Options are available for over 50s even if you've lost your job
There's no getting away from some rather bleak facts and figures with around 400,000 over 50s currently registered as unemployed, with 43% of those being considered to be 'long term' unemployed.
Dealing with redundancy is always tough but perhaps more so for older people who might struggle more than others to get a new job.
Economists blame the problem on a combination of factors: employer prejudice, health issues and the relative difficulty in relocating to new jobs as older workers tend to be tied down by mortgages and other commitments.
However, if you do find yourself in a redundancy situation then you can use it to your advantage. There are plenty of options and opportunities if you take some time to do some research.
Many people facing redundancy take the plunge and take a completely new career path. Of course this requires re-training which can be costly. But there is help available for training in certain professions. Your redundancy package might even include a separate payment to go towards a course or qualification.
There are grants or bursaries available in many cases. Bursaries are similar to grants - but they're usually linked to a certain career, qualification or type of course. Teacher training, for example, comes with funding opportunities but there are eligibility rules to consider - and you must adhere to minimum qualifications.
There are also a range of educational grants available through Family Action's grants programme. Applicants must be studying at a college or university that is affiliated to the Educational Grants Service.
A surprise redundancy may also pose the opportunity to start your own business.
Now that the UK is back in recession this might not seem like the right time. But that all depends on the business idea. You may be able to get money from grants from charities or trusts or loans from banks and building societies.
The Grants and Support Directory (GSD) is a potential source of help with start-up or business development. Get in touch with Business Link who can help with everything you need to know about setting up on your own from funding to accounting.
Experts also suggest considering consulting work. If you have years of experience under your belt in a particular field, then working for firms on a consultative basis can be a nice earner.
For this kind of work it's important to keep work contacts close. Networking is crucial to getting consultancy work so make sure you keep in touch with your little black book of good contacts you have made during the course of your career.
Of course if you need some help deciding what to do there is plenty of help at hand. The National Careers Service, the careers and skills service offers free help over the phone or face-to-face.
If you're really struggling to find work there is a scheme run by the Jobcentre called New Deal 50 Plus which offers support and advice for people over 50 to find work by improving job prospects. To qualify you must have claimed a benefit such as Jobseekers allowance or Pension Credit for more than six months.
The Government has now scrapped the 50 plus element of Working Tax Credit designed to top up your wages when you start work. However, if you increase the hours you work, you could be entitled to Working Tax Credit again.
Direct Gov's guide to looking for work for the over 50s