Returner to Work

Mid-Life MOT to Help Over 50s Get Back to Work

John Smith

An estimated 114 million people lost their jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, according to a report by the International Labour Organisation. Whilst multiple lockdowns and business closures have impacted workers across all age groups, those over 50 have been the worst-hit.

According to ONS data, those over 50 saw the largest increase of people moving from economic activity to inactivity among all age groups since the start of the pandemic. This exodus of a sizeable population from the national labour force has highlighted the skills shortage across industries and exacerbated the need to address this talent gap. The UK government has been called on by both public and private sectors to encourage experienced talent to return to work. The government response has been to announce a mid-life MOT to push jobs for over 50s and provide one-on-one support on a range of topics from retirement advice to financial planning and wellbeing.

In this blog we’ll look at:

What is Mid-life MOT?

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) defines Mid-life MOT as ‘a review for workers in their 40s and 50s that helps them take stock of their finances, skills and health, and enables them to better prepare for their retirement and build financial resilience.’ Recently, the DWP has announced a £5 million expansion of the mid-life MOT initiative. This increase is part of a wider £22 million package, aimed at supporting over-fifties to:

Under this new initiative MOTs will be delivered online, in the private sector and through the DWP’s network of jobcentres around the UK. The jobcentre staff will focus on older job seekers and provide advice on employment opportunities as well as guidance on retirement plans and savings options.

There are additional plans for face-to-face mid-life MOT programmes to be trialled with individual employers in three areas – the North East of England, Devon and Cornwall, and East Anglia. The DWP is also planning to partner with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) to develop a digital Mid-life MOT tool.

A mid-life MOT addresses three core areas:


For those who are employed, this is a chance to review how their roles may be changing in future and to consider any upskilling and reskilling opportunities to support their career growth and the changing needs of the business. For whose who are out of jobs, this is a chance to explore employment opportunities and identify any possible barriers to their employment.

Health and wellbeing

This is a chance for people to review any health needs. For example – do they need support with their physical or mental health? Do they require flexible or remote working arrangements to balance their health needs with work? This is particularly pertinent for older workers who have caring duties.

Financial planning

According to a report by the Centre for Ageing Better, an estimated 5 million people approaching retirement are at risk of not having adequate pension income. A mid-life MOT helps people with their financial planning. It is a chance to explore and review pension plans and savings to map out retirement that they want.

Who does it help and how?

Anyone at any point in their lives can be left vulnerable to losing their jobs – for reasons ranging from redundancy to ill-health, caring responsibilities and more. Once out of work, it can be hard to get back in, especially for older workers. The mid-life MOT is a useful resource for anyone in their 40s and 50s to plan for the future.

Announcing the expansion of the MOT earlier this year, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Guy Opperman said, ‘Our Mid-life MOT expansion will give people the tools they need to assess where they currently are and how they can get to where they want to be – whether it’s that next career move or ensuring they’re on track for the retirement they want.’

The mid-life MOT aims to help people, both in and out of work, to assess their options and plan for a more financially secure retirement.

How to return to work after a career break?

Recent ONS data shows that 77% of adults aged 50 to 59 years left their previous jobs sooner than expected. Further, 58% of those in their fifties are likely to consider returning to work. As more and more data emerges supporting the case for bringing experienced talent to the workforce, businesses are rethinking their attitudes towards older workers.

This has led to a number of return to work schemes, both in the private and public sectors to help career leavers reintegrate into the workforce. A Returners Programme is a bespoke training programme intended for those returning to work after a career break. Returners can be parents who left the workforce to bring up children. They could be people who were made redundant or decided to become self-employed.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the UK government announced its Restart Scheme to give jobseekers a year of support to help get them back on the job ladder. So far, the scheme has helped a quarter of a million back into work.

Networking is one of the best ways to find new opportunities if you’re planning a return to work. Reach out to your old contacts in the industry including friends and ex-colleagues and seek their advice – both about existing roles as well as any pointers on skills you need to improve your chances of being hired. Job boards and recruiters are now increasingly advertising jobs for returners.

Several companies now offer back to work schemes. Consider applying directly to these programmes either on LinkedIn or on the company website.

Here’s some useful information if you’re looking to return to work after a career break:

FDM Returners Programme 

As a market leader in the Recruit, Train, Deploy sector specialising in technology, FDM is continually helping clients fill their specialty skills gaps with top talent whom we recruit and train. At FDM we recognise the immense value that experienced talent bring to businesses. Our Returners Programme is specially designed for those who have taken a career break and want to restart their careers at a level suited to their skill set and aspirations. We welcome applicants with career breaks of at least 12 months. So, there’s no need to worry about how to explain employment gaps in your CV.

The FDM Returners Programme begins with expert training, designed to reconnect you with your existing skills, refresh your knowledge, update your terminology and equip you with industry-recognised qualifications. At the end of training, work on-site with our prestigious clients and kickstart a rewarding career. 

We recruit all year round making it simple for you to start your returner journey at a time that works for you.  Are you ready to get back to work? Get industry-recognised training and launch an exciting career in business or tech. Apply to our award-winning Returners Programme