More help needed for Wales' older jobless - charity

A WELSH charity set up to help people over 50 find work or start their own business has called on the Welsh Government to provide equal measures of support for older people who are not in education, employment or training, as they do for their younger counterparts.

With more than 200,000 people between 50 and state pension age currently jobless in Wales, Prime Cymru says they should have the same opportunities as the young.

It argues that resources for adult and community education have been reduced resulting in fewer older adults studying, and while the percentage of long term unemployed is highest among the over-50s, the majority of programmes, projects and employability schemes are targeted at young people.

Modern apprenticeships are open to anyone, regardless of age, but Prime Cymru believes they tend to be marketed at younger applicants, while employers also receive a financial incentive under schemes such as the Young Recruits Programme that is not available to give older jobseekers the same opportunities.

Its chief executive David Pugh applauded Jobs Growth Wales recent work in filling 9,704 job opportunities and providing £6,000 grants to 249 young people to start businesses.

But he added that the bursary would also help older entrepreneurs.

“We are not asking for special treatment, we are asking for equal treatment. Barriers facing jobless older people are often different to those facing younger jobseekers, but the effects on them and their families are equally devastating.

“We would call upon the Welsh Government to adapt current programmes to remove age barriers and ensure all future employment, training and skills programmes are age-proofed to ensure they are open to all, fair and appropriate.”

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