My article for this week's Herald and Post...
In a few weeks’ time, New Directions opens its doors once more. Hopefully by now you will have seen the many posters across the district advertising the event. If you haven’t, New Directions is in essence for anybody considering a change in career, looking to retrain or seeking a local volunteering opportunity.
We know that the pandemic caused many people’s work circumstances to change. For some, it meant taking time out to care for a dependent, taking early retirement, taking furlough, and then choosing not to return. Or just reflecting on the role they were in and deciding it wasn’t for them. Major crises have a habit of focusing the mind on what’s most important.
But this leaves us with a big chunk of people over 50, who are now not working, in education or training, and yet they could be, and in very many cases are keen to be.
One of the reasons I set up the first East Hants New Directions event back in 2017 was because I recognised that 50-ish is often the age when people take stock of their lives and reflect on whether they are happy where they are and want to carry on doing the same thing until they retire.
It’s a huge decision to step away from something familiar and into the unknown.
This is where New Directions can really help.
Throughout the day-long fair, practical workshops will be running to help you get your CV into shape, finesse your interview techniques, or write a business plan for a new venture. Perhaps you’ve long harboured a business idea but have never had the confidence or wherewithal to put it into action? – if so, New Directions is definitely for you.
There are lots of speakers too, including ‘School for Seniors’, who will run a session about setting up your own business in later life. Speakers too from the Army reservists plus Paralympian, Ryan Gratrix, talking about why a career in volunteering is so rewarding. There’s also a session on why apprenticeships are not just for school leavers.
Fantastic local organisations, such as Wey Valley Radio, Butser Ancient Farm and the Watercress Line, will also be hand to talk about volunteering with them.
With over 50 exhibition stands run by local businesses and voluntary groups plus tea and cake provided by the Bordon and Alton WIs, this is going to be a brilliant event for anyone needing a bit of advice or a nudge in the right direction. Just on that, if you’re a local business looking to recruit new staff, there is still time to book stand space.
New Directions is taking place at Alton College on Friday 27th October, 10am – 4pm. To find out more and to book your free transport to the event, visit the EHDC website.