Reach, Train and Employ has been an innovative employment project led by Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria to support job seekers 50 years and over into paid work. The project provided training for work in the aged care and disability sectors for older job seekers living in Brimbank and Melton Local Government areas.
COTA Victoria delivered the project in partnership with the RMIT School of Vocational Design and Social Context, Future Social Services Institute (FSSI), and Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand (GSANZ). The project was supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund – an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
What did we achieve?
Read the full Evaluation Report, October 2021 (1.48 MB)
Reach, Train and Employ has supported 37 participants to complete a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing and Disability) (CHC33015) with RMIT School of Vocational Design and Social Context.
Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand (GSANZ) has provided a Life Coach to implement an individual support plan with participants, to support them to achieve their goals and address any barriers as they arise.
Participants were also offered computer courses through Duke St Neighbourhood House and one to one mentoring through RACV’s People and Culture Corporate Volunteering team.
Despite the limitations caused by the global pandemic Reach, Train and Employ continued to be delivered, with participants switching from classroom to online learning. Participants showed great resilience and adaptability.
Some of our additional supports for participants in the project included:
- career guidance
- employment assistance through resume writing, interview techniques and understanding the employment market
- enhancing IT and digital literacy
- providing financial counselling
- mental health and well-being support
- assisting with student and employment placements
As a result of the support provided 30 out of 37 participants have been able to find sustainable employment within a month of finishing their course. One participant has enrolled in further studies in a Diploma in Nursing and another two participants have started to volunteer to gain additional experience.
What have we learned?
Read our Guide for Supporting Job Seekers Aged 50+ (799 KB )
To support jobseekers more effectively, there are a number of barriers that need to be addressed, both from an employer as well as jobseeker perspective:
- Recruitment practices need to address unconscious bias towards jobseekers aged 50+ by using a multigenerational recruitment panel; using inclusive language in job advertisements; and offering flexible work arrangements and workplace modifications if required.
- Internalised ageism and lack of self-confidence in jobseekers aged 50+ needs to be addressed. This can be achieved through ongoing emotional and wellbeing support provided through a coach and/or peer support network.
- When planning a career for someone aged 50+, they may need support to assess their experience, skills, values, work style and cultural preferences as well as their income needs. This understanding needs to be matched with industry knowledge of workforce demand and an understanding of which industries value life experience and enable opportunities to re-train.
- People aged 50+ are more often than not willing to re-train, learn new skills or change their careers. They may, however, require tailored support such as emotional and self-confidence support as well as educational, digital technology, course enrolment or referral to specialist services support to enable their successful study completion.
- The digital literacy capability of people aged 50+ can vary immensely, so it is very important not to assume what someone can or cannot do. Digital supports need to be tailored to the individual’s capability and should include determining whether access to technological devices is required.
- Most people aged 50+ have not had to apply for jobs for a long time. In order to land a job interview, individual job application support in the form of understanding the job market, preparing a resume and cover letter and understanding how to apply for online jobs is crucial. Practicing job interviews and continuing to provide support in the first few months into getting a new job is equally important to find and keep sustainable and appropriately remunerated work.
These findings are in line with the report on Employing and retaining older workers (April 2021) from the Australian HR Institute and Australian Human Rights Commission.
Feedback from Reach, Train and Employ participants
Hear directly from participants about their experience and hopes as mature aged job seekers.
Resources for mature age job seekers
If you are a mature aged job seeker these resources might be useful to you:
Work45+ has been created by COTA Tas, in consultation with mature age jobs seekers, employers and job service providers. It has the information they believe will help more mature age job seekers be employed and valued. It’s for anyone aged over 45 looking for work by choice or necessity, and employers looking for staff.
Working for everyone provides useful information for both mature age jobseekers and the employment services staff who assist them. (Brotherhood of St Laurence)
For more information, contact Wennie van Riet – Team Leader Social and Economic Participation, via phone 03 9655 2122 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org