Losing your job can rip a gaping whole in your life and identity as well as your pocket, but one ex-BBC employee has managed to fill the void - not only by setting up her own firm after being made redundant, but also by helping others in the same situation.

"Redundancy is increasingly becoming a fact of modern life and we need to talk about it," said Helena Taylor, an ex-senior executive producer at what once was BBC's Pebble Mill.

Until 2004, Mrs Taylor had spent 21 years working for the corporation, producing over 500 episodes of Call My Bluff as well as antiques quiz show Going for a Song and the Pebble Mill lunchtime show.

Starting as a secretary in the 1970s in London and working up the ladder through research, radio and eventually television production, Helena had only ever wanted a career in the corporation.

However, by 2003 periodic redundancies at the BBC left the future of Mrs Taylor's job in doubt and, with just two people remaining at her level, the end became inevitable.

Mrs Taylor said: "I knew for about a year that it was likely I would go - most of my peers had already left.

"However, it was still a big shock to see it in black and white on the redundancy letter."

Mrs Taylor is sympathetic to anybody going through the same process, especially in a modern world that all too often defines an individual by the work that they do.

She said: "I feel for those workers currently facing redundancy at Longbridge. It's terribly sad and I wouldn't underestimate the impact it can have.

"When you're made redundant a huge gaping hole is left - you feel you are losing control of your life.

"I used to meet people and say 'Hello, I'm Helena Taylor a television producer for the BBC' and it used to give me a sense of place.

"If you say you're redundant or not working some people think that there's something wrong with you. We shouldn't be having that sort of stigma about redundancy today, especially when some of the best people can be made redundant through restructuring or company finance issues."

While still at the BBC, Mrs Taylor had been involved in an internal mentoring process which trained her in coaching skills. She was also being coached herself.

The concept behind coaching, according to Mrs Taylor, is that, rather than provide advice, the coach helps the individual reach their own solutions to problems. In many ways it is providing someone with the time to listen to them.

Mrs Taylor said: "I think time is a gift but somehow we have got out of the habit, or not been taught, to spend it thinking about what we might want out of life.

"Coaches provide that time to help a client find their own solutions. Giving advice is a real taboo. If a coach gave advice, and it didn't work, then there is someone to blame.

"Having coaching myself meant I could talk about my pending redundancy and, if I hadn't had that opportunity, I wouldn't have coped so well."

When her redundancy was announced, Mrs Taylor made the decision to give up television and begin coaching others going through the redundancy process.

"I had a fantastic time at the BBC and had achieved much of what I wanted to.

"I realised I didn't want to be a part of future programming.

"There were no entertainment programmes left in Birmingham - they were being replaced by makeover shows.

"With hindsight it was the best time to leave."

Mrs Taylor then spent a year studying for a coaching diploma and completing an Open University degree in preparation for founding her own coaching service.

She said: "Setting up your first business a big learning curve!

"I have had to re-evaluate my expenses, but it was what I wanted to do - I was driven to make it successful."

Although Mrs Taylor finds it difficult talking in terms of sales and turnover, she hopes to enter profit by the end of this year and increase her reputation in the field over the next three to five years.

"I am proud of what I've achieved.

"If you have done your homework, you get expert advice and training and you really believe you can make it work, then I would advise anyone to go for it.

"The majority of individuals in the UK work in small business - there must be something good about it."