The government has announced a raft of measures in the federal budget set to help Australia’s older employees with careers in the modern workforce.
“Australians are now expected to live almost 10 years longer than they were 50 years ago, with our life expectancy now the fifth highest in the OECD. This is good news,” the budget papers said.
“The government is acting to maximise the opportunities that a longer life brings, preserving and increasing the choices available, so Australians can live life to the full.”
As part of that it is introducing its “More Choices for a Longer Life Package,” which includes spending $17.4 million over four years to establish the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program, designed to support employees aged 45-70 to remain in the workforce.
“From 1 September 2018, 5,000 employees each year would be entitled to receive customised career advice on transitioning into new roles, or their pathways to a new career, including referrals to relevant training options,” the budget paper said.
The government will also provide $189.7 million over five years to support mature age Australians to adapt to the transitioning economy and develop the skills needed to remain in work.
This funding includes:
• $136.4 million over four years from 2018-19 for targeted training to help mature age job seekers aged 45 years and over and who are registered with a job active provider to enhance employability, develop digital skills and identify opportunities in local labour markets;
• $19.3 million over three years from 2018-19 for training funding of up to $2,000 for workers aged 45 to 70 years to take up reskilling or upskilling opportunities, with the Government contribution to be matched by either the worker or their current employer;
• $15.2 million over three years from 2018-19 to support mature age workers who are considering early retirement or who are retrenched to look at alternatives to remain in employment;
• $17.7 million over four years from 2018-19 for additional Inclusive Entrepreneurship Facilitators for an increased focus on mature age people to promote entrepreneurship and new business opportunities and to provide business mentoring; and
• $1.1 million in 2018-19 to restructure the Employment Fund to allow additional wage subsidy places for mature age employees.
In addition, the government will work with business and community peak bodies to develop strategies that promote the benefits of a diverse workforce, influence hiring practices and reduce discrimination. The Government will also better target its existing communication campaign activities for various Australian Government employment services to increase awareness of these programs, within existing funding.
The government will also provide funding of $6.5 million for the development of website checks for 45 and 65 year olds, supported by reminder letters, so they can assess their health, employment options and finances, and stay remain healthy, active and independent.