Taking stock: helping older employees take control of their futures

Businesses in the North East are being encouraged to help employees who are aged 50 or over take stock of their skills, health and finances. Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), explains how providing the right range of support for employees can boost productivity and result in a healthier, happier workforce.

We know that people aged 50 and over can bring hugely valuable skills and experience to the workplace. However, we also know that, in the wake of COVID-19, older workers are amongst those who are the most severely impacted by the pandemic, with many people having to reskill, work in new ways, or balance work and caring responsibilities – issues that the government has also recognised through its 50 PLUS: Choices agenda.

By next year, one in three of the UK’s working age population will be over 50 and it’s essential for businesses in our region that we don’t risk losing the knowledge of this generation from the workforce.  

Understanding how to provide the right support to older workers can be the key to retaining a skilled, healthy and motivated team, and it can boost productivity and business growth as well.

A new ‘Midlife MOT’ is now available to help people plan for their futures and get the most from their careers, by taking stock of their skills, health and money using a simple online assessment. 

The Midlife MOT is an initiative led by the Department of Work and Pensions, working with the National Careers Service, Public Health England and the Money and Pensions Service, giving a holistic approach that brings different areas of people’s lives and wellbeing together.

To make sure that as many people as possible in the North East can benefit from this, the North East LEP is partnering with Good Things Foundation, the UK’s leading digital inclusion charity, to help SMEs and their employees use the Midlife MOT to plan for their futures. People will receive support to complete their Midlife MOT, including support with digital skills and access to a network of online learning centres.  

For individuals, we hope people will benefit from being able to easily access the right advice and information to better take care of their health, plan their finances and achieve their ambitions in the workplace.

And for businesses, helping employees to build on their digital knowledge at the same time as learning about the best ways to support them to stay in work, means you’ll be in a position to get the best from your team, whatever their age.

By looking at the areas of health, money and skills together, you’ll learn how you can help your most experienced employees achieve their full potential for longer, and you’ll open up conversations around their plans for work in the future.

As we roll out the project here in the North East I hope that we can help as many people as possible to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, and to play an active part in building a stronger North East for the future.

Find out about the Midlife MOT here.