Stepping up to support work

A SUPPORT scheme to help people over the age of 50 back into work is showing success.

Stepping Up (North East) works with people who want to change their lives, but are not sure where to start.

The Northumberland social enterprise project, which is supported by a grant from the European Social Fund, offers residents the chance to work with a life coach to create plans. It may involve builidng up confidence and skills in preparation for finding work again, help to turn employment ambitions into reality, or advice and support to form a CV.

The initiative was launched three months ago and all of its clients have made a breakthrough.

Stepping Up Chairman Pauline Fraser said: “We have seen big changes in people who simply want to improve their confidence – to allow themselves to have hopes and ambitions, often after long illnesses or having been made redundant.

“We’ve worked with people who are exploring turning hobbies into a small business, two who have taken the leap into self-employment and others who have taken up volunteering opportunities as a way of helping themselves back into the workplace.

“We have also worked with individuals who are new to the job market and helped them to identify their strengths, skills and achievements, creating a more relevant CV for today’s job market.”

However, Ms Fraser said the project is not designed to force people into work or meet certain targets.

She said it aims instead to help them create their own life-changing plans and put them into practice.

“Our aim is to work with individuals and help them rediscover what they really want in life and then identify the steps they can take towards this,” she said.

“Coaching is very empowering and centres on what the individual needs, rather than hitting someone else’s target.”

Funding has been awarded through the Community Foundation for Northumberland and the Skills Agency.

Anyone over 50 and living in Northumberland could be eligible for help, provided they are not already in employment, or are working less than eight hours a week.

For more infomation contact Project Co-ordinator Sue Brind on 07931 348081, or email