On 29 July, 31 mature aged graduates celebrated completing their Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing and Disability). But the real celebration is that most of the graduates are now working.
The Reach, Train, Employ project, managed by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria in partnership with RMIT University and Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand, was set up in response to growing unemployment among older Australian workers. The program was supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
The July graduation ceremony included a panel discussion on the issues faced by older people looking to find a job and stay employed. The panel featured Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon Dr Kay Patterson, as well as Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians.
Ageism in the workplace was one theme of the discussion. Workers over 50 face an uphill battle to find meaningful employment and reenter the workforce, spending, on average, twice as long looking for work than younger people. One solution is to acquire a new qualification and pursue a different career in a sector where the demand for employees is high.
Retraining has certainly paid off for the Reach, Train, Employ graduates. With another person finding work last week, 23 graduates (75% of the group) have found employment in the aged care and disability industry within a week of graduation.
Before joining Reach, Train Employ, 68% of participants had been out of work for more than 12 months, including 25% who had not worked for more than five years. This has all changed thanks to Reach, Train Employ and the graduates’ dedicated work studying online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘I never imagined I’d be able to find work again – but here I am,’ says Toby*, a 57-year old man who has been out of the workforce for more than five years. After 25 years in the automotive industry, Toby was retrenched in 2015, and struggled to find sustainable work. He decided to join Reach, Train Employ when he saw a flyer at his local library. Having been a carer for his son, who has special needs, Toby decided to use his personal experience to retrain and change his career – with great success.
A gold medal for all our graduates!
For more information, contact Reach, Train, Employ Project team leader Wennie van Riet on mobile 0499 224 000 or via email email@example.com