This is a story with a surprisingly happy ending for a group of over 50s who had been made redundant or lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
It tells how psychotherapist Phil Griggs and his team joined forces with Job Centre Plus to get a minimum of 40 percent of them back into work.
“I’m delighted to say we smashed our target and 80 per cent are now employed,” Phil said.
“It was especially successful in the Luton and Dunstable area where vacancies are limited.”
The project was filmed for Anglia Tonight and shown on Thursday.
Phil explained: “There’s a big panic if you hit 50 and you lose your job – you think you’re on the scrapheap. Job Centre Plus referred to us people who were actively seeking employment but who were coming up against all sorts of barriers, refusals and difficulties.
“The Skillsmax programme was to help over 50s who were unemployed for whatever reason.
“Some had worked in hat factories or as panel beaters and didn’t think they had the skills for other jobs. Their mindsets were very fixed.
“One hadn’t had a job since for a long time because of health problems, a few had been caring for elderly parents.
“We used their hobbies and interests as a base, building self esteem and helping with goal setting.
“We used psychotherapy, meditation coaching, neuro-linguistic programming and cognitive behavioral therapy to boost their confidence skills alongside practical workshops for CV writing and so on.” The workshops took place at the Sandringham Hub in Houghton Regis.
Phil added: “The project was so successful we’re hoping to widen the spectrum to include younger people and single mums.”