More than 2000 mature age job seekers are now in a job through a new Australian Government program designed to break the cycle of unemployment.
Minister for Employment Participation, Kate Ellis said the Australian Government is helping more mature aged Australians secure jobs through the new Wage Connect which began in January last year.
“Mature age workers represent a huge boost to our workforce and economy, and yet we hear far too many stories from mature aged Australians who are being shut out of the workforce for no good reason,” Minister Ellis said.
"Research shows mature age workers save their employer $2000 a year compared to their younger counterparts - they are more reliable, loyal, cost less to recruit, and provide a greater return on investment.
“Despite this, we know that mature age workers are out of work longer, twice as long as their younger counterparts with the average duration of unemployment for people over 55 standing at 68 weeks.
“We introduced the Wage Connect program as part of a package of programs aimed squarely at breaking down the barriers for getting mature age workers into work.”
Minister Ellis said the Australian Government’s $86 million Wage Connect program provides a wage subsidy of around $5,900 over six months to eligible businesses which employ people who have been receiving income support for two years, and have had no or minimal work experience in that time.
“Wage Connect is about giving employers the incentive to give a long-term unemployed Australian a chance, when they might not otherwise have had one,” Ms Ellis said.
“There is no question that this program has changed the lives of people who have found work through the program.”
Australian Government initiatives to get more mature aged Australians into work include:
· Expanding the Australian Government’s highly successful Corporate Champions program to more than 250 new organisations across Australia and take in small, medium and big businesses
· Delivering more than 8000 free career advice sessions to mature age job seekers to help them market their skills to employers through the $11.7 million Experience+ Career Advice service since July 2010
· Appointing the first Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan AO, tasked with tackling age discrimination
· Commissioning the first ever survey of 3000 mature age Australians specifically looking at the major barriers to employment.
The Corporate Champions program offers businesses intensive help for 18 months to attract and retain workers, including:
· up to $10,000 in assistance to access an industry expert to help improve their workforce planning and recruitment strategies
· up to $4400 per employer for a skills assessment and training through the ‘Investing in Experience- Skills Recognition and Training’ program
· a Jobs Bonus of $1000 for employers who recruit mature age job seekers
· the Wage Connect subsidy of around $5900 for employers who take on a mature age job seeker with no recent workforce experience.
For more information on the Government’s mature age employment programs visit: www.deewr.gov.au/experienceplus or call 13 17 64.
Interested employers who would like to learn more about Wage Connect can visit http://deewr.gov.au/wage-connect or contact a local employment services provider on 13 17 15.