview where they said, 'We love your CV' and asked me to come in. I walked through the door and they were looking around, not coming out, talking to someone else in there.
"They eventually came out to me and said, 'I've just given the job away'. I just didn't believe them as I'd spoken to them half an hour ago. They had spent the previous few days ringing me and making sure I was still coming.
"And then when I turned up they wouldn't give me more than 30 seconds."
Jay said his disfigurement has never affected his work and that he has had to overcome a lot of confidence issues over the years.
"It left me feeling really kind of down. It [my disfigurement] has never affected my ability to work anywhere. I've worked my way up from the bottom, from glass collecting to management roles, through all the obstacles, and then you've got some companies not giving people with disabilities a chance.
"I broke a lot of barriers and pushed myself to get out there. For years I had no confidence, I wouldn't leave my house. It was when I started working that I built my confidence up, and that was going really well until Covid.
"I've had my CV touched up and the Job Centre said it looks really good, that I have loads of experience and there is no reason why I should be unemployed. I know people are struggling but places are crying out for people, and then there's some companies that won't even give you a chance because you don't visually fit in with what they want.
"I go for inferior roles, like bar roles, and get told, 'You're not what we're looking for' over and over again. It's quite heart-breaking and I can't keep doing it."
Jay said he often gets complimented in the early stages of applications before people meet him and 'shut down'.
"It's the most hurtful thing. My partner has never seen me so broken as when I come back after an interview.
"I'm at the point now where I can't find work. I'm struggling and I'm on universal credit, which doesn't cover anything anymore. It makes life extremely hard. There was one time last year that I had to choose between paying my rent and eating.
"My partner is fantastic and helps me out when she can, but I have always worked and I never wanted to be that person."
Despite being part of the Welsh Government Disability Confident scheme, which aims to help employers be more inclusive in employing those with disabilities, Jay said he feels many companies are not playing their part.
"People higher up in companies don't know what's going on or why people are not getting jobs," he said. "It's about letting the hierarchy know that people are not being given a chance. It's horrendous.
"I wanted to talk about it because I'm not going to be treated like that. One other person might see it and realise it's the same thing that has happened to them."