City of Wanneroo and Stirling Skills Training offer free job workshops to over 45s

Banksia Grove resident said Claire Kennelly-Mackie says getting back into the workforce is challenging. Photo: Martin Kennealey
Banksia Grove resident said Claire Kennelly-Mackie says getting back into the workforce is challenging. Photo: Martin Kennealey

CLAIRE Kennelly-Mackie (58) has been trying to get back into the workforce for two years without success, despite having an incredible work history that included working with Michael Jackson as a temporary personal assistant and being called to attend the 9/11 attacks.

After taking a few years off from full-time employment, Mrs Kennelly-Mackie said she wanted to find part-time work in an office or customer service.

“Getting back into the workforce is challenging,” she said.

“I’ve got an incredible work history and it should be easy – I spent 20 years in New York city and I worked for the largest coal company in the world as a personal assistant.”

Mrs Kennelly-Mackie said she currently got about five hours paid work a week and volunteered as an ambulance driver and medic with St John Ambulance for about 40 hours a week.

“It’s my way to give back to the community,” she said.

Over the past two years, she has applied for up to five jobs a day without success, and had her resume checked by professionals.

“I’ve been told it may have something to do with age but they can’t really say that,” she said.

“It does start to get you down a little bit; your self-worth takes a knock.

“The volunteer work is easy to get – that kind of helps in that I’m doing something, but unfortunately we do need to pay the bills.”

The Banksia Grove resident said people her age could offer their knowledge and life experience to employers.

“I know how to handle a lot of situations,” she said.

Mrs Kennelly-Mackie said she was looking forward to attending free employment workshops for people aged over 45 in Girrawheen this month.

A high unemployment rate among seniors in some suburbs  prompted the City of Wanneroo to introduce a series of free sessions to help people over 45 overcome ageism in the workforce by arming them with the skills and tools for modern work places.

Presented by Stirling Skills Training at the Girrawheen Hub, the workshops will help people who would like to re-enter the workforce following redundancy or illness, or those currently employed but wanting to change careers and improve their employability skills.

Topics covered include the important role of technology, how to update resumes for modern recruitment and building personal networks.

“The offer to up-skill and get back into the workforce is such a good opportunity,” Mrs Kennelly-Mackie said.

Claire Kennelly-Mackie with Vegas. Photo: Martin Kennealey

Mayor Tracey Roberts said the workshops were being offered in response to community demand.

“Our residents have told us that job readiness training events are often targeted towards young people or those from diverse cultural backgrounds, but very few are offered for mature age people,” she said.

“We believe these new workshops at the Girrawheen Hub will provide mature age job seekers with some very valuable skills and knowledge for today’s job market.”

In 2016, the unemployment rate in the City for people aged 55 years and over was 6.6 per cent, compared to 6 per cent in Greater Perth.

Koondoola had the highest senior unemployment rate at 12.4 per cent followed by Banksia Grove (9.7 per cent), Merriwa (9.6 per cent), Girrawheen (9.6 per cent) and Clarkson (8.7 per cent).

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Employment Essentials for Over 45s workshops

When: 9.30am to 12.30pm on Fridays, February 8, 15, 22 and March 1 and 8

Where: Girrawheen Hub, Patrick Court

Bookings: ‘Employment Essentials in Girrawheen’ at eventbrite.com.au