The first cohort of 31 mature aged graduates will receive their Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing and Disability) in partnership with RMIT University and Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand. It’s part of the Cities of Brimbank, Melton and Bacchus Marsh’s commitment in targeting unemployed mature workers over the age of 50.
The Reach, Train, Employ project, managed by COTA Victoria for the Australian Government, was set up to address the growing number of unemployed older Australian workers. The program was supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund – an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
Reach, Train, Employ aimed to improve employment outcomes for older Australians through accredited training and job placement in the aged care and disability services sectors, supporting older people and people with disabilities in the community.
The program included training to address barriers to employment, such as low digital literacy and limited access to technology, as well as health and wellbeing concerns and loss of confidence. The program also offered extended support to assist older workers into sustainable employment.
Of the 31 graduates, 21 have found work before finishing their studies. Most are working in the aged care or disability sector as a personal carer, in home community care or at a residential facility. Others have found work in non-related fields, including corrections, hairdressing, retail and hospitality.
The July graduation ceremony will include a panel discussion featuring Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon Dr Kay Patterson, as well as Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians. The discussion will look at the issues for older people seeking to gain employment and remain employed.
Sharyn Ciberlin, 53, has now found work as a personal carer, after being in and out of work since 2018.
‘Reach, Train, Employ is a great initiative. The partnership of COTA Victoria, RMIT University and Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand works very well. Putting together the needs of over 50s, who are looking for work, with the community need for aged care and disability support – this really addresses it. This should be the main goal of education: matching a need with a skill.’
And Sharyn has some sound advice for older Australians who find themselves unemployed.
‘We have transferable life skills; we are valuable. Be confident and listen. Keep informed; know where to go for information. Go to places like your local council for information. Go to the library and source information for support. Keep in touch with what is going on. Know you are of value.’
For more information, contact Reach, Train, Employ project team leader, Wennie van Riet, on mobile 0499 224 000 or via email email@example.com.