Q: I am about to be made redundant because the voluntary organisation I work for hasn’t managed to secure funding. I want to remain in the sector, but am not really sure what to do now. My employers have said that I can work part-time for a few months, but this is going to involve a massive drop in pay. What should I do, particularly in this difficult climate?
A: Being made redundant is always difficult in financial terms and for morale and motivation. Finding your next job can be even more stressful during tough economic times.
Certainly, if you do go part-time, you’ll feel a drop in pay. But it’s a lot easier to find a new job while you’re still in work: you can continue networking, and build or develop new contacts; you have greater access to resources and information; and you can keep your skills and knowledge up to date. It can also help you to stay motivated – supportive colleagues can provide a boost to your morale.
If you’ve had two years’ continuous service, your employer should give you reasonable paid time off to look for work. Organisations will vary in their redundancy policies – some may offer more generous terms than statutory redundancy pay. For legal advice on redundancy pay entitlements, you can contact Acas..
Good employers should offer support with completing application forms, interview practice and explaining the financial effects of redundancy.
It’s certainly worth taking the part-time offer to begin with, if only to take a step back and consider what type of job and the role you want next. Are you looking for something more senior? Or perhaps you want to re-skill and explore a new career. Be open to jobs you haven’t considered before.
Using some of your spare time for volunteering can help you maintain or develop new skills, particularly in new areas. Volunteering England can help you find a volunteering placement that suits you.
If you are made redundant, make sure you keep in touch with your work networks and contacts (and friends) and let them know the kind of work you are looking for so they keep you in mind if they spot a suitable vacancy. Approach charities and explore getting a mentor or a coach to help your learning and development.
Updating your CV is a good opportunity to review your skills, knowledge and expertise, something we often forget to do when caught up in our day job. You may well be surprised at the breadth of skills you have acquired since you last looked for a job.
Working For A Charity, a project within NCVO, has developed an online tool to match your skills and experience with different career and job options in the voluntary sector. .
NCVO’s Jobshop can help you with your search in the charity, not for profit, voluntary or community sectors at all levels, experience and disciplines.
During such difficult times, people in the voluntary sector will face the same challenges as other sectors and redundancies are inevitable. Stay focused on improving or developing the knowledge and skills you need, maintain your networks, and keep an open mind.
Lai-Har Cheung is employment practice manager at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations
This article is published in the 2 July issue of Community care magazine under the heading Part-time work could provide a springboard after redundancy
I work in a child protection duty team in a local authority. I feel the size of my caseload is putting children at risk and I’m worried that I’m going to be the next scapegoat if anything happens. I have tried to talk to my manager but she is too busy to listen. What should I do?
This question will be answered in the 16 July issue of Community Care. We want to hear your views too.
Do you have your own career dilemma? Send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org