New scheme to help older workers in the West Midlands to bounce back from the shock of redundancy
The Centre for Ageing Better is developing a new redundancy support service with FareShare Midlands and funded by Barclays LifeSkills to help stop older workers falling out of work for good.
The redundancy support project, called Elevate, jointly commissioned with the West Midlands Combined Authority, is looking to create a more supportive approach, helping workers aged between 50 and 64 who have been recently made redundant to find fulfilling employment.
Elevate is designed around the experiences of older workers and to enable them to take control of their future following redundancy. FareShare Midlands are now looking for more individuals in the West Midlands who may be impacted by redundancy, particularly in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, and who want to get back into employment quickly, to join the scheme. At the same time, they want to hear from any employers considering making redundancies.
The manufacturing and automotive sectors chosen for the initial phase are seeing high numbers of traditional roles occupied by long-serving employees disappear because of a number of factors including the impact of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The service aims to help affected workers process the grief and shock of redundancy, and offers immediate support, potentially even before redundancy. It is hoped this approach will reduce the likelihood of long-term economic inactivity compared to existing support which traditionally commences three months after redundancy.
In the West Midlands, older workers have been hardest hit in employment terms; with the employment rate of 50-64 year-olds dropping by three percentage points since the start of the pandemic - compared to 0.5 percentage points for 18-24 year-olds in the region and 1.4 percentage points amongst 50-64s nationally.
Statistics show that redundancy is particularly damaging for older workers, with over-50s generally having greater difficulty getting a new job following redundancy and more likely to fall into long-term unemployment.
Adrian Westwood, 60 from Burntwood, who was recently facing redundancy from his job in the automotive sector and who is featured in a VIDEO explaining more about the project, said:
“It [the redundancy] was the worst time because of my age. I thought I need another five or six years of work really.
“The coaching was fantastic. There were people on the course who couldn’t even switch a laptop on but by the time they had finished the course, they had got their CV updated and had even started applying for jobs. Knowing that when I finished that course, my CV was up to scratch and the proof is in the pudding, I’m at JCB now.”
Lucy Kenny, Redundancy and Retraining Project Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“For people who are being made redundant from life-long or long-term jobs, redundancy can come as a shock and a blow to their self-esteem. The current employment support services on offer often aren’t effective for this group and don’t meet their needs.
“Redundancy for those aged over 50 can result in grappling with a mixture of emotions, new options and changing needs. They need to consider substantial changes to their pension pot, changing health, and training options offered to them. All of this can be overwhelming and difficult to manage.
“Through our process of co-design, we have been able to confidently create a programme that puts the needs and experiences of those going through redundancy at the heart of the course. We hope that the service we develop through the project will be scalable across other regions and other industries.”
Kirstie Mackey, Managing Director, Barclays Citizenship, UK & Europe, said:
“As the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact much of the country, businesses are changing the ways in which they operate. From cutbacks to automation, these changes sadly mean the number of job losses across the West Midlands is increasing.
“For many, this is likely the only job they have ever had and they may require additional support to help them secure a new role. Perfecting a CV or knowing how to perform at your best in interviews can feel quite daunting. But to help these talented and highly skilled individuals get back into the workplace, Barclays LifeSkills is proud to continue to support Elevate and The Centre for Ageing Better. With a wide range of online, free-to-access resources, our content will help anyone set themselves up for success, allowing them to secure a new job with confidence.”
Simone Connolly, CEO of FareShare Midlands, said:
“We are thrilled to be working with Ageing Better on the Elevate over-50s employability programme. COVID-19 and the cost-of-living crisis have both increased the risk of redundancies, and the automotive and manufacturing sectors – key industries in the Midlands – have been particularly affected.
“The loss of a job and regular salary can be devastating, even more so for those over 50 who might struggle to get a new position. We are proud to offer this programme of tailored advice, support and access to opportunities, and hope it helps many people in the West Midlands to overcome redundancy and move forward positively into new roles.”
David Gaughan, Head of Employer Service, at WMCA, said:
A particular focus for WMCA is upskilling and retraining those either at risk or who have recently experienced redundancy to upskill/retrain to find good jobs.
“The collaboration between Ageing Better alongside FareShare Midlands enables us to put this focus into practice that is targeting over 50s to upskill and retrain with wrap around support where we know we have a need to support our residents to gain confidence and re-enter the job market.”
For individuals facing redundancy in the West Midlands, or employers considering making redundancies which may impact older workers, more information about the scheme is available by contacting email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
About the project
Over the past two years, the Centre for Ageing Better has partnered with Barclays LifeSkills and fellow charity Shift Design to research and co-design with older workers at risk of losing their jobs, the effects of redundancy on over 50s and how to improve the support currently on offer.
The course involves groups of affected workers working to support each other through the process alongside a professional coach. Taking a group-coaching approach, the course helps individuals build their confidence around applying for jobs as well as practical skills such as creating a CV, searching for appropriate employment opportunities, and preparing for an interview.
The next phase of the project, which is also being developed in conjunction with the West Midlands Combined Authority, sees a 12-month pilot building on existing findings with the long-term aim of shaping the future of redundancy support.
It builds on 12 months of working with people with lived experience of redundancy in the manufacturing and automotive sector, prototyping and testing a shortlist of ideas created with older workers.
About the Centre for Ageing Better
Everyone has the right to a good life as they get older and our whole society benefits when they do. But far too many people face huge barriers that prevent them from doing so. As a result, many older people are living in bad housing, dealing with poverty and poor health and made to feel invisible in their communities and society.
The Centre for Ageing Better is pioneering ways to make ageing better a reality for everyone.
Its key areas of work include challenging ageism and building a nationwide Age-friendly Movement, creating Age-friendly Employment and Age-friendly Homes.
It is a charitable foundation funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and part of the Government’s What Works Network.
To contact our media team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07795620698.
About FareShare Midlands
FareShare Midlands is the region’s largest food redistribution charity. We take good quality surplus food from the food industry and get it to frontline charities all over the Midlands, reaching more than 67,000 vulnerable people every week.
We turn an environmental problem into a social solution.
We are now moving into meal production by using catering facilities to turn even more nutritious surplus food into meals and meal components, enabling us to grow and diversify the range and usage of the surplus food we receive.
We are also establishing new employability programmes, with the aim to support 400 people to gain experience, skills and jobs by 2024.
Please visit our website: www.faresharemidlands.org.uk
About Barclays LifeSkills
Barclays LifeSkills offers a range of resources for people of all ages to help them upskill themselves for career progression or change by developing the skills essential to move forward in today’s evolving workplace.
For more information about Barclays LifeSkills visit barclayslifeskills.com
Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations, and functional services across the Group.
For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.barclays.com