Older workers 'could boost NI by £2.3bn'

Older workers 'could boost NI by £2.3bn'

A report by the Commissioner for Older People has claimed older workers could boost the economy of Northern Ireland by billions of pounds.

The study, entitled Valuing an Ageing Workforce, was launched by Claire Keatinge at Parliament Buildings in Belfast on Wednesday morning.It aims to encourage the government and employers to introduce ways of enabling people over 65 to remain in the workforce for as long as they wish to.Ms Keating claimed the NI economy could be bolstered by £2.3bn by 2037.She explained: "Northern Ireland is an ageing society, with life expectancy growing at an unprecedented rate - and this is something worth celebrating."More older people are staying in work, and more employers are seeing the value that older workers can bring to the workforce. Since the financial crisis in 2008, employment rates for people aged 50 to 64, and those over 65, have, for the most part, increased year on year."However she added: "What is less apparent is the economic case for supporting more older people to remain in employment for longer."My research has found that economic output could increase by a staggering £2.3bn by 2037, which equates to an additional 4.4%, if employment rates for the over 65s continue to increase."Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry, who attended the report's launch, said he's committed to improving the employability of older people."My department's Step Ahead 50+programme provides fixed term paid employment opportunities within the Voluntary and Community Sector lasting up to 26 weeks," he said."Participants will also be encouraged to undertake training during their time of employment to gain valuable skills."I am also committed to supporting learning and skills development for those at all ages in life. Northern Ireland's six Regional Colleges and three Universities offer opportunities for all, irrespective of age, and I would encourage everyone to find out what is available for them."

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