Older workers 'could boost NI by £2.3bn'

Published Wednesday, 26 March 2014
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A report by the Commissioner for Older People has claimed older workers could boost the economy of Northern Ireland by billions of pounds.

Older workers 'could boost NI by £2.3bn'
The report was launched at Stormont. (© COPNI)

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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."

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Jamesbelfast in Belfast wrote (207 days ago):
Many employers prefer more mature workers mainly due to their better life skills and education. Sadly many young people starting their work careers are poorly prepared to deal with the public or even know how to read and write to an acceptable standard. Personally I know of one graduate who doesn’t even know how to construct a letter. Just recently I went onto a paint store and I queried a young assistant whether a certain paint was water or solvent soluble. All I got was a blank stare he either unable to or couldn’t be bothered to read the instructions on the side of the tin which clearly stated wash brushes out in clean water. Thankfully a more mature female member of staff (60 years plus) came to my aid. Better still who is going to teach the younger less experienced workers - yes the older workers.
Tim Fern in Enniskilllen wrote (208 days ago):
So keep older people in jobs and what do we do with young people and graduates coming out of university? Export them to other countries!
Jay in Belfast wrote (208 days ago):
I am sorry but as much as it is easy to agree to an extent that is may be true I think the real focus has to be on the younger generation gaining employment. Employers are constantly hiring experienced workers which means it's harder for young people to get employment. It's evident everywhere. We need to focus on ensuring young people are getting employed because they are the future work force and they need the skills to develop their careers for their future. Getting a job as young person is hard enough as it is let alone having something like this in place. We do not do enough for the younger generation.
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