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Federal Government launches Productive Ageing Package

2 min read

The package has a number of measures, which target different aspects of employment for the mature workforce. These measures will commence in early 2010 and continue until at least July 2012. They include skill development and transfer; transition to new employment; and establishment of a Consultative Forum.

Skill development and transfer

The Government is committing $18.8 million to help mature age workers stay in employment and to support skills transfer. This includes:

  • 2,000 training packages for employers to allow eligible mature age workers to re-train as supervisors or trainers of young apprentices or as workplace assessors.
  • 50 funding grants for Golden Gurus organisations to connect mature age people who are retired, semi-retired or not working full-time with employers of trade apprentice.
  • Face-to-face job support and training for 2,000 eligible mature-age workers with a health condition or injury which impacts on their ability to do their job.

Transitioning to new employment

The Government is also committing $23.5 million to help mature age workers transition to new employment through Job Services Australia, including assistance through the Employment Pathway Fund for training relevant to the job seeker’s needs.

Up to 8,000 mature age workers in physically demanding roles and about 1,600 recently retrenched job seekers are expected to benefit from the support of Job Services Australia.

Job seekers and workers aged 45 years and over will also be eligible for free, professional career advice to help them plan for successful career transitions.

Establishment of a Consultative Forum

Treasurer Wayne Swan said the Government would also establish a Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation to advise on further measures to help mature age workers who want to remain in the workforce.

The forum will include seniors groups, employment service providers, education and training providers, trade unions and health and ageing experts. They will meet for the first time later this month. Chairman of National Seniors Australia, Everald Compton, AM, will be the inaugural Chairman of the Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation.

Treasurer Swan said “the Productive Ageing Package will help us tackle the economic challenges of an ageing population by helping to retain the expertise of older Australians in the workforce and transfer it to younger Australians.”

The package builds on the Government’s measures to support older Australians, in particular the boost to the Aged Pension delivered last year. This included the introduction of a new Work Bonus allowing age pensioners to retain more of their income under the pension means-test.

Commissioner for Age Discrimination, Elizabeth Broderick, welcomed the package on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Commissioner Broderick said that it was vital that these measures allow mature age workers real choice. She said that education and the shifting of community attitudes is critical to achieving these successes for older workers.

“We know that there are workers who are work-ready, skilled up and able to commence employment immediately, yet they struggle to find work because of unaddressed prejudice related to their age – that is, unlawful age discrimination.”

The Australian Human Rights Commission provides a resource, entitled Mature workers mean business, that addresses the myths about mature age workers in the workforce and offers strategies for employers to attract and retain mature workers.

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