WORN OUT: Workers don’t want to upskill if they’re heading toward the end of their career.
WORN OUT: Workers don’t want to upskill if they’re heading toward the end of their career.

‘Upskill’ proposal ridiculed

THE rising age of retirement in Australia and has not been well received by those edging toward it.

To offset the cost of the country’s ageing population it has been proposed by the federal government that Australians work past 65 to keep paying income tax.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recommends more training to keep skills relevant but individuals around their sixties are reluctant so close to the end of their working lives.

Stephen Hey is 64 years-old, a qualified industrial electrician and struggled to find a job when he arrived in Warwick three years ago.

“The job market for over sixties is tough, I’m a skilled electrician working as a cleaner after a two-year job search,” he said.

Mr Hey was outraged at the suggestion of upskilling workers in his age bracket.

“Upskill me to what, I have been an electrician for 35 years so that would be insulting,” he said.

“When I am 68 years old who’s going to employ me compared to a 25 year-old fresh out of uni and willing to work for lower pay?”

Mr Hey said the only reason he works at his age now is due to finance.

“A lot of people my age only work because they have to due to money, we’re old and tired and need low stress and low pressure,” he said.

Ros Flood from Southern Downs Employment Agency said elderly people are struggling to find work as it is.

“When you get older, there’s that physical strain from more strenuous jobs like arthritis and back pain that we see often turning into disability,” she said.

“We have people who would work but can’t and are referred to us by Centrelink when a disability pension is probably the best option as they can’t actually upskill.”

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said it’s a federal government decision that people may need to consider and adapt to.

“For physically demanding jobs I think the government needs to think about how they can support those professionals to re-skill,” she said.

“But I also think it’s two-fold, and is also the responsibility of the individual to think, I know I have a while to pension or retirement age, how will I upskill to make it there?”

But Mr Hey believes it won’t serve any benefit to aged workers.

“I wouldn’t keep working if I didn’t have to just to do something that will only benefit the government,” Mr Hey said.



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