Memorandum from Freshstart Trust Ltd
Freshstart supports older, 40+, unemployed men
and women to improve their employability.
Since February 1999 Freshstart has been a New
Deal 25+ Pilot Gateway Provider for Bristol & South Gloucestershire.
This Pilot run by Employment Services has enabled organisations
within the area to work effectively in Partnership. Since July
2000 we have also been contracted to receive direct referrals
from 50+ New Deal Personal Advisers.
Further to this the same Partnership has come
together and from June 1999 accessed European Social Funding for
the Pathways to Work project, managed by Bristol City Council,
to assist all those ineligible under the conditions of the New
Deal 25+ Pilot; jobseekers from day one of unemployment, lone
parents, disabled people and those on incapacity benefit.
Freshstart considers that these initiatives
have helped move our clients into/towards employability. Of 70
ESF clients tracked by June 2000 it is known that 16 moved into
Employment and 18 undertook bespoke Training/Placements (eight
of which were test trading towards Self Employment). Some of these
and many others also received assistance in addressing other barriers
to employment from partner organisations.
Our sample of over 400 clients (65 per cent
New Deal 25+ Pilot, 6.5 per cent New Deal 50+, 26 per cent ESF,
2.5 per cent ineligible) from February 1999 to the present demonstrates
Age is a barrier, real or perceived,
to those entering or re-entering employment.
The majority of need continuing objective
support and encouragement.
All must accept that the work place
they aim to re-enter will be different and rapidly changing.
Most will need to update skills/competences
and focus on an area within which there is a demonstrable market
need, to improve their chances of early re-employment and to meet
the rigorous demands of modern employers.
Many experience other problems such
as family breakdown, social exclusion, debt, alcohol/drugs abuse,
homelessness, basic skills needs and other matters of disadvantage
which must be addressed before the client stands a chance of obtaining
Freshstart offers Individual Guidance &
Support in conjunction with Group Workshops aimed at confidence
building, re-motivation, addressing anger/fear, and establishing
a positive new direction. Enabling a sustained flexible approach
to employment for the future for each individual client, giving
proper regard to existing skills, transferable skills and skills
that need to be acquired.
We also are contracted by WESTEC to provide
"IT for the Petrified", Life Story Presentations (curriculum
vitae) and ongoing individual progression plans.
Almost all of our clients report Age Discrimination.
We advise that clients do not include their date of birth on curriculum
vitae, and that they remove dates that would reveal their age.
Once attending for interview older people are often more successful
in obtaining employment.
We believe that anti-discrimination legislation
is essential and if employers were unable to reject people from
their selection procedures, on the basis of age alone, a larger
proportion of older unemployed people would re-enter employment.
I would be happy to attend an oral evidence
sessions if this would be of assistance.
The Freshstart Trust Ltd