I feel your pain. I'm beginning to think there is something rotten in the heart of UK HR departments. Over the last two years I've found it harder and harder to get new contracts despite the fact Ive got 25 years experience in a wide range of industries. I've been a BOFH, I've worked on helpdesks, lead agile and waterfall teams, developed in Ada, Fortran, C++, written midlets for mobile phones and created applications that are still being used 15 years later etc ad nauseum.
And at my current job, the developer leads complain they cannot get enough staff - yet when you ask further, it turns out they aren't recruiting in the UK - they get in people from France and Spain. They don't train anyone, they don't run an apprenticeship scheme and they complain that they can't keep the staff for more than a year or two. Unbelievable.