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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Older workers need career support, London Assembly is told

People over the age of 50 have loads of skills that aren't being utitlised to full effect, the London Assembly has heard.

At a meeting this week to discuss the effectiveness of careers guidance in the capital, members of the Assembly's Economy Committee heard London's over 50s are facing a tough time in the job market - yet support and guidance aimed at getting them back to work has been "decimated".

A leading specialist in employment for people over 50 years spoke of new research, which revealed the over fifties accounted for over 60 per cent of public sector redundancies. He said the proportion of older people not in employment was enormous and the numbers that are long-term unemployed are growing.

He told the Committee that programmes aimed specifically at older people, previously run by London Councils, had stopped and there was a definite need for specialist support for the over fifties to help them find new opportunities.  He said jobs in customer services, sales, health and social care and training were particularly suited to the skills and experience of older people.

Andrew Dismore AM, chairman of the London Assembly Economy Committee, said: "It's a difficult time for anyone looking for a job, but we heard that London's over fifties are really having a tough time of it.  The capital stands to benefit from their vast knowledge and many years of experience, but this does not appear to be happening at the moment.

"A comprehensive career guidance service in London should help guide our jobseekers, whatever their age, and go some way to addressing unemployment and skills gaps.  We must make sure people are receiving high quality and relevant advice."


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