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Calls for support for older workers as Rishi Sunak announces measures to protect workers

Responding to the chancellor’s announcements on support for those who have lost their jobs during the crisis, the Centre for Ageing Better has warned that over 50s must not be left behind.

We are calling for investment in retraining, as well as support for over 50s considering self-employment or enterprise.

Over 50s must not be left behind as the government effort to get people back into work gets underway, with measures announced today just the start of the action needed to protect workers from long-term unemployment.

In his ‘summer economic update’ today, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to help people back into work in the wake of the crisis. This includes an investment of £800 million to double the number of work coaches in job centres; £32 million for additional careers advisors, and £17 million for sector-based work academies in England.  

But tailored support is needed for groups who face additional barriers to getting back into work – including carers, over 50s, those with long-term health conditions and anyone who has been unemployed for longer than a year. Following a report this week on the challenges faced by jobseekers over 50, we are calling for action to prevent workers in their 50s and 60s falling out of the workforce early.  

We are calling for:  

  • A clear message from government to employers, job coaches and to jobseekers themselves that the over 50s are just as entitled to support as younger workers 

  • More intensive, tailored employment support for anyone in a group that faces specific additional barriers to finding and getting work, including carers, people with long term health conditions and the over 50s. This should be available from Day 1 of unemployment 

  • Support for over 50s considering self-employment and enterprise, which has the potential to boost the local economy and create jobs  

  • Government investment in re-training for those in the hardest hit-sectors who now need to make a career switch. That means a large-scale programme of workplace-based training for older adults as well as younger ones, which includes flexible opportunities and takes into account experience and career histories. 

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“We welcome the government’s offer to support people back into work. People of all ages have faced real hardship and insecurity in recent months, and it’s vital that everyone gets the help they need to find employment. But the measures announced today are just the start of what is needed to protect workers from long-term unemployment.  

“As the government begins to implement these plans, the needs and contributions of jobseekers in their 50s and 60s must not be forgotten. We know that this group face real challenges in getting back into work once they have lost jobs. 

“Without action we could see many in their 50s and 60s falling out of the workforce years before their state pension age – which is set to rise this year – and struggling to get by for many years to come.” 

Back on track: Improving employment support for over 50s jobseekers

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