Government announces targeted training for seniors

by Brett Henebery31 Aug 2017
The Federal Government has announced a trial program aimed at providing mature-age jobseekers new workplace skills.

Jobseekers aged over 50 will be able to undertake a short, intensive Career Transitional Assistance Program trial, which will be rolled out in Victoria, Queensland, NSW, Adelaide and Perth from July 2018.
Participants in the program will be able to boost their skills, strengthen their resilience, learn new job-search techniques and better understand the local labour market. They can also opt in for training in computer and information technology.
Federal Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash, said the trial is “all about appropriately targeting policies, because one size-fits-all doesn't necessarily work”.
“Mature age Australians bring a lifetime of skills and experience to the workforce. It is critical for both the individual and economy that this experience isn’t lost if older workers find themselves out of work,” she said.
“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.”
A recent study in the UK found that training older workers for employment can deliver a significant boost not only to organisations, but to national GDP.

The study, by professional services firm PwC, found that the UK could boost its GDP by more than £80 billion if the employment rate of workers aged 55 and over matched the rate of Sweden.

The report called for organisations to facilitate reverse mentoring – a training method in which younger employees teach their older peers online skills.

One recommendation from the report was that the apprenticeship age limit be extended for older workers.

“As the number of people over 55 continues to grow steadily and life expectancy increases, the UK needs to make it as easy as possible for people to continue working for longer if they wish to do so,” John Hawksworth, chief economist at PWC UK.

“This would boost both GDP and tax revenues, so helping to pay for the increased costs of an ageing population.”

In May, Australia’s Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, unveiled the 2017 Federal Budget which included a massive investment in skills training, including intensive mentoring for mature-age learners.

Morrison outlined a new $60m Industry Specialist Mentoring Program which will provide extra support for around 47,000 apprentices.

“Apprentices and trainees working in industries undergoing structural changes, such as the South Australian and Victorian automotive sectors, will get access to highly skilled specialist mentors with industry expertise,” he said.

“That intensive mentoring, targeted at but not limited to apprentices from regional areas, retrenched workers, long-term unemployed and mature-age people, will increase completion rates and support the supply of skilled workers into the economy.”

The Career Transitional Assistance program is expected to be rolled out nationally in 2020.

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