Milton Keynes College is offering a free retraining lifeline for people who have lost their jobs in the current crisis. The College is giving free one-to-one support for people in the city who want to upgrade their existing skills or who are looking to move out in a completely different work direction.
Combined with plans announced by the government last week that adults over the age of twenty-three who left school without A-Levels can study for a qualification at that level (Level 3) for free from April, the way is open for thousands of people to upgrade their skills for nothing.
The government also says it’s putting £238 million into coaching and advice for people who’ve been out of work for at least three months as a result of the pandemic. However, this scheme is open to anyone over nineteen and has been put together between the College and the National Careers Service. Russell George runs the programme and says, “We’re already seeing a range of people asking for help. Some just want some support writing a CV or some tips on improving their interview technique but other people are asking for help in making a complete career change. If people out there are thinking they’ve always wanted to be a nurse or an electrician or have any unrealised work ambition we’re here to help.”
Will Seward knows just how important this support can be. He started a Level 4 engineering apprenticeship last summer and when the virus hit and orders dried up he was first furloughed and then made redundant.
“I was on the floor,” he says. “It was so disappointing and I hadn’t a clue what to do next. I spoke to my college trainer who put me in touch with the service and straight away we started talking about next steps, looking at all the options and what I needed to do to improve my chances of getting another job.”
Will says that perhaps the most important thing about the support he received was he felt like he wasn’t fighting for his future on his own.
“I was looked after by Gill from the service and straight away when I started talking to her I got a real boost. She helped me find a new engineering apprenticeship and I’m starting next month. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Will says he would strongly recommend the service to anyone who finds themselves in a similar position.
“Having that support as soon as the worst happened was so important. I felt like there’s was always someone there who could help me with any problems or deal with any questions might have and just to explore every conceivable possibility in my search for a new job – and it worked.”
Short training sessions are proving very popular with people wanting to brush up on their skills with computer programmes like Microsoft Word or help with job searching while the organisers have also been approached by people who’ve recently finished college courses and want to find out about possible funding to take their education further.
“We’re here for everything from the most fundamental courses right up to degree level so anyone who thinks we might be able to help really should get in touch,” Russell says. “Everything is being done online at the moment but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we might be able to start holding some face-to-face sessions later in the year.”
Anyone who wants a help in finding their next step on the career ladder should get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org