The WA State Government is investing $5.5 million for a new program to help more jobseekers get back into the workforce - easing skills shortages in industries such as construction, hospitality and health.
Through Job Reconnect, jobseekers can access free training, career advice or receive assistance to find a work placement - gaining the skills and confidence to transition back into the workforce. Eligible jobseeker cohorts currently include mature-age workers aged 45 and over, and people exiting the justice system who may be experiencing barriers to gaining employment.
The new program is informed by research on successful strategies to address barriers experienced by these jobseekers. Jobseekers can apply for $1,500 for help with work-related costs such as licences, specific upskilling requirements, work clothing, transport and childcare. Employers are also encouraged to provide these jobseekers with employment opportunities, with a $1,500 incentive payment per placement with 600 places available.
A 2021 study by the Council on the Ageing found the most common form of discrimination was age-related, with 26 per cent of Australians aged 50 years and over having experienced age discrimination while seeking employment or in the workplace.
Aged care health worker Carolynne Healey is one of the first to benefit from the new Job Reconnect program. Being out of the workforce for eight years, Carolynne jumped at the opportunity to be supported and trained in a meaningful new career. The 53-year-old grandmother is completing an aged care traineeship through Health Training Australia, which has led to her securing a job with Aegis Aged Care Group's facility in Greenfields. Carolynne was supported by Health Training Australia to connect to employment in this priority industry.
The Job Reconnect program is a unique program that aims to support underutilised pockets of the workforce into meaningful employment.
To find out more about Job Reconnect, contact your local Jobs and Skills Centre to see how they can help - call 13 64 64 or visit jobsandskills.wa.gov.au/lifeexperience
Training Minister Simone McGurk said "There has never been a better time to train for a new career, and age is certainly no barrier - there are jobs out there for everyone. Feedback from the Perth and Regional Skills Summits indicated that drawing on untapped segments of the labour force would help ease skills shortages. There is a clear link between long term unemployment and age. 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. "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. 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."