Helping older workers fulfil their goals

A government pilot program is revealing Australia has a strong workforce of mature workers keen to remain productive, writes James Moran.

A government pilot program is revealing Australia has a strong workforce of mature workers keen to remain productive, writes James Moran.

James Moran
James Moran

The Australian Skills Checkpoint Pilot offers workers aged between 45 and 54 years a professional careers “health check” to evaluate their skills and experience in order to create a personalised career map of their future prospects.

Participants are also invited to attend online and offline workshops on training opportunities, the future jobs market, and recruitment trends for those looking at transitioning into new careers.

The whole process takes about six weeks, after which participants receive their career map defining ways to address skills gaps, listing suitable occupations and employment opportunities to suit their skillsets and information on training pathways and government programs relevant to their circumstances.

Pilot participant “Theresa,” who shoulders caring responsibilities for her disabled son, says her career map clarified the directions she could realistically pursue in the context of her circumstances.

“The pilot helped me realise I have a lot of transferrable skills applicable to local industries where flexible work practices are more commonplace than where I am working right now,” Teresa says.

“I am also better informed about government programs and assistance I am eligible for if I want to pursue further training – I feel more certain about my future options.”

So far, the Skills Checkpoint initiative is attracting a lot of interest from a workforce of mature Australians keen to remain productive, who are driven to generate an income to secure a comfortable retirement.

The average Australian healthy lifestyle expectancy is one of the highest in the world, due to improvements in health care and other technologies, while the age pension age for both men and women will hit 67 by mid-2023.

Meanwhile, the number of working people aged 15 to 64 in proportion to each of those aged 65 and over has dropped from 7.3 people in 1975 to around 4.5 people today.

It’s clearly an economic imperative that we do all we can to encourage mature Australians to contribute their experience and skill to the workforce.

This pilot recognises that many older people need advice on how best to do that, and I hope we can assist many people to realise their dreams.

James Moran is general manager of Apprenticeship Support Australia, one of the organisations delivering the pilot in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. To participate call 1300 073 612 or visit skillsroad.com.au/skillscheckpoint

Tags: James Moran, mature-age workers, Skills Checkpoint, workforce,

6 thoughts on “Helping older workers fulfil their goals

  1. This sounds like a very worthwhile undertaking but why does it discriminate against those who are over 54?
    By current standards 54 is very young with many opportunities to further build on skills, experience and education as perceptions evolve
    It is those who are 55 – 60 and over that need support to ensure their relevance so they can combat the inherent age discrimination of employers (and researchers!)

  2. I could not agree more, its time to get busy loud and active to encourage the Boomer Gen in the workforce to reflect on what they want in in regards to remaining connected to work and living the life balance. Find out what area of new work they would be, could be and want to be good at. Focus on what skills they have and what gaps need to be filled to meet the next part of their working life as they look at what changes in their engagement strategy they wish to place the effort in.

    Many older workers want to remain engaged in the workforce and community, retirement doesn’t have to mean disappearing. Older nurses will make great mentors leaders and change champions given the chance to remain engaged in care.

  3. To paraphrase Malcolm…”there has never been a better time… to get an aged care tertiary qualification…”
    Two separate, private, on-line educational institutions have been bombarding me for ten days with special, discounted offers on aged care training Courses. For less than $3,000 I can get a tertiary aged-care qualification without leaving my keyboard…
    Even a prestigious organisation like Melbourne Uni is offering no less than four levels of qualifications in aged care ranging up to a Master of Aged Care! All the courses offered can be done online.
    In answering my questions, all of them welcomed my interest, solicited my enrollment, and none of them even inquired as to my age… Why should they? After all I am only 86 (and a half) and legally blind.
    Another example of the fact that, far from being “…a burden on the taxpayers” older people are, once again, an “economic driver.”
    Now we are providing stimulus to the tertiary education sector and giving new impetus to the ever-increasing HECS debt problem… Would it not be a nice change if related sectors of our economy began to work together?
    Some dialogue on this subject would be interesting and might even be productive. Go well.

  4. I have to agree with Peter B about the discriminatory stance against the 55+. It’s interesting that the term ‘older’ is applied to the 45-54 age group so what are the 55+ in the workplace? There is a lot of presumption about segments of the 50+. In fact a proportion of the 50+ and 55+ are in study (including me) because we need to remain employed and can actually create our own road map and help 20+ to also look at work options for now and the future. We have debt that is about investment in our selves and for others’ benefit. The problem with this program is that it ignores what a proportion of the 50+ and 55+ are doing to remain employed including volunteering for enhanced skills or mentoring or studying/working and juggling all kinds of responsibilities sometimes on single incomes and doing it tough. If you’re looking for champions, survey from a strengths-based approach rather than a deficits-based approach.

  5. I understand this is a “pilot” program – therefore the need to restrict the group to a certain age cohort in the first instance. Feedback from the pilot (including from those not eligible to participate due to their age) should inform the Government about what is needed to improve the concept. Hopefully the pilot is a success and is expanded to include a wider age group.

  6. I am 61 therefore do not qualify for assistance.
    Maybe don’t have a age at all for this as you are also discriminating.
    Just offer those will able and ready the support.

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