A pilot program looking to increase work opportunities s for older Australians with disability is being launched in Western Sydney in April.

Called SkillRestart, it is designed to equip participants who have experienced deskilling due to long-term unemployment with the ability and experience needed to competently use commonly used software and remote collaboration tools.  It is said to offer work-from-home job opportunities, such as administration, data entry or call centre roles.

AimBig Employment are looking for participants in Western Sydney to take part in the free pilot program. Participants must be over 50 years of age and have a disability as recognised by the Department of Disability Employment Services. It would suit people experiencing long-term unemployment with limited exposure to modern office software, as well as mature age workers transitioning from blue-collar roles work-from-home or office-based roles for health reasons.

There is also an opportunity for local businesses to get involved in the program to offer practical experience. According to AimBig this would suit businesses looking to outsource administration type tasks such as data-entry or call centres and there is no cost to businesses to get this work done by participants.

The SkillRestart group training program that runs for 12 weeks. At the same time participants will be working towards a Certificate III in Business (26-week course duration) and work with real businesses throughout the training to come out with practical experience.

AimBig Employment general manager, Terry Wilson, said focus on digital literacy and confidence is critical. “SkillRestart is designed to get people up-to-date and ready to work in work-from-home roles or office-based environments. Work-from-home roles are a major growth opportunity and likely to suit people with disability,” he said.

Wilson said the program addresses several challenges. Firstly, many mature age workers are overlooked by employers due to ageism and a perception that they lack the skills to work in a modern workplace. Secondly, while some may have basic IT literacy skills, they may not be at a sufficiently advanced level. “Many are referred to existing certifications, however we believe that these courses do not adequately prepare individuals for working in a collaborative, modern workplace using up-to-date digital tools.” 

The most recent review into Australia’s retirement income system found that almost 20 per cent of Australians between the ages of 55 and 64 were receiving either JobSeeker, the Carer Payment or Disability Support Pension.

Over one quarter of people aged 60-64 years are living with disability and this increases to 40 per cent of people over the age of 65.

For more information visit: https://www.aimbigemployment.com.au/skillrestart-jobs/