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Earlier this year, the National Careers Service in Cornwall was approached for some support by Sharp’s Brewery, based in Rock, near Wadebridge. The impact of the  Covid-19 pandemic, across the industry , meant the company were forced to make some unwelcome decisions.

The brewing industry has been hit particularly hard since the pandemic. Fewer people are going out to local pubs and as a result, production levels have reduced significantly. According to Northumbria University, since 2020, over 200 breweries have closed.

An employer like Sharp’s is well-known across the local area. Most people living in and around Rock will know someone connected with the brewery, so when a decision to make some of its valued staff redundant, it hits the local community hard. As a result, eight members of staff chose to attend the outplacement service, supported by the Job Centre and the National Careers Service.


Nina Griggs, HR Business Partner at Sharp’s Brewery said: “The National Careers Service supported us as a business by understanding the needs of our people. The team from the National Careers Service were helpful, supportive and provided expert advice to our staff. One of our team even had a change of career after leaving the business due to the support and advice they were given from the National Careers Service. We would not hesitate to use this service again in the future.”


The majority of the people affected by this decision at Sharp’s Brewery had been employed for a number of years. The prospect of having to update CVs, begin job searching, then if all goes to plan, perform at their best in an interview, was a daunting prospect. The company was keen to ensure their employees were given as much support as possible, in their transition away from the business.

Two careers advisers from the National Careers Service, Maggie and Rebecca, based in Cornwall, spent a day with the those being made redundant, providing intensive support on a number of areas.

Initially, they carried out a skills and experience assessment. They asked questions about the sort of things they enjoy and the types of roles they might be interested in. This included thinking about what opportunities there might be through upskilling and moving into roles in different sectors. Part of this process was to draw up a list of relevant transferable skills. This is a really important process, particularly if someone is seeking a role different to their current one.


Maggie Satterthwaite, Careers Adviser, said: “Helping people to move into other sectors or different roles, means identifying what transferable skills they have that will be recognised by employers is essential.

“Many people don’t appreciate how they’ve built up a range of strong transferable skills. Being able to tease these out and how to highlight them in a cover letter or an updated CV, puts a candidate in a much stronger position for selection.”


There were sessions on how to update a CV and what employers would be looking for. There was also help with how to prepare for the dreaded interview.  What to do, what not to do, and how to put your best self forward. This included how to formulate responses to interview questions, making sure to include the sort of details an employer will be looking for.


Maggie added: “Of the range of support given, I think what the group found the most helpful was being reassured and helping to build their confidence. While this was an unexpected position to be in, it was an opportunity. Helping the group to recognise the vast transferable skills they had was quite transformative for them.”


Since then most have found paid employment, some are even on a better salary with more responsibility than before. A couple of the group had decided to use the opportunity for a career break to travel and to renovate some homes.


Ian Boyling, one the employees affected reflected on the support he received: “I found the initial meeting really useful and it made what could have been a troubling time a lot easier. The continued support has been fantastic, helping to build and improve my CV.”


The National Careers Service can provide valuable support to individuals and employers where someone is going through a redundancy process. For more information, visit or call 0800 100 900.

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