‘Having that support as soon as the worst happened was so important’

Oct 10, 2020

College throws a retraining lifeline to those looking to move in a higher or completely new career direction

PEOPLE who have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have been thrown a lifeline.

Milton Keynes College is offering free retraining with one-to-one support for those who want to upgrade their existing skills or who are looking to move in a different work direction.

The announcement comes after the government confirmed plans that adults over the age of 23 who left school without A-Levels can study for a qualification at that level for free from April. Ministers have also earmarked £238 million for coaching and advice for those who have been out of work for at least three months as a result of the pandemic. 

Russell George, careers leader at Milton Keynes College, runs the programme. He said: “We are 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 have always wanted to be a nurse or an electrician or have any unrealised work ambition, we are here to help.”

The scheme is open to anyone over the age of 19 and has been put together between the college and the National Careers Service.  

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 said.  “It was so disappointing and I had not 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.”

The most important thing was he felt like he was not fighting for his future on his own. Now he is preparing to start an engineering apprenticeship next month.

“Having that support as soon as the worst happened was so important.  I felt like there was always someone there who could help me with any problems or deal with any questions I might have and just to explore every conceivable possibility in my search for a new job – and it worked.”

Short training sessions are proving popular with people wanting to brush up on their skills or seeking help with job searching. Organisers have also been approached by people who have recently finished college courses and want to find out about possible funding to take their education further.

“We are 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,” said Mr George.  “Everything is being done online at the moment but we are 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: ncs@mkcollege.ac.uk

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