New course run by ex-forces members aimed at helping those aged over 50 back into work or training.

AN unemployment course run by ex-military tutors is taking place in Barnstaple this week.

Former Royal Navy servicemen, army and even a special forces interrogator will be bringing their specialist skills to bear to help job seekers aged over 50- back into the workplace.

Not-for-profit organisation Active Plus works to motivate those seeking work and also teach them skills such as reading body language and giving out the best impression at an interview.

It is at the Freedom centre in Barnstaple today (Wednesday) and tomorrow, with 20 students who have been referred by Job Centre Plus.

All of the instructors are volunteers and former Navy veteran Julian Harman, who served on HMS Broadsword during the Falklands, explained how it can help:

“If people are unemployed for a long time, many become isolated and the instructors can relate to that, as a lot of those who come out of the forces miss the comradeship,” he said.

“I attended the course and was asked to become a volunteer instructor. I have been doing it ever since and it has helped me tremendously.

“We have a 30 per cent success rate of people going back into work or training and due to the success in Cornwall we have been approached to run courses in Devon.

“Three instructors run the courses and others will join, including an ex-special forces person, who used to interrogate Iraqi prisoners, as well as work for the CIA and in close protection work.

“It’s something the clients find intriguing, but it is all about how the interviewer reads your body language and how you can use that to your advantage.”

Active Plus is hoping to run a similar six week course in Barnstaple in the near future and is also keen to recruit ex-forces personnel as volunteers in the North Devon area. Contact course mentor Paul Hope on 07967 120098 or visit www.activeplus.org.uk.