Over 50s helped back into the workplace through Roots to Work

Over 50s helped back into the workplace 4

A new scheme helping people aged over 50 get back into work is celebrating its first successes. 

Roots to Work, a jointly funded initiative and partnership between Dover District Council (DDC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has been running for four months, with almost 80 local people receiving help so far.  

Of those, 25 have completed accredited courses through Kent Adult Education, 40 have new CVs ready to send out to potential employers, four are now in work and three have taken on volunteering roles. 

The scheme specifically supports people over 50 returning to the workplace, who are receiving benefits. It offers support to jobseekers through a range of free workshops, from CV writing to interview skills, digital training and confidence building. 

DDC also offers bespoke work search services to find people the right roles for them. 

Free courses including Food Safety (Level 2) and Emergency First Aid at Work (Level 3) are held at locations across the district, with participants gaining new qualifications to include on their CVs. 

Debra Jennings, Community Development Officer at DDC, runs the Roots to Work programme and provides hands-on support to those enrolled in the scheme. 

She said the scheme has come at a crucial time, with east Kent recently hit with a wave of job cuts at companies including Gomez Ltd in Canterbury and planned redundancies at Pfizer in Sandwich. 

“Some people have been made redundant from jobs they have done all their working lives and don’t know what they can do now,” she said. 

“Others might have been out of work for some time and lost confidence, or don’t believe they can get a job at this age. Or perhaps they have health difficulties or caring commitments which makes it harder to find a suitable role. 

“This is where we come in. We can help increase people’s employability by upskilling them, building their confidence and equipping them with the necessary tools to get an interview and, hopefully, a job. 

“We also encourage routes into work, such as volunteering. I would never underestimate how beneficial this can be in showing a potential employer that a person has a good work ethic. 

“Whatever a person’s situation, we are here to help them on their journey into employment.” 

Wayne Moss signed up to Roots to Work when he was made redundant from his job, and he is already back in work. 

He said: “After nearly 11 years with a motor dealer franchise, I was made redundant which came as a major bump in my working career.   

“After meeting Debra at the Dover Job Centre and sending her my latest CV, she created a positive version within a few hours.  

“This action enabled me to gain several interviews and start a position back in car sales, almost straight away. Roots to Work is a great service.” 

Cllr Pamela Brivio, Cabinet Member for Housing, Skills and Education at DDC, said: “Age should never be a barrier to finding a job or starting a new career. 

“Roots to Work helps people establish the roots to new employment, whether that be a change in career or a return to work after many years out of the workplace. 

“It’s encouraging to see so many people are receiving help already, with several now in work or volunteering.”  

Robert Polden, DWP, said: “This partnership with Dover District Council is enabling us to offer something different to people claiming benefit in Dover, which is helping them move into work and improve their lives.” 

If you're over 50, live within the Dover district, are in receipt of universal credit and are interested in joining the scheme, you can talk to your work coach at Dover Job Centre or by self-referring through Roots2Work@dover.gov.uk  

Notes to editors: 

Roots to Work launched in August 2023 and 77 are currently enrolled on the scheme. 

Over 50s helped back into the workplace 1

Debra Jennings, Community Development Officer at DDC

Posted on 16 January 2024

For media enquiries, Email: pr@dover.gov.uk