Experience Plus Older Workers

Experience Plus: Older Workers

Not long ago a relative was faced with a tough decision: continue to commute 2 hours a day each way to work for minimum wages or move to Sydney, pay a huge rent and be closer to her job but farther away from family and friends. Local work was hard to come by and when it did it was rarely permanent. My sister was in the ‘over 55’ category. She applied for literally hundreds of jobs over the course of a few months, adjusting her resume to focus on key skills required for the role. At times she was fortunate enough to get an interview which meant she had to take time off from her Sydney job to attend. When she arrived, she would invariably be told she was ‘too experienced’ for the job. My sister is a bright woman. She’s one of the generation who decided to put her career aspirations on hold to be at home for her four children. Her husband earned enough for the family to get by and she worked in casual jobs when she could to afford a few extras.

It was my, and her, firm belief after her experiences that confirmed the deep vein of ageism that runs through the Australian employment scene. (And we’re not even talkig about recruiters – thats’ a whole other story).

Experience Plus Older WorkersIt was with that in mind that I conducted a program for older workers, workers with ‘experience plus’, who need to continue to work and plan of their transition to retirement. The uptake of the program was limited. Employers largely were not convinced of the value of training and developing workers at the back-end of their working life.

I’m pleased to see another push by the government of the day to encourage employers to manage the ageing workforce scenario. It hasn’t gone away. Heavens, we’ve known about this time coming since the late 1940’s!

Applications are now open for employers (or small business owners) to apply for Experience+ Training grants of $4,950 (includes GST). Experience+ Training allows you to retain valuable skills and experience in the workplace. It provides quality training (at the Certificate III level or above) for your mature age workers (aged 50 years or over) so that they can gain the skills to successfully mentor and supervise your apprentices or trainees. The grants are paid in two installments – a start up payment of $3,500 and a completion payment of $1,450 (when the worker has completed the course).

For more information and details, go to:  Experience+ Training Guidelines and Application Form 2010-14or call the Experience+ hotline on 13 17 64 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).

Applications close on 30 June 2011.

http://www.deewr.gov.au/experienceplus is the place to go to get more information on the latest government mature worker initiatives.