OLDER WORKERS: The Federal Government is putting more funds into helping older unemployed workers develop skills and secure jobs through its Try, Test and Learn Fund.
OLDER WORKERS: The Federal Government is putting more funds into helping older unemployed workers develop skills and secure jobs through its Try, Test and Learn Fund. BakiBG

More funds for older worker engagement

THE Federal Government is testing innovative ways to assist older Australians at-risk of long-term welfare reliance through projects funded under the final round of the Try, Test and Learn Fund.

The current funding of about $5 million is helping over 830 people to learn skills to re-enter the workforce, find work and keeping jobs, develop small business skills and create employment pathways.

The Department of Social Services report states: "Older workers on Newstart Allowance represent a loss of skills and experience to the labour force, while increasing expenditure on unemployment payments and age pensions, and reducing taxation revenue from older workers. Many older Australians want to work but find it difficult to get work. At June 2017 there were 195,000 Newstart Allowance recipients aged 50 or over who have been on income support for 12 months or over."

Five older unemployed worker projects are currently being trialled.

Career Skills for New Jobs is looking to support older jobseekers to re-enter and stay in the workforce, by equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to self-manage their own careers. The project also seeks to engage employers to understand their challenges with recruiting and retaining older jobseekers. This trial is for 250 workers based in the south-west of Sydney.

The project combines personalised, career coaching and guidance with access to an online Career Management Tool to help older jobseekers build the skills and confidence to self-manage their career, and connect them to a network of existing tools, information and resources to help them find and stay in work.

Building Bridges for Mature Jobseekers aims to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for 150 older jobseekers in the Burnie region by building networks between participants and local employers who are looking for workers.

It is a local response to a locally identified issue. Insights indicated that jobs in this regional community are often secured through informal social networks, and this project aims to bridge the social networking gap.

Next Steps aims to improve 350 Adelaide older jobseekers' chances of finding and keeping a job, through a combination of training, mentoring and transformational coaching to improve their job search skills and emotional wellbeing.

The interweaving of this type of psychological support, combined with group and individualised job-skills training, makes this project unique.

Sisters Support Business Together provides 40 Brisbane participants with the practical skills to start small businesses to build the necessary knowledge and confidence for increased likelihood of moving to financial independence.

This project will test the effectiveness of starting micro-enterprises in a group setting, for this particularly vulnerable group.

Work Work, which is being run by the Two Good Foundation, creates employment pathways for 48 women in Sydney and Melbourne who aged over 50 and who are unemployed, and living in a homeless refuge or are at-risk of becoming homeless, to increase their likelihood of gaining financial independence.

This initiative will test the scalability of a unique partnership model that provides a safe and supported environment for a disadvantaged group of older women, and importantly, partners with employers early in the project's life.  

Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said: "We are testing a range of innovative projects in each state and territory which will generate an evidence base to identify the most effective pathways Australians take to get on track with their education or work goals.

"These trials will help the Government determine where to best invest taxpayer funding to support Australians get off of welfare and into a job."