12.05.15

Renewed Focus on Support for Older Jobseekers

National employment, learning and skills charity, Shaw Trust, is delighted to announce a strengthening of its support for millions of older people who wish to work longer.

The Trust has acquired the brand and intellectual property of TAEN - The Age and Employment Network. This includes all the tools and good practice guides assembled by TAEN over 23 years as the thought leader speaking on behalf of older workers and jobseekers.

Chris Ball, TAEN’s former Chief Executive, has been appointed as Shaw Trust’s Specialist Adviser on the Ageing Workforce, and will continue in this role to be responsible for continuing the use and development of TAEN’s brand and activity of supporting older workers within the Trust’s activities.

The move by Shaw Trust comes as part of a strategic decision to support more older people, both jobseekers and those already in jobs, who face barriers and challenges to working longer. There is a growing realisation by policy makers and the Trust that the consensus around prolonging people’s careers in response to increases in life expectancy must be more sensitive to the needs of older workers.

Through his membership of various expert groups and committees as the head of the organisation for the past eight years, Chris Ball has ensured that TAEN remains a powerful voice during a period of rapid change and pioneering work. TAEN’s noted contributions include many newsletters and publications, a continuing seminar series for researchers on older workers’ issues (together with the London School of Economics), guides to the law banning age discrimination and many other issues and popular web-based guides for older job seekers and welfare to work providers. Many people will know TAEN for its regular comments on news and employment data and its resources supporting older people in work, which continue to be available on its website:

Chris Ball, Shaw Trust’s Specialist Adviser on the Ageing Workforce, said:

“I am delighted that Shaw Trust plans to do more for older jobseekers. The reality is that a change of job in one’s 50s or 60s is among the most hazardous of moves in a person’s career.

“Unemployed people in the 50 to 65 age range are more prone to long-term unemployment than any other age group and make many more job applications in order to get work. Disability or illness can have a dramatic effect and many older people stop work because they need to care for another family member, but find it impossible to return to work.

“After 12 months of unemployment a person aged 50 to 65 is more likely to die or retire permanently than to find a new job. Specialist support with job search, skills training and new career opportunities must accompany improved Human Resource policies and more positive attitudes by recruiters towards older job applicants if we are to make a difference.”

Roy O’Shaughnessy, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, added:

“Shaw Trust and The Age and Employment Network share a common commitment to helping older jobseekers into employment. There are 1.2 million over-50s who are unemployed and willing to work across the United Kingdom. Shaw Trust and TAEN are concerned that too many older people are not getting the right support to find employment. There is plenty of evidence that shows how important older workers are to the British economy. The government’s champion for older workers has found that keeping more people in their 50s in work helps create more, not fewer, jobs for young people.

“The Trust already works with a number of employers who understand the benefit of employing over-50s as they value the wealth of experience they possess, but there is still age discrimination in some areas of the labour market. With TAEN’s knowledge base and our operations across the United Kingdom, we will look to form relationships with more employers and help them to understand the business benefits of hiring older workers.”