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Gloucestershire Business News

Older workers in Gloucestershire need retraining help - Ian Mean of Business West

By Ian Mean, Business West Gloucestershire director 

I have been a long-term campaigner for apprenticeships and more opportunities for our young people.

And it is fact that young people are facing something of a jobs' tsunami in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

The majority of students at 25 British universities struggle to get a graduate job or progress to further study after their degrees, according to a recent report.

But what is probably more of an immediate worry is that older workers are now at risk from a tsunami of redundancies themselves.

Job losses among the over-50s have risen by almost 200 per cent in the last year.

About 107,000 were made redundant between November and January - an increase of more than 70,500 year-on-year.

This worrying study is by Rest Less, which advises and helps older people.

Do we put enough energy into re-training redundant older workers in their 50s?

No, we certainly don't - and it is high time the government really woke up to the fact.

These current figures are alarming, with the redundancy rate for the over-50s the highest of any age group at 12.8 per 1,000 employees.

And there are an estimated 1.3 million workers over the age of 50 still on furlough.

These workers are under a real threat of losing their jobs as struggling employers must increase their furlough contributions from July.

I attend a lot of meetings about skills and job opportunities and, quite rightly, they centre around young people.

But rarely is there any real progress on developing re-training programmes and opportunities for these redundant over-50s, many of whom in this county are skilled workers.

I totally believe that the Prime Minister's Lifetime Skills Guarantee is something vital to every employee.

But what is actually happening now - not next year - about really getting to the heart of the displaced over-50s who often have so much experience to offer but need guidance and possible re-training in our changing digital economy?

The over-50s have made a great contribution to our economy. The very least we can do is help them to help themselves.

*Ian Mean is a board member of GFirstLEP

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