Centre for Ageing Better commissions CLES to research helping over 50s get back into work in Greater Manchester

The Centre for Ageing Better has commissioned the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) – in partnership with the Learning and Work Institute – to carry out research and co-design work to address worklessness and job insecurity amongst people aged 50 and over in Greater Manchester.  This project is part of a partnership between Ageing Better and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) with one of the key aims of supporting people aged 50 and over back into work.

Across Greater Manchester, almost one in three people aged 50-64 are not in work  – and more than a fifth of those who are working are in low paid jobs. Low pay is also a significant economic and social challenge for the region. The research and co-design project will develop and test a new approach to support these people and is part of Ageing Better’s commitment to help more people live good later lives. Being out of work or in low quality work in your 50s is associated with poor health, financial insecurity and social isolation, and impacts negatively on wellbeing.

Research shows that nationally around a million people over 50 are ‘involuntarily workless’ – pushed out of work through redundancy, ill health or unplanned early retirement. This impacts on income and people’s social connections, leaving them with a lack of purpose and structure.

Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager, Centre for Ageing Better said: “We are very pleased to be funding this research and to gather insights and ideas from people across five local neighbourhoods in Greater Manchester. Evidence shows that many people aged 50 and over face barriers to getting back in to work but we know less about what works in local areas to support them.

“We are interested in innovative approaches and ideas. We know the reasons why people are not working are complex and interrelated, including health problems, housing issues, redundancy or caring responsibilities. Key to addressing this will be engaging people over 50 or who are out of work or in low paid work to use their own lived experience to design new approaches. We will test the most promising ideas and evaluate their impact.”

“We would like thank everyone who responded to the Invitation to Tender and look forward to working with CLES and Learning and Work.”

Theresa Grant, Chief Executive, Trafford Council said: “We are delighted to be part of this incredibly exciting piece of work that will help to shape local economic strategy and policies for over 50s. This will add real value to work already in train through our Ageing Hub and ultimately will help to enhance Greater Manchester’s position as a great place for older people to live and work.”

Dr Jenny Rouse, Associate Director, Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) said: “We are really excited to be involved in this work which we see as a much wider movement in Greater Manchester towards citizens having more direct influence in decision making that affects them. That the Centre for Ageing Better have decided to commission some work in which those aged 50+ drive what their employment support and provision looks like is brilliant and we are happy that we can use our networks and knowledge to contribute.”

CLES will begin gathering information and working with individuals and local organisations in five different neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester by the end of 2016. This evidence will help establish if one or more ideas can be tested and evaluated further to be trialled.

The insight and co-design will begin in Autumn 2016 and is due to be completed in 2017.