What age to work to and how to get there were some of the topics considered at a career expo in Wollongong on Wednesday

Getting ready for tomorrow: IRT chief executive officer Nieves Murray speaking at Wollongong Town Hall. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Getting ready for tomorrow: IRT chief executive officer Nieves Murray speaking at Wollongong Town Hall. Picture: Greg Ellis.

We are living in a longevity revolution so it is important to plan for a longer career so we are not jobless when we still want to work.

With traditional industry employing less people and other changes such as people living longer the importance of supporting mature age workers by helping them plan and retrain is increasingly on the agenda. As was the case at an expo hosted by IRT on Wednesday.

Dr Kay Patterson

Dr Kay Patterson

The significance of IRT Foundation's Career Check Up Expo for Mature Workers was highlighted by Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson accepting an invitation to speak at the opening.

The day long event targeted people over 45 was made possible with the help of a Liveable Communities Grant from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. It provided information to help give more people an opportunity to keep earning an income as well as provide a greater sense of purpose and more flexibility later in life.

Dr Patterson described Wollongong as a lovely modern city that has changed and grown hugely since she last visited. And she applauded what she described as a lovely partnership between the Australian Human Rights Commission, IRT and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. “I congratulate IRT because this is a way that will..help older people learn what is available to them”.

Dr Patterson said that would also be invaluable to people who have been in one industry for many years to find themselves without a job. “It is also about promoting older people as potential workers”.

Other dignitaries present were Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery who said he was turning 66 this year and was looking forward to hopefully continuing to work in his present role after September. He said there was a huge pool of people in the Illawarra with talent and abilities that can contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the city.

Member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing Rod Young said we are all engaged in longevity revolution that is bringing with it considerable change. “By the middle of this century 7.5 million Australians will be over 65. It is absolutely crucial that all of us think about where we are heading and what our place in society is going to be”.

IRT chief executive Nieves Murray said National Seniors Australia research shows that without a plan people are more likely to wind up jobless as they got older. The expo was about helping people to understand and identify their skills, and connect with experts to help them continue engaging in meaningful work.

“Encore career planning can help mature workers make these the most rewarding working years of their life," she said.

Career advisors were on hand and exhibitors present included Peoplecare, RMB Lawyers, MBC Employment Services, Centrelink, HESTA, Illawarra Credit Union, NAB Financial Planning, TAFE NSW and the University of Wollongong.