Reach Train 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?
Reach, Train, 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, 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?
Through working with our Reach Train Employ participants we learned that:
- In order to retain older workers we need workplaces that are flexible. Some older workers might want to work full time, but as people age, working part time can become more attractive due to health concerns, caring responsibilities, or simply wanting a better work life balance.
- Older people are willing to work for longer. Our participants were well in their 50s and 60s, with our oldest participant being 75 years old. Older people are willing to continue to work to have a purpose and earn an income. Particularly if the work provides them with job satisfaction and matches with their personal values.
- It is a myth that older people are not willing to learn new skills. Our participants have showcased they are willing to change careers, engage in education and learn new skills at any age. Lifelong learning is beneficial for anyone and enables personal and professional development at any age and enhances employability and ability to retain work.
- Some older people might struggle due to a lack of self-confidence, this can be compounded if they have experienced age-discrimination in the workplace. Older people can greatly benefit from emotional and wellbeing support, support to enhance their digital literacy as well as peer support to enhance their self-confidence and enable them to thrive in an educational or work setting.
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 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 Reach, Train, Employ, directly on mobile 0499 224 000 or via email email@example.com