Help­ing job­less older work­ers into work­force a good move

The West Australian - - OPINION -

Among the many keys to a pos­i­tive healthy life is hav­ing a job.

Em­ploy­ment pro­vides us with the money we need to live — and hope­fully with some left over for some treats — but it also of­fers much more.

Hav­ing a steady job pro­vides fo­cus, mo­ti­va­tion, goals and a sense of self-worth. It also means we are pay­ing our way. For some, find­ing work or keep­ing their job is not a given, and the so­cial wel­fare safety net is there to help them through the chal­lenges that un­em­ploy­ment brings.

Long-term un­em­ploy­ment can erode a per­son’s self-con­fi­dence and mo­ti­va­tion.

This has ram­i­fi­ca­tions not just for their fi­nan­cial sta­tus, but also for their emo­tional well­be­ing and even their phys­i­cal health, all of which can have an im­pact on their fam­i­lies, too.

Job­less­ness also means a po­ten­tially pro­duc­tive worker is not con­tribut­ing to the coun­try’s eco­nomic health.

As such, get­ting un­em­ployed peo­ple back into the work­force is good for the worker and the coun­try.

One group of work­ers who some­times need ex­tra help to get back into a job is older, more ma­ture work­ers.

Sadly, de­spite their years of valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence, com­mon sense and es­tab­lished work ethic, they can too eas­ily be over­looked in a com­pet­i­tive jobs mar­ket.

With this in mind, a new Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment pro­gram to help get older work­ers back into em­ploy­ment is a good idea.

The Ca­reer Tran­si­tion As­sis­tance pro­gram, which tar­gets un­em­ployed work­ers aged over 50, will be rolled out in Perth’s north­ern sub­urbs from next year as one of five target re­gions across the coun­try.

The Gov­ern­ment says the pro­gram, de­signed to as­sist older work­ers locked out of the work­force af­ter re­dun­dancy or job loss, will of­fer a short, in­ten­sive course that in­cludes skills as­sess­ments, ex­plor­ing suit­able new types of jobs and in­for­ma­tion on the lo­cal job mar­ket, as well as “re­silience strate­gies”.

Par­tic­i­pants can opt in to com­puter and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy train­ing to help them into a new po­si­tion.

The new train­ing ser­vices for older job­seek­ers will be al­lied with an ex­pan­sion of work-ex­pe­ri­ence pro­grams, with an ex­tra 4000 places to be cre­ated and em­ploy­ers to be paid $300, plus a $400 com­ple­tion fee, for tak­ing on older can­di­dates.

If the ini­tia­tives get ma­ture-age work­ers back into the swing of reg­u­lar em­ploy­ment, there are plenty of up­sides for them, their em­ploy­ers and the na­tion.

And the money al­lo­cated to get­ting them back on their feet will have been money well spent.

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