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PACE: Support for business recovery professionals 10 April 2013


Redundancy can be among the most stressful events in a person’s life.

Between the practical problems it can cause, such as a shortage of money, to the emotional issues it can bring – redundancy can be a complex experience.

Since the first signs of the global economic downturn began, the Scottish Government’s initiative for responding to redundancy situations, the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) has been standing ready to deal with any increased demand.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) leads the delivery of PACE support on behalf of the Scottish Government. SDS’s Calum MacLean is National PACE Manager for the service. He has overseen redundancy support offered to businesses of all shapes and sizes across Scotland.

“There’s no getting away from how difficult it is for someone to lose their job,” Calum said. “Some people see it as an opportunity to retrain or are content to retire early, but for many it is a time when they can feel depressed and don’t know where to turn to get advice.

“The idea behind PACE is that it makes things a bit simpler for people going through the process as it brings together all the support that you would expect to receive during redundancy.”

He explained: “Rather than someone having to contact various different organisations such as their Jobcentre Plus office, their local authority or, for example, the Money Advice Service – they can access all the information needed through one person and that’s a PACE Adviser.

“It’s beneficial to individuals going through job loss but it also aims to help the employer as well. Many people assume that redundancy only happens when a company has gone in to administration but that’s not always the case. Quite often businesses restructure for various reasons and they look to PACE to make sure their staff are given the help needed to move on to another job or to retrain.”

PACE services are available to individuals for as long as they are needed and can involve everything from finding jobs, to help with the interview itself or even identifying potential training opportunities.

Across Scotland, 18 PACE teams work at a local level and liaise with businesses as soon as they hear about a potential redundancy situation. This can be as early as when a company announces its plans to enter into a 90-day consultation period with a view to making large-scale redundancies.

Calum was one of the West Lothian PACE team involved in the recent large number of redundancies at Hall’s of Broxburn where 1,700 staff lost their jobs.

“There’s no typical redundancy situation,” Calum said. “And the recent situation at Hall’s highlighted just how flexible the PACE service has to be to effectively support people.”

Calum continued: “At the Hall’s plant there were a number of staff who spoke Polish and were not as fluent in English so we provided leaflets specifically for them. As employees were also working during the day, we set up a PACE drop-in centre and held a jobs fair on a Saturday so that staff had the opportunity to access our support at a time suitable to them.

“If we have to tailor the help provided for different businesses or individuals then that’s what we do as, ultimately, the role of PACE is to provide the skills development and employability support to minimise the time people are out of work.”

How PACE can help you…and your clients

If you are a business recovery professional working with Scottish based clients, PACE would love to work with you.

Working together would help PACE deliver its service at the optimum time. In return, PACE can take some of the strain of dealing with redundancy situations from you, allowing you to concentrate on your business objectives. And it’s free of charge.

Call Skills Development Scotland on 0800 783 6000 or visit



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