Middle-aged people should not be consigned to the “employment scrapheap” if they are made redundant, the district’s Conservative group has said.

It argues that the district should instead become a centre of excellence known for retraining those who lose their jobs.

Councillor John Pennington, the group’s spokesman for employment and skills, said it was traumatic for people to lose their job in their 30s or 40s only to find their skills had become outdated.

He said those made redundant or at risk of redundancy could be offered new training through local colleges and education providers.

Coun Pennington said the Labour-led authority was “quite rightly” trying to bring more highly-skilled jobs to the district, and that equipping a potential workforce with up-to-date skills in this way would help attract such employers.

Coun Pennington said: “People should not end up on the employment scrapheap when they have 20 to 30 years of working life left in them and we are calling on the Council to work with local education and skills providers to look at ways to drive forwards the numbers of people who are retrained in new up-to-date skills at this stage in life.”

Coun Pennington said such a cutting-edge scheme could then be rolled out in other authorities if it proved a success.

He said: “This could improve the district, its economy and the quality of lives of significant numbers of local families.”

The proposal could form part of the party’s budget proposals, due to be revealed later this month, a spokesman said.

Bradford Council’s Labour leadership responded by saying there was already help for those made redundant.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for employment and skills, said: “They’re right it’s an important service but a service which is already being provided elsewhere.

“JobCentre Plus (JCP) is funded to provide support for people being made redundant. JCP has a Rapid Response Fund which aims to match people with employment opportunities and additional training before they are made redundant.

“We therefore don’t think the Council should also fund this kind of activity as it would be duplicating what’s already there.”

She said the real gap in provision across the country was for the long-term unemployed, but that the Council’s Get Bradford Working programme was helping to plug that gap locally.