Following on from my piece last week on redundancy and how I and my colleagues responded, this week I want to look at the support that is available to help people who are made redundant. The support available through public services varies across the regions of UK, so there are a number of useful sources under each heading. My colleagues and I, all too quickly, became “experts” on the ins and outs of it all, and realised that providing support and sharing advice was essential; we built on this idea of community by creating a group Facebook page for the purpose.
If the redundancy process runs smoothly, employers will engage with the local careers service to give advice and support to you as a staff. My redundancy occurred too quickly for that to happen; but the local careers advisers confirmed that they could have given support on CVs, applications, interviews, training opportunities and on claiming state benefits, understanding tax calculations and money management.
Careers advice or coaching
Many of my colleagues directed their own job hunting and were able to use their support networks to try out ideas and embark on alternative routes of employment, training or setting up their own business. For others, the prospect of writing CVs, completing application forms and sitting interviews was something they hadn’t had to do for a long time, so they sought advice. It’s here that the expert help of a careers adviser or coach goes a long way to smooth the process. Our local careers service organised a group session on CVs, followed by individual advice meetings. This proved entertaining for them as they were faced with a group, including English teachers, assessing the vocabulary and grammar of the exemplars they used.
One useful outcome of the group CV session was to get colleagues to reflect supportively on each other’s transferable skills and suggest suitable phrases for personal profiles on their CVs. Many staff reviews/appraisals that happen within jobs do not look beyond success in their current post. These opportunities gave an interesting insight and confirmation of wider abilities. If you are in the same position as other people you know, why not set up an informal group session to do this?
National career services across the UK have different systems and support in place for redundancy:
In England contact your local Jobcentre and ask for their Rapid Response Service.
In Northern Ireland, contact the Careers Service.
In Scotland, use the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).
In Wales, use the ReAct scheme.
For some colleagues, they needed a more focused approach and are exploring help through an Independent Career Professional or Companies. We’re looking forward to offering this in the future as a service for subscribers to Stay Nimble as our capacity builds; if you need help right now, have a look at the Careers Development Institute register for a list of highly qualified careers advisors and coaches.
If you have that long-held ambition to set up your own enterprise using your skills and qualifications, there is a lot of advice available to you across all the UK regions. They offer introductory business sessions, guidance on tax, employing others and marketing among the many sessions they provide. Check out help for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Funding for studying and re-training
Moving into other areas of work can often require further study or training. The funding available varies markedly across the UK, especially for certain professions. For example, if you want to retrain as a teacher there are a number of bursaries available in shortage subjects, but the amounts are different in England and Scotland.
Across the UK you can apply to the Professional and Career Development Loan scheme and you may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000. But note the scheme is closing on the 25 January 2019. Loans are also available for Masters level study in the UK; you can read more about general university funding in our article here.
In England, you can apply for a further education loan if you are over 24 and want to study A Levels, Access to Higher Education Diplomas or similar level courses.
In Scotland, Individual Training Accounts give access to £200 per year for training and skills development for industry recognised qualifications.
In Wales the ReAct scheme can provide a contribution towards the cost of vocational training courses up to £1,500. Ask at your local Careers Wales office.
Simon is an experienced careers advisor and teacher. He is currently extending his qualifications by completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development. He is a member of the Career Development Institute and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services. Outside of work he is usually to be found being active in the great outdoors.