Government launches multi-million dollar initiative to bring older jobseekers back to the workforce

May 19, 2023
WA's Job Reconnect programme aims to reintegrate older workers to help tackle skill shortages. Source: Getty

A new initiative is being rolled out in Western Australia with the aim of reintegrating older Australians back into work.

Job Reconnect is a $5.5 million dollar project brought to life by the McGowan Government as part of efforts to alleviate the skills shortages faced in industries such as construction, hospitality and health.

“Job Reconnect targets workers who may be overlooked by employers, because now more than ever, their transferable life skills, knowledge, and experience can be harnessed to fill jobs in demand,” Training Minister Simone McGurk said in a statement.

As part of the initiative, jobseekers can also apply for a $1,500 grant to support them with payments for work-related expenses such as licences, upskilling requirements, work clothing, transport, and childcare.

Employers are also being encouraged to offer job opportunities to older jobseekers, with a $1,500 payment incentive per placement available for up to 600 positions.

“We recognise it’s not always easy making a big career change later in life, and these payments will help jobseekers with the costs associated with that, while also providing employers with an additional incentive,” McGurk said.

“These jobseekers have a lot to offer, and by helping them into work, it will address skills shortages in key industries, as well as giving 600 Western Australians the skills and confidence to start their dream careers.”

So far the project has already helped 53-year-old grandmother Carolynne Healey, who completed an aged care traineeship through Health Training Australia and has landed a job with Aegis Aged Care Group.

WA’s new programme follows an earlier announcement from the federal government regarding legislation that will allow the visas of 570 aged care migrant workers to be given priority in an effort to address the growing staff shortages impacting the sector.

According to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles the pathway is “fundamental to addressing key skills shortages” and further “reaffirms the Government’s commitment to addressing skill shortages within the care sector.”

“The delivery of this labour agreement is only possible because of the Albanese Government’s commitment to slash the visa backlog of almost one million and get our migration system working again in the interest of all Australians,” Giles said.

Mature jobseekers in WA wanting to learn more about Job Reconnect can do so by reaching out to their local Jobs and Skills Centre or by visiting the WA Jobs and Skills website.

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