The 'hidden workforce' waiting to be employed

Envision Tasmania's Hidden Workforce project for mature-age workers


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Launceston employment trial aimed at getting people aged over 50 back into work.

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FINDING work after long-term unemployment is hard, but for those aged over 50 it's even tougher.

The new Hidden Workforce program established by Envision Employment Services in Launceston aims to stop this, equipping senior jobseekers with all they need to find the right job.

Based at Invermay, Hidden Workforce was launched in Tasmania's second largest city because it is over-represented in the number of jobseekers aged over 50, Envision mature-age employment co-ordinator Martin Collins said.

TAILORED PROGRAM: Envision's Martin Collins works with each participant individually, helping them with things like applying for voluntary work experience.

TAILORED PROGRAM: Envision's Martin Collins works with each participant individually, helping them with things like applying for voluntary work experience.

"Some participants have been out of the workforce for some time and are experiencing social isolation, so we resocialise them and get them back into working together as a team, and starting and finishing at set times," Mr Collins said.

"We get them to treat looking for work as a job itself."

The program is tailored for each jobseeker, with Mr Collins spending time initially finding out their background, work ambitions and transferable skills, and if they need to change industries.

Then the training and matching starts, with program participants trained in IT and computer skills, job searching, resume writing and interview techniques, he said.

"We've set up a computer lab with six terminals and we're teaching the basics of turning it on, using the internet and search engines, or they might need to brush up on the latest version of Microsoft Word or Excel. We have an IT person to help with that.

"Employers come in to talk about their business and give the participants ideas of what they are looking for."

A tailored program means Mr Collins can work with each participant individually, helping them to apply for voluntary work experience.

"Often, that gives the jobseeker the opportunity to work in the industry they want to be in and the employers a chance to see what they are like. This often has a positive outcome," he said.

It also extends to reverse-marketing: identifying potential employers and pitching the jobseeker to them.

"A lot of people our age are a little shy in terms of cold canvassing; it's very hard to do. One they know it's not as intimidating as they first thought, they gain the confidence to get out and have a go."

Hidden Workforce has a maximum of 25 participants, with those who find work replaced with new jobseekers as needed.

For more information, call Matt Collins on 0420-812-541 or email martin@envisionemployment.com.au

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