Colchester 4 Learning - The educational support funding website for the Colchester area

Supporting you through redundancy

A practical guide to help you if you are experiencing redundancy, with information on your rights and how to rebuild your career.

Lately it seems that we’ve all heard about someone being made redundant as a result of the current economic climate. But what happens when that someone is you? 

There is a vast array of untapped support and resources out there that are specifically designed to help get you back into work, whether that’s through getting the relevant skills to find future employment or having a total re-think on the right career choice for you. 

The Government has more than trebled its investment in retraining to help get unemployed people back into work, and there are thousands of funding options that you can use to retrain and get the skills you need for re-employment. 

Even if you haven’t been made redundant, but you think there’s a high chance you might be, or you’re just simply worried about job security, you may still want to look around and see what options are available to you. 

The Open 4 Learning Redundancy Guide has been designed to help you find the support you need in these difficult circumstances. 

What to do when you’ve been made redundant?

  • First things first. Know your rights. Your employer will have to follow strict guidelines when following redundancy procedures. In some cases, where redundancy is the only option, your employer is under obligation to ensure that you have sufficient time off to find further employment or gain extra training.
  • Redundancy Pay. If you’ve been in continuous employment for more than two years you may be entitled to some form of severance pay. But, you should always look for any other forms of funding as a multi-pound redundancy package can quickly become pennies.
  • Re-employment. This is the big one. Unfortunately, with unemployment figures fast-approaching the three million mark and expected to continue rising, competition for new jobs is fierce- you might need to consider re-training if you’re to find that elusive job.
  • Current Government and employment agency advice stresses the importance of having the right skills and qualifications if you are to secure future employment. This is why taking part in extra training can be crucial to your chances of success.

Why retrain?

Good question. With job vacancies at their lowest level since the 1990s and employee expectation increasing, more people are competing for fewer, and tougher, jobs. 

‘Retraining’ and ‘Reskilling’ are the new buzz words of the moment as people look to different sectors to find employment. 

So choosing the right course or qualification is crucial if you’re going to be successful in training for a new job. But, with over twenty different types of qualifications now available to learners in the UK, choosing the right option can be a minefield, not least of all when it comes to paying for it.

How to finance your retraining

Education can be expensive. Most courses charge a tuition fee or some kind of admin cost. The changes to higher education fees now mean that universities can charge anything up to £9,000 (for a first degree) and up to £19,000 for some postgraduate qualifications. Even basic skills training can set you back a fair penny. 

But, there is a huge range of funding options and Government support out there to help you; often it’s just knowing where to look for them. 

  • Government funding offers a variety of grants, loans and scholarships for redundant workers. With over £1.3 billion sidelined for training, learning and education, the Government is ensuring that the UK workforce has access to these funds.
  • Industrial Sponsorship. Paid placements, internships and apprenticeships, each with their own unique programme of financial support, may give you that essential experience needed to find your next job.
  • Charitable schemes are a relatively untouched resource. Sometimes funding specific groups of people or for a specific purpose, many Charitable Trusts are keen to help job-seekers find employment.
  • University funds do not necessarily mean you must be a university student to apply for them.

What other kinds of support and advice are available?

Most people facing or threatened with redundancy find it can be hard to know where to turn for help. There are a number of organsiations set up to help you through these difficult circumstances:

Before you get made redundant:

  • Trade Unions – if you work in an industry that is represented by a trade union they are a good source of help and advice. Trade unions can act on behalf of the employees to negociate with employers before they make redundancies. To find out if you could be represented by a trade union click here.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from over 3,200 locations. Advice is provided in person, on the telephone or over the internet and covers information on employment and redundancy.

If you have been made redundant the following organisations can help: 

  • You can contact your local Jobcentre Plus for further information on the various redundancy support packages available and to find out about new job opportunities.
  • Many Local Authorities provide some form of financial help to out-of-work employees.
  • And Redundancy Help can give you all the legal advice and support if you are forced out of work.
  • DirectGov has a comprehensive guide to learning resources, including information on higher education and adult learning.
  • If you’re unsure as to which course or qualification might best suit your needs Learn Direct can you give you all the relevant advice and information needed to make an informed decision.


“Now more than ever, it is important that we do what we can to help people who have been recently made redundant or are worried about being unemployed… by increasing the advice on offer and improving access to training.”

Former Skills Secretary, John Denham