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Supporting the ‘50PLUS’ voluntary work experience programme

Helping to provide opportunities for people from our communities to get into work is an important part of our work as a housing association. Often people think of jobseekers as younger people, but due to changing demographics, cost of living and the impact of the pandemic, more older people than ever before are looking for work opportunities. So, our Melin Advice team decided to work in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to facilitate some voluntary work experience placements within our teams under the DWP’s 50PLUS Choices Offer.

Written by Will

08 Apr, 2024

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To support this initiative, we held interview sessions in Pontypool, Cwmbran and Newport Job Centres. During the sessions, 50PLUS claimants were told about the range of opportunities on offer: from administration to caring and manual roles. Those interested were supported to complete an application form and attended an informal interview before being provided with feedback, or being offered a placement.

Several of the applicants have now started placements with us and recently the DWP’s 50PLUS Champion, Angela Jones, paid a visit to one of the volunteers this week to check up on their progress.

Michelle was told about the Melin opportunities by her work coach and immediately signed up for the group information session, to find out more. She recognised that a voluntary work experience placement with a local employer could be just what she needed to support her in returning to work after the pandemic. Michelle had worked in administration roles previously, but felt she needed to refresh her skills, build her confidence and have the chance to learn new skills.

It’s lovely to be back in an office, I’ve found it very beneficial to refresh some of my skills and learn new ones as well. The ladies here at Melin are really supportive. If you’re stuck you don’t have to worry about asking for help – they have been really welcoming.

Michelle — Melin Volunteer

Like many of our 50PLUS claimants, Michelle had family commitments,but our flexible approach allowed her to volunteer around her busy schedule. She is currently doing two half days a week, which she feels is ideal. Michelle feels that this relevant work experience; renewed confidence; her newly gained skills and enhanced CV will definitely improve her chances of returning to work in the near future.

Kirsty Crosby, Compliance Team Leader, who has been overseeing Michelle’s volunteering, was thrilled to have had Michelle on the team. She said: “Michelle has been a wonderful asset to the compliance team and has been really committed and diligent in her time with us.”

Congratulations to Michelle on making such a fantastic impression and we hope that your time with Melin will help you to unlock some exciting future career opportunities.

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