The government is launching an ‘older workers champion scheme’ to tackle age discrimination in the workplace.
The move follows concerns that older workers have to cope with much higher levels of long-term unemployment than younger people.
The scheme, which will begin trials in April, will offer older jobseekers a career review, online support and a link-up to local businesses with vacancies to fill.
Research suggests that if the 1.2 million people over 50 who are unemployed were offered jobs, it could add £50 billion to the UK economy.
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “Despite the recent impressive trends in those over 50 getting back into work, older workers still in many cases face outdated stereotypes when it comes to business hiring practices.
“Not only is this a waste of valuable talent and ‘life skills’, but it’s a missed opportunity for businesses to make the most of their experience to support younger colleagues develop their careers.
“As part of our long-term economic plan, our champions will tackle outdated views that older workers are somehow ‘past it’ so that more people get the security of a regular wage in 2015.”
The scheme will offer:
a ‘career review’ with a dedicated expert to recognise and champion their transferable skills from previous careers, and to ensure jobseekers get the training needed to fill any skills gaps for a move to a new career
‘older worker’ champions who will focus on going out to smaller and medium-sized businesses to ensure they recognise the benefits of hiring older workers, and to tackle outdated stereotypes that they are somehow ‘past it’
intensive digital support for older jobseekers where individuals identify a skills gap to moving into a new career.
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against workers on the basis of their age. Anyone who has been discriminated against in this way may be entitled to compensation.
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