How we prototyped and co-designed redundancy support
Through co-design and working with experts we've created a programme that puts the experiences of people going through redundancy at the heart of our work.
Lucy Kenny, Project Manager for Work, explains how our work in the West Midlands is supporting older workers facing redundancy.
The Redundancy support project, funded by Barclays Lifeskills, is looking to understand what works when designing employment support services and training for those aged 50 to state pension age who have been made redundant. We’re focusing our initial work on the manufacturing and automotive sector in the West Midlands, a sector particularly affected by Brexit and the move to a green economy, which means where jobs are disappearing, they disappear long term.
Since 2021 Ageing Better has partnered with Shift Design to research and understand the effects of redundancy on over 50s and to look at what currently works in the support on offer and what is missing or could be improved.
Through the research and learning we gathered across 12 months of working with people with lived experience of redundancy in the manufacturing and automotive sector the team turned the key insights into ideas to support people.
Those insights combined with the input of more lived experience and sector expertise were used to develop a shortlist of ideas that we were able to shape into a model that was ready to test.
A group coaching programme was developed that enables peer groups of over 50s to come together before their redundancies were finalised, or shortly after, with a professional coach to support each other, build confidence, explore possible job options and take practical steps to prepare for work – like creating a CV, getting ready for interview, even applying for training.
For our initial test, we had an opportunity to work within a live redundancy happening in Birmingham to test our concept out in real time and to learn from the feedback. We worked with a coach who was a master group facilitator to devise the sessions and delivered four weeks of coaching in peer groups.
We then ran a second round of prototyping to build on our learning and try a few different variables such as bigger groups, mixed durations of redundancies, different locations amongst other things.
“I found it very useful… the strength in the room having peers around me who had gone through a similar situation” - Gary, Sandwell
“We were all in same position which made it relaxed and we heard what other people’s goals were so could start to be more positive in the group, thinking about after redundancy” - Mick, Erdington
Through our process of co-design, working with sector experts and iterative testing, we have been able to confidently create a programme that puts the needs and experiences of those going through redundancy at the heart of the design.
Ageing Better and West Midlands Combined Authority have commissioned a new scheme to build on our findings with the long-term aim of shaping the future of redundancy support.