Workers are hard to come by for many employers in Saskatchewan’s strong economic climate. A labour market analysis by Sask Trends Monitor suggests increased workforce participation from people aged 55 and up may offer some relief to that stress. Parkland College is doing its part by participating in the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) program – a project sponsored by the Ministry of the Economy and cost-shared with the federal government.
The TIOW program offers assistance to people over 55 who are retired or unemployed. The projects help older workers get the skills they need to participate in the job market and aims to help employers meet their staffing requirements by hiring those workers.
This fall in Kamsack, Parkland College is offering the Mature Workers program. The three-month program begins Sept. 9. Information sessions are scheduled at the college’s Kamsack location (Crowstand Centre, 241 2nd Street) on Aug. 14 and 15, 10 a.m. both days. Assessment interviews will follow in the afternoon.
“Mature workers are a valuable natural resource, and we know there are many open jobs on the market,” said Gail Gorchynski, Essential Skills consultant with Parkland College. “With the right training and upgrading, older workers can play a pivotal role in meeting employers’ needs.”
To participate in the program, the Ministry of the Economy mandates that older workers must be:
•55-64 years of age (50-54 and 64+ years of age may also be accepted);
•retired or unemployed;
•legally entitled to work in Canada; and
•lacking skills needed for successful integration into new employment.
Each TIOW project has its own activities. These may include vocational and/or learning assessments, peer mentoring, basic skills upgrading, skills training, work experience, preparation for self-employment, direct marketing to employers, resume and interview skills, and counselling.
The Canadian population is rapidly getting older because of longer life expectancy, low birth rates, and the aging of the “baby boomers,” the bulk of whom are now in their early-to-mid 50s. The average age of retirement in Canada, at 62 years of age, is climbing as people stay in their jobs longer or retire and start a different job.
Over the last decade in Saskatchewan, employment among older workers has grown at about four times the province’s total employment rate. Older workers accounted for one in five people working in 2011.
“There are many reasons why people re-enter the workforce at the usual retirement age, whether they need extra money or just want to stay connected to society and feel like they’re making a difference,” Gorchynski added. “We encourage anyone meeting the Ministry’s criteria to join us at the information sessions on August 14 and 15.”