ILC urges Government to develop “Kickstart” style employment support initiative targeted at older workers

As State Pension Age hits 66 this month, we urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce a scheme akin to Kickstart, but focussed on the needs of older workers.

The current Kickstart scheme supports people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit to access six-month funded work placements.

While we support this initiative, we argue that a similar scheme is necessary for older workers who, like younger ones, have been heavily hit by the pandemic.

This has been made particularly important given this month’s increase in State Pension Age to 66, which will mean many people will need to work longer.

David Sinclair, Director of ILC:

“As we live longer lives, it is inevitable that Governments will start to increase the age at which we receive our pension. And this month the state pension age in the UK increases to 66.

“While more and more of us are working longer, too many people are forced out of the workforce too early.”

“The coronavirus has disproportionately impacted on the youngest and the oldest workers in our economy and the long-term growth in employment of those aged over 50 has stalled.”

“These older workers contribute to economic growth. Our economy needs to better use their skills and talents.”

“The Government’s Kickstart scheme is a brilliant initiative to support younger people on Universal Credit back into work.”

“However, older workers who find themselves unemployed as a result of COVID-19 are likely to find it much more difficult than other ages to get themselves another job.”

This week’s announcement of a “lifetime skills guarantee” is a welcome and necessary step to ensuring adults have access to the skills they need for work. But without further support from Government, a huge number of people aged over 50 will find early retirement forced on them.”

Andy Briggs, Group CEO at Phoenix Group and Government Business Champion for Older Workers:

“It’s paramount that over 50’s get swift and suitable support to prevent them falling into economic inactivity and hardship.”

“The current focus on young people is important, but it must not be at the expense of the other end of age in the work force.”

“We know that if you become unemployed over the age of 50 you are less likely than any other group to get another job.”

“I am calling for retraining and support for all over 50’s who need it.”

Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor Hanover:

“As a provider of housing and care to older people, and a major employer ourselves, we know first-hand that a workforce in which younger and older people can learn from and support each other is more effective.”

“In these challenging times it is crucial that the wisdom and experience of older people is cherished.”

“The mixing of generations creates a more united society, befitting us all. Government should do everything in its power to support older people, as well as younger generations, to be able to continue to play an active part in the workforce.”

Martin Jones, UK CEO of Home Instead Senior Care argues:

“Older workers have so much to bring to the workplace – knowledge, experience, life skills. We ignore them at our peril.”

“We employ many older people as caregivers; people in their 70s, 80s and even a few in their 90s.”

“They are empathetic, caring and compassionate and thrive in an environment where they are able to give something back.”

“We recently conducted a survey amongst over 65s – 40 per cent said they miss the sense of purpose being at work brings.”

“Why are older people less valuable than younger? I fully support the Kickstart scheme but older workers deserve support too.”