Skills package for older jobseekers launched in Forrestfield

From left: Ken Wyatt, Michaelia Cash, Alan Howard and Steve Irons at the Career Transition Assistance launch today. Photo: Lynn Grierson
From left: Ken Wyatt, Michaelia Cash, Alan Howard and Steve Irons at the Career Transition Assistance launch today. Photo: Lynn Grierson

MINISTER for Aged Care Ken Wyatt is hopeful an up skills package for older jobseekers will help unemployed people aged 50-plus off the dole and into jobs.

The average time for a person aged 55-plus to be out of work in WA is 73 weeks.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash announced the training boost today at Globaltech, a mining technology business in Forrestfield where 56-year-old Alan Howard found employment as an electronics technician.

Mr Howard said he was unemployed for 18 months and wrote hundreds of job applications before he found work in March through the Government’s Restart program.

“I did a course in warehouse training and got my forklift ticket, but employers always asked for two years of experience,” he said.

“Anyone who tries to change jobs completely usually struggles unless an employer is prepared to offer work experience.

“I had to give up my car because I couldn’t afford to fix it when I was unemployed so now I depend on public transport, but I’m not complaining.

“The people at Globaltech are very friendly and the work is challenging and I have years of experience working as an electronics technician.”

The Perth North employment region of Hasluck, Swan and Pearce is one of five locations set to trial the Government’s Career Transition Assistance program from July 2018.

Mr Wyatt said short courses, including computer and technology training, would help older people identify strengths and gaps in their skill set.

“People receiving career transition assistance will be able to pinpoint transferable skills, reassess their approach to looking for a job, refresh their resume and, most importantly, gain the confidence to move into a new role,” he said.

“The program will also help local businesses, by providing them with a greater pool of experienced and skilled potential recruits.”

He said older people would be able to acquire skills required in the workplace.

The career assistance program is part of the Government’s $110 million Mature Age Employment package.

Mr Wyatt encouraged employers to benefit from the wage subsidy part of the program called Restart, which supports businesses with $10,000 to hire and retain a mature-aged worker.

He said employers had many incentives to employ older people who had updated their skill set.

“Several small companies in my electorate employ people aged over 60 and say they are reliable and willing to work flexible hours.”

Federal Minister for Swan Steve Irons also attended the program launch.

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