Government to help mature jobseekers

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Jackson BarrettBunbury Herald
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Bunbury’s unemployed are set to benefit from a new State Government pilot program supporting mature-age jobseekers entering the building and construction industry.

The support is based on the annual gap in the award rate for mature-age apprentices and trainees.

RecruitWest director Brad Pense said 30 per cent of his company’s clientele were in the building and construction industry and he expected companies to respond positively to the program.

“It will have some benefits to our clients, definitely, and we will be able to utilise it just as we utilise other variants of other Government assistance that are available to us,” he said.

“It’s something we will tap in to to bring people back into the workforce, which is our aim.

“This particular pilot program will add some value to people who are at the latter end of their careers but still chasing work.”

Mr Pense said people moving out of the oil and gas industry might benefit from the program.

“I would think the roles they will target is not so much the on-site roles but the office and project areas, that’s where I see them fitting best,” he said. “There is going to be a lag coming out of the oil and gas industry in those project style roles, so the transition from one industry to another is certainly feasible and possible.”

As part of the program, a minimum 15 per cent of the total participation must be for women and Aboriginal workers.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said the wage gap between mature trainees and those coming straight from school had been a stumbling block for older people making a start in the industry. “Consultation with industry showed a major barrier to employing mature-age apprentices and trainees is often the additional wage costs,” she said.

“This new pilot program will help alleviate some of the additional wage costs faced by employers who might be considering a mature-age apprentice.”

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