New work skills key to success for seniors

OLDER workers must acquire new qualifications and boost their work-related skills to remain competitive in the changing workforce, a new National Seniors report shows.

A study of more than 1900 people aged over 50 found many mature age Australians were not focusing on education and training opportunities as they aged, leaving them vulnerable to unemployment.

National Seniors chief executive Michael O'Neill said the findings highlighted the importance of keeping skills and qualifications up to date.

"The changing nature of work, such as a shift towards short-term project roles and advances in digital technology, means demand for strong skillsets in all occupations and sectors is growing," O'Neill said.

"To remain competitive, it's imperative that the over-50s are either maintaining their work skills or acquiring new qualifications.

"It is a two-way street - mature age workers need to be proactive or they run the risk of skills and competencies developed during their working life becoming devalued, especially as computer-based technologies take over the workforce."

This study found many mature age Australians did not place great importance on learning, education and training as they didn't believe it contributed to their quality of life.

Forty per cent of respondents indicated they had undertaken some form of learning, education or training within the last three years.

Of those, 59% believed their current work-related skills and knowledge were very up to date.

Research shows that a 55-year-old who becomes unemployed faces an average 73 weeks out of work compared to person in their 20s who would be out of work for 23 weeks.

See a copy of the report at

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