Jobseekers in their 50s can sidestep the employment ladder with free training courses to help them set up their own businesses.

The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise is offering a host of workshops to over 50s in East Finchley, Edgware and Hendon.

Paid for by Barnet Borough Council, the courses are spread out over six weeks and will take people through the challenging process of setting up a business.

Sessions will include how to manage accounts, understand legal requirements and draft a business plan.

Qualified administrator Barbara Bell, of New Barnet, attended a PRIME course in Chipping Barnet last year to help grow her home-made fudge business.

The 56-year-old opened a sweet shop in Camden Market in 2011, but was forced to close due to tough trading conditions, and she signed up to Job Seekers Allowance.

She said: “I was a little bit apprehensive at first but the course was really interesting and has helped me think about what are the best steps to help expand the business.”

Over 42,600 people in Barnet are self employed, but the scheme could help a further 2,000 over 50s in the borough.

The charity will hold separate business training courses in East Finchley on February 7, in Edgware on February 10 and Hendon on February 17. For more information, visit or ring 0845 862 2023.