Weston College programme helps older people back to work

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 September 2013

Members of the Ngage Phoenix programme at Weston College.

Members of the Ngage Phoenix programme at Weston College.

Archant

WESTON residents in their 60s have joined a new programme aimed at helping them back into work.

The Ngage:Phoenix course has been launched by Weston College and focuses on increasing the skills of older people.

Curriculum co-ordinator, Neil Hellin, said: “We are in partnership with JobCentrePlus to deliver this project which is a natural progression from our successful Ngage 19+ programme for jobseekers aged 19-24.

“There are a lot of older highly-skilled people out there who have been made redundant or are looking for a change in direction and we are here to help.”

The course takes place at The Hub at the South West Skills Campus, in Locking Road, and encompasses employability, personal and social development, enterprise skills and projects by business supporters Sainsbury’s to raise money for a local children’s charity.

Sally-Anne Sommerfield, of Hamwood Close, Hutton, is one of the first on the new course.

The 57-year-old worked as a dental nurse for 32 years until she was made redundant last year but has to wait until she is 66 to receive her pension.

She said: “I have to work, so this course is helping me look at transferable skills and challenging us in so many constructive ways.

“I’m learning about organising and funding projects, from making jam for charity to marketing with North Somerset Council. I’m also doing a yoga course and other voluntary work to try and find work.”

The Ngage programmes involve local business mentors paired up with those on the course whom they meet at the start and end of the course, with online, telephone or face-to-face support in between.

Current unemployment figures stand at 2.5 million, with over-50s facing a struggle despite more than one million over-65s working.

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