Page 1225 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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per cent from 12.9 per cent today. These statistics are a clear reminder that government must proactively develop age-friendly solutions for our community’s mature age workers.

The government recognises the importance of engaging and retaining mature age workers in the workforce and that this represents a partial solution to labour and skill shortages. We need to embrace and nurture our mature age workers and provide them with more opportunities and access to retrain, reskill or even, as I said, reinvent their skills set.

At the roundtable I was particularly interested in the presentation by Ms Chris Faulks on the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Employ Outside the Box and its relevance for the ACT government and for employers across the territory. The practical guide details the rewards of a diverse workforce and what that can bring and is helpful in examining the potential of the Australian mature age working population to better meet the skills and labour needs of business. Ms Faulks also gave some very interesting anecdotes of the advantages of employing mature age people over younger people.

Increasing the participation of mature age workers in our city’s workforce can provide tremendous benefits and also solutions to address some of the economic impacts of an ageing population.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, what examples of best practice currently exist regarding mature age workers programs?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary. The ACT government recognises that best practice programs must include appropriate retention and recruitment strategies for mature age workers. The mature age workforce is diverse, and strategies must include individuals who may have previously left the workforce and offer flexible workplace conditions for those mature aged workers who may otherwise consider retirement.

As discussed extensively at the roundtable, flexibility of workplace conditions and providing opportunities for reskilling, retraining or for mature age workers to reinvent themselves is essential. One such practical example for reskilling services available to mature age workers was that outlined at the roundtable by Mr Ewan Brown. Mr Brown’s presentation included an update on his peer support program in partnership with the Nexus Human Services group. This mentoring program provides practical mentoring to mature age workers in order to assist them get back into the workforce. The program provides training and advice on how to write a CV and formal applications.

Currently there are several programs that exist at the national level regarding mature age workers. The corporate champions program supports large employers who commit to moving towards best practice in the recruitment and retention of mature age staff—those over 45 years and over. Eligible employers receive tailored support

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