60 is the new 45. Get used to it employers!.

Aus Gov

Helping mature age Australians into work

60 is the new 45. Get used to it employers!

Older people are looking younger every day – they are taking advantage of simple cosmetic enhancement techniques like dermal fillers and botox injections. They are going to the gym to develop their muscles and body shape. They are eating healthy and living healthy.

Many are leaving their younger co-workers far behind in the health, vitality, motivation, dedication, skills and experience stakes – and with good reason.

The baby boomers are the generation with the sound work ethic. They give to their employers, and then give some more. They take less sick leave and work longer hours. They offer a lifetime of experience which enriches their workplaces.

Increasing numbers of mature aged people are choosing to stay in the workforce longer for financial or personal choice reasons.

It might be because they have later life caring responsibilities that are placing a financial burden on them; it may be because they have not amassed enough superannuation to retire; it may be because the rental market is so expensive that they cannot live on government benefits; it may be just that they have skills they wish to keep contributing to their workplace and community; some just love their job and see no reason to leave. 60 is the new 45 in the workplace.

Life for many mature age people is no longer about retiring and going on a campervan trip around Australia. For many, it is about ‘refiring’ and hitting achievement targets rather than golf balls.

Recognising some of the barriers mature age people are experiencing when trying to re-enter the workforce, for example after a redundancy or an absence from work after being a carer, the Australian Government has announced five trial locations for their Career Transition Assistance Program for mature age workers.

The program, which will help prepare mature aged Australians for new jobs, is set to be trialled from 1 July 2018 in Ballarat, Victoria; Somerset, Queensland; Central West, New South Wales; Adelaide, South Australia; and Perth, Western Australia, before being rolled out nationally in 2020.

Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash, says the program is part of the government delivering on their commitment to a $110 million Mature Age Employment Package announced in the 2017-18 budget.

“Mature age Australians bring a lifetime of skills and experience to the workforce,” she says.

“It is critical for both the individual and economy that this experience isn’t lost if older workers find themselves out of work.

“We recognise the immense capacity of mature age Australians and understand the need to provide unique support so they can upskill and fill key roles in Australian workplaces.”

While senior’s advocacy group Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia welcomes the announcement of the rollout of trial sites for the program, Chief Executive Ian Yates has raised concerns that while it aims to allow older Australians to re-enter the workforce, they still may find themselves ‘locked out’.

“We welcome the government’s approach to trialling the Career Transition Assistance Program and learning the lessons from these trials to inform the national roll out of the program,” he says.

“While we welcome the government’s efforts to remove some of the barriers older Australians face when returning to the workforce, more is required to address the full extent of the problem.”

He adds that while some older Australians will benefit from reskilling – including training in computer and information technology – and job search techniques, resulting in greater chances of finding work, the prevalence and complexity of age discrimination in many cases means that skilled and technologically savvy mature age workers will still be locked out of jobs.

“Age discrimination is still rife in Australia, with more than one quarter of mature age Australians experiencing age discrimination at work,” Mr Yates says.

“Discrimination against older Australians not only has a negative impact on the wellbeing of older Australians, but also creates significant issues for our society and the economy.

“The government must take the initiative, working with the sector, to lead the cultural and attitudinal change that Australia needs if it is to capitalise on its ageing population.”

The Career Transition Assistance Program will be open to those who are registered with a jobactive provider within one of the five regions and are 50 years of age or older.

Further details on the program, including guidelines, will be released closer to the program start date of 1 July 2018.

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