The Centre for Ageing Better is developing a new redundancy support service to help older workers aged between 50 and 64 find fulfilling employment.
The redundancy support project, called “Elevate” and developed together with FareShare Midlands, and funded by Barclays LifeSkills, was jointly commissioned with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
FareShare Midlands are now looking for individuals in the West Midlands who may be impacted by redundancy, particularly in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, and want to get back into employment quickly. 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.
Lucy Kenny, Redundancy and Retraining Project Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “For people 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.”
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.