Two Wiltshire residents have proved it’s never too late to change career after struggling to find work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the impact of the pandemic has hit younger workers hardest, older workers too have been left in a precarious position, particularly as the furlough scheme ends this month.
Earlier in the year, over a quarter of furlough jobs were held by the over 50s, some 1.3 million people, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Latest labour market statistics, published this month, show a small drop in the employment rate for over 50s this year to 71.2%, with nearly 800,000 people aged 50-64 either actively seeking or willing to work.
Employment and health specialist Seetec Pluss has recently supported two men aged over 55 into new career opportunities, after they were referred to the Government’s Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme.
Robert Ellis, 60 from Trowbridge, was made redundant in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and was referred to the JETS programme. Robert explained: “I was having problems negotiating my way around the digital world of applying for work and needed more 1:1 support.
“Seetec Pluss provided me with a PC, pointing me in the right direction to find jobs and supporting me to apply for vacancies. My main barrier was my lack of digital skills. I have been self-employed most of my life, so this was all new to me. My Employment Advisor kept me motivated.
“I was put forward for a multi-skilled operative position with a building services specialist. I was delighted when I was told I had got the position and I started my new job a week later. Financially this has put me in a much better position, but it has also improved my mental wellbeing, by giving me back a routine and some purpose.”
Robert has already completed his Level 2 Electrical Installation qualification and is looking forward to completing Level 3.
Stephen Goodwood, 55 from Swindon, had 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry when he was made redundant two years ago. He said: “Shortly after, my father was diagnosed with cancer and I spent almost two years caring for him before he sadly passed away.
“This really affected me and although I wanted to return to work, I was a little lost on where to begin, and with the pandemic hitting, it put my industry on its knees.
“My Seetec Pluss Advisor kept me motivated with regular calls and helped me re-train and gain certificates in first aid, food hygiene, business administration and customer care to help me transition into a new career. This supported my confidence to move forward.
“I have now moved into a different industry, facilities management, and I have secured a fabrication technician position that is varied and interesting for a great company with fantastic pay.
“Seetec Pluss supported me with purchasing tools for this position. Having this job has given me back my self-respect, motivation with life and a financial freedom and security that I did not have whilst I was on benefits. I am now really looking forward to the future.”
Seetec Pluss Operations Director Tara Fisher said: “The JETS Scheme provides jobseekers with a lifeline of support to help them rebuild their confidence, self-belief and get back into sustainable work.
“Age should not define career opportunities. Working closely with each person, our coaches offer 1:1 personalised support to help people identify transferrable skills, prepare CVs, get through the difficult days and feel confident about the talents they have to offer.
“Stephen and Robert are great examples of jobseekers who have embraced re-skilling and have been successful in transitioning to new careers later in life. Due to Covid, the jobs market is challenging at the moment, but the opportunities are still out there.”
Seetec Pluss is the prime contractor for the Work and Health Programme JETS in Cornwall, Devon, Avon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Sussex. To find out more:
Jobseekers: Want to get back into work fast? https://www.seetecpluss.co.uk/programme/work-and-health-programme-jets/
Employers: Looking for a great job-ready candidate: https://www.seetecpluss.co.uk/employers/recruiting-for-recovery/
Note to editors
● The Work and Health JETS Programme is an expansion of the Work and Health Programme (which supports people to get back into work). It is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.
● JETS stands for ‘Job Entry Targeted Support’.
● It is anticipated that Work and Health Programme JETS will support 50,000 people over a 12-month period.
● JETS tailored support is available over the phone or online. Face-to-face appointments can be organised at a Covid-secure office following an initial telephone discussion.
Statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/economic-labour-market-status-of-individuals-aged-50-and-over-trends-over-time-september-2021/economic-labour-market-status-of-individuals-aged-50-and-over-trends-over-time-september-2021#employment (September 9 2021)
For further information please contact: Nancy Rogers 07779 251 711 Nancy.firstname.lastname@example.org