A Bolton woman has benefited from a “Midlife MOT” which helped her get a job in a primary school.

Helen Gernon, 62, went to Bolton Jobcentre on May 10 this year to take part in a session aimed at helping older people explore job choices.

Thanks to her work with the job centre, she successfully found a job as a part time cleaner at Essa Primary School.

Helen, from Great Lever, said: “People are never too old to retrain and develop new skills.”

The Bolton News: Helen at work at Essa Primary SchoolHelen at work at Essa Primary School (Image: Department for Work and Pensions)

She added: “The MOT session gave me the confidence to think about my pension options and how to prepare financially for retirement.”

Helen, who also volunteers at Bolton Hospice, worked with Tom Price, Amy Seddon and Victoria Boylan and proved herself to be engaged throughout the original session, dubbed a “Midlife MOT” and was surprised to hear that older people can do apprentices.

This helped to improve Helen’s confidence by doing a stocktake of all her skills and showing her how valuable her skills would be to new employers.

Starting with the original session, Helen then started to go to regular jobs fairs and looking at options with Bolton College, which was how she found her job with Essa Primary School.

Officials at the Department of Work and Pensions now say that they hope to build on success stories like these with the launch of new online Midlife MOTs, announced earlier in July.

They say that Helen’s experience show that it is never too late for older people to learn new skills.

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The online Midlife MOTs will bring together government services with charities in trying to help older people explore new work options.

Employment minister Guy Opperman MP said: “We are all living longer and planning for later life is essential but knowing where to start can be daunting.

“Our digital Midlife MOT is open to everyone and easy to access and will give people the tools to make informed decisions on their personal finances, their health and on their careers.

“I would encourage older people in particular to invest the time to see exactly what it can do for them.”