With advances in healthcare and a rising pension age that looks like it may need to rise even further at some point in the future, we have a workforce who not only need to work for longer in order to maintain a certain standard of living, but who are able to. This increased longevity should however be seen by employers as the valuable opportunity it is rather than the financial burden that people, especially younger ones, are worried about. When it comes to older workers, there are a number of schemes that have been put in place to help the older worker in the workplace.
DWP Strategy for Older Workers
In February 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed a new strategy for encouraging anyone over the age of 50 to remain in employment. Statistics have indicated the startling fact that by 2035 it is predicted that just over half of the UK population will be over the age of 50, and it is therefore important to ensure that when workers reach a certain age they are not pushed out of employment and replaced with younger employees.
The new strategies have been put in place to offer assistance to those over 50 who are either looking for work or even those who are already employed. The aim of the strategies is to provide a greater level of support for older workers, not just through the use of job centres but also by encouraging businesses to realise that older members of the workforce can often bring a wealth of experience to any company that can make them a valuable asset. And that keeping a workforce with a good range of ages can be a valuable tool for your workplace.
Fuller Working Lives
The strategy, which has been called Fuller Working Lives, is not only calling on employers to ensure they are not writing older employees off but also on any employees to take full advantage of the opportunities that work can bring them. If they feel unfulfilled in their current role then the opportunities for retraining and taking their career in a different direction are better than they have ever been, there is no longer a need to stay in a job that makes you unhappy, training and financial support are available to pursue the career you want. This new business approach to the older worker is being spearheaded by a group of over 40 employers.
The benefits, both social and health of working for longer have been set out by the government, together with the need for businesses to not only retain their older employees but also to make sure that they recruit not only younger employees but also older ones as well. Opportunities for retraining have also been highlighted with a number of retraining schemes available for those older employees who want to continue further in their chosen career or who are unhappy in the workplace and want to take their careers in a whole new direction.
It is no longer the case that if you are in a job or field that no longer makes you happy that you need to remain there. Retraining options are available where financial assistance can be offered. There are also courses available for those older employees who feel that the skills they do have are letting them down in the job they currently hold, improving existing IT skills, for example, so that they feel more able to do the job they do have.
In addition to the help put together by the government, Age UK also offer help to older workers with all aspects of working. For those people who are currently employed but looking to change jobs they offer help with both writing a new updated CV and also with those all-important interview questions. They can also help with information on job agencies, changing career, volunteering and even for those people who feel they are over or under qualified for the workplace.
If you think that apprenticeships are just for the young them you are mistaken, the only criteria for applying for an apprenticeship is that the applicant must be over the age of 16 years. They offer a vital opportunity to learn new skills and experience “on the job” in a new field.
This is another option that is incredibly popular with older workers, allowing them to build on their past experiences and skills whilst being in charge of their own working lives and putting all their knowledge to the best use. For those who receive certain benefits, the New Enterprise Allowance which has been put in place by the government; this can provide money, support and most importantly mentorship to those who are looking to start their own business.
The flexibility of options available to the older worker are easy to find and the help is there for anyone who needs it. It’s clear to see that there has never been a better time to be an older worker whatever your circumstances.