Employers in and around Penrith were today urged to look past age and see the great experience that can help their businesses when they recruit mature aged workers.
Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis hosted a breakfast which gathered 50 local businesses to promote the benefits of employing older workers and the different forms of Australian Government assistance to help them recruit.
Ms Ellis said the Australian Government’s Corporate Champions program was taking off on the back of a media campaign and a series of functions for businesses that has swept the country.
“Slowly but surely age discrimination in the jobs market is getting the awareness it deserves,” Ms Ellis said.
“The fact is it’s alive and well in many locations around Australia.
“I congratulate the various media outlets who have taken up the mantle and made this an issue for their audiences. Too many employers are knocking back a lifetime of experience with so many well qualified and skilled candidates.
“Many of Australia’s 3.8 million mature-age Australians want to make a strong contribution to Australian businesses, including those in the Penrith region.
“A number of businesses are already making good use of the skills and experience of our mature age workers – but we want to see even more jobseekers and businesses benefit.
“Statistics show it’s less likely for people over 50 to become unemployed, but we know that when they do, they find it very tough getting back into the workforce.
“We know mature-age workers in New South Wales are unemployed for an average of 83 weeks.
“This is nearly double the length of time experienced by younger workers, for whom the average is about 42 weeks of unemployment.
“That’s simply not on and it’s why we are investing in programs and incentives for businesses that are prepared to re-think their HR practices when it comes to hiring mature age workers.”
Federal Member for Lindsay David Bradbury welcomed the investment in helping older jobseekers in Penrith find work.
“I encourage local employers to look at the benefits that mature age workers will bring to their businesses,” Mr Bradbury said.
“The Federal Labor Government is investing $25 million in a new mature age training program – Experience+ Work Ready.
“Western Sydney will be one of the first regions to have access to this program which will provide training to boost the IT skills of job seekers and provide paid work trials.
“I encourage local businesses to take advantage of the range of initiatives the Government has put in place to help them recruit and retain older workers.”
Businesses that sign up to be a Corporate Champion benefit from assistance including:
- priority access to the Jobs Bonus of $1000 available to 2500 employers who recruit mature-age job seekers each financial year until 2016
- up to $20,000 worth of services from 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.
“The Australian Government is doing more than ever before to help Australian businesses harness the skills and experience of mature-age workers.” Ms Ellis said.
For information on the Government’s mature-age employment programs visit: www.deewr.gov.au/experienceplus.