Stepping up to skills scheme

A FREE support scheme will pilot in Northumberland to help people over 50 make life-changing plans.

Stepping Up (North East) will deliver one-to-one coaching for people who want to gain new skills or take steps to achieve their goals. It may be helping people to increase their confidence, start a business, find new employment or cope after bereavement.

Project Co-ordinator Sue Brind said: “This isn’t just about getting people back to work, although we do offer excellent interview coaching as part of this programme. More importantly, it is about helping people who simply want to move forward.

“It could be someone who feels stuck, or just wants a confidential and supportive place to discuss their options. We’ve worked with lots of people, helping them to make positive changes after life has dealt them a few knocks.

“This programme is about giving support where it is needed. That may mean someone looking for ways to increase their confidence, wanting to get out and about more, turning a hobby into a business, or finding ways to develop skills, maybe through volunteering.”

The social enterprise scheme is supported by the European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency, and is administered by the Community Foundation.

It will offer participants up to six sessions with a qualified personal development coach to explore ideas, create personal goals and find realistic ways of achieving them.

The aim is to help people over the age of 50 who are not retired and are either unemployed or working less than eight hours a week.

Mrs Brind said: “We’ve coached people from many backgrounds to help them get the best from their life and work.

“As well as working with those looking for employment, we have been involved with people who have been made redundant, business and education leaders and people starting their own business. We’ve also helped individuals take positive steps after bereavement, or when caring ends.

“We help everyone we work with to raise their aspirations, ensuring that their confidence and self-esteem increases as they realise and achieve what they want from life.”

For more information call 07931 348081 or email