New training increases support for older jobseekers in Greater Manchester
Employment support advisors taking part in the training project felt they were better able to instil confidence in older jobseekers and support them to tackle internalised ageism as a result.
The results of a new project training employability workers in how to better support and instil confidence in older jobseekers has been published today.
The Upskilling employability workers (UEW) project is a partnership between the Centre for Ageing Better, the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP), APM/Ingeus and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
The project piloted training for employability workers on the Working Well Work and Health Programme in Greater Manchester to increase their understanding of how to best support clients aged 50 and over in finding work, and was welcomed by the Department for Work and Pensions as part of their commitment to get more older workers into employment.
The project aimed to address some of the long-established barriers to employability faced by older age groups, such as poorer health and more limited skill sets in comparison to some of their younger counterparts. Those aged 50 and over, who have been on Greater Manchester’s Work and Health Programme for 15 months or more, are 12 percentage points worse off in achieving ‘earnings present’, signifying a job start, compared to under 50s.
The training was based on research by the Centre for Ageing Better, with input from staff from the Work and Health Programme and Department for Work and Pensions work coaches. It consisted of four online modules, which were undertaken by Ingeus Key Workers.
When asked to self-assess how well equipped they felt to support older jobseekers after undertaking the training, average scores rose across every single criterion, including being able to increase confidence in older jobseekers, and supporting them to tackle internalised ageism they may hold about themselves.
For instance, the average self-reported score for the surveyed employability workers of ‘feeling well equipped to support older customers to be more confident in their abilities, skills and experience’ rose by 16.4% as a result of the training. Over 800 people have now accessed the training, which has included members of DWP’s Jobcentre Plus 50PLUS Champions.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“Supporting residents aged over 50 into employment and training is a key priority of Greater Manchester’s Age-Friendly Strategy.
“As the commissioner of the Work and Health Programme in Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) were keen to work with our partners to further develop knowledge and understanding amongst teams, while supporting those aged over-50 towards meaningful and sustainable work. We will use the findings of the report to inform the development of future projects.”
Emily Andrews, Deputy Director for Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“Over half of the Ingeus Key Workers reported a higher score between baseline and follow-up regarding their ability to support older clients, demonstrating good levels of impact across a range of areas.
“We hope this training helps to demonstrate that it is possible for older workers to find and return to work given the right support. A tailored approach to providing support that understands the needs and challenges of older jobseekers is an important component in making that happen.”
Julia Nix, national lead for the 50PLUS Champions at the Department for Work and Pensions said:
“There are a range of factors which mean older workers often find it hard to get back into work. They are more likely than young people to be affected by health and disability or caring pressures, out of date skills or qualifications, low confidence and discrimination by employers.
“The Department welcomes any and all training and development that enhances and improves the quality and impact that employability professionals can have in supporting people back into and remain in work.
“A number of our Jobcentre Plus 50PLUS Champions and some policy colleagues have been given the opportunity to undertake the Upskilling employability workers project (UEW) training recently which has been welcome.”
Scott Parkin FIEP, Chief Executive of Institute of Employability Professionals, said:
“Partnering with Ageing Better on this project was a no-brainer. As the only professional membership institute for the employability profession, we have both a responsibility and a real opportunity to change the way employment support operates, not least for older people, and it seems this project has done just that.
“We hope this training can be a springboard for further, tailored work to support over 50s seeking employment. We know that this older cohort face unique challenges in accessing work, and so it’s essential we continue addressing these barriers.”
Julie Graham FIEP, CEO of employment services at Ingeus, said:
“Upskilling lies at the heart of any successful business, and we were delighted that staff from our Working Well Work and Health Programme in Greater Manchester volunteered so enthusiastically to support the development and trial of this training.
“It improved knowledge of specific barriers faced by over 50s jobseekers, including caring and financial responsibilities, IT skills, and transferrable skills to switch to new and often unknown career paths. In partnership with the IEP, it has since gone on to benefit the whole sector.
“As we continue to face record vacancy numbers and a hidden potential labour market of economically inactive older people, this training couldn’t be more timely. Improving working practices across the industry in order to support older workers back to employment has never been so important.”