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Older worker

Pilot programme announced to help over-50s back to work

The Centre for Ageing Better, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the Department of Work & Pensions have announced the ‘Greater Manchester Employment Support for Over-50s’ pilot programme to tackle worklessness in over-50s.

An estimated 800,000 people in the UK aged 50 to 65 want to be working but are not, with many caught in an ‘unemployment trap’. 

Older jobseekers in the Greater Manchester area will be the first to trial targeted new approaches being developed to help over-50s get back to work.  

The Centre for Ageing Better, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the Department of Work & Pensions have announced plans for the ‘Greater Manchester Employment Support for Over-50s' pilot programme to improve support models for older people.   

An estimated 800,000 people in the UK aged 50 to 65 want to be working but are not, with many caught in an ‘unemployment trap’. Losing a job after the age of 50 is more likely to lead to long-term unemployment or inactivity compared with job loss at younger ages.  

Many who fall out of work due to redundancies, poor health and caring responsibilities find themselves forced into early retirement, meaning that they not only have less time to earn income and contribute to pension funds, but may also begin drawing from their funds sooner, putting them at risk of poverty in later life.   

Research by the Centre for Ageing Better in Greater Manchester last year found that older job seekers would benefit from personalised support that could be flexible around caring commitments and health needs.  

The ‘Greater Manchester Employment Support for Over-50s’ pilot will focus on providing employment support that works for older job seekers, trialing a range of approaches with the aim of finding a successful model that can inform national government policy.  

Earlier this month, the government announced new plans for immigration which will see some sectors having to compensate for a loss of migrant labour. Experts have suggested that more efforts to recruit older workers could play a key role in filling this gap.  

Kim Chaplain, Associate Director - Work, Centre for Ageing Better, said: 

“Work is profoundly important for a good later life, helping our minds to stay active, and allowing us to continue to earn income and increase our pensions. 

“But too many people find themselves locked out of work in their 50s and 60s, meaning they miss out on the vital social connections we get from work, and putting them at risk of financial insecurity. 

“We know that current job-seekers support could be enhanced for people over the age of 50, helping more people to get back to work and helping the economy at large. Figures show that improving employment rates for over-50s could increase GDP by £18 billion. 

“This pilot is a vital opportunity to find effective ways to support people back into fulfilling work, and we hope this will lay the foundations for improving job-seekers support across the country.”  

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, said:

“An increasing number of people are staying in work for longer – it’s a clear sign our workforce is changing for the better and the opportunities are out there. 

“We understand the barriers for older workers are different – they aren’t looking for the same things that first-time jobseekers are and there are still some businesses failing to see and therefore capitalise on wide-ranging talent. 

“It’s why projects like this are vital, offering tailored support that can help over-50s get the work that matches their ambition, builds their skills and means they keep their financial independence for longer.” 

Cllr Sean Fielding, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Work and Skills, said: 

“In Greater Manchester we want to make the most of the talent and expertise our older residents possess by ensuring that everyone has access to good quality work. 

“While having as many people aged over 50 as possible in good quality work has huge benefits for our economy, it also benefits the individual, giving them increased financial security, improving their mental and physical health and helping them to remain socially active. 

“This pilot will help us to do this, looking at how we can better support older people and open up opportunities through new approaches and solutions.” 

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