By this Christmas, 10 mature-aged students graduating from The Salvation Army Employment Plus’ Digi-Lit Program will have a renewed confidence in their job seeking abilities and may just be able to out-tech-talk the millennials at the family gathering.

The Labour Market Information Portal shows the number of unemployed mature aged (50+) people (5,403) in the Wivenhoe region is almost 10% higher than that of youth (4,933).[1]

With the confidence of this cohort often knocked when they find themselves out of work, Employment Plus Wivenhoe Regional Manager, Krystal Hoskin, says her team is actively looking for ways to provide more support to mature job seekers.

“With the rate that tech changes, how many of us can say with confidence we understand what the programs in front of us are for?

“There’s a fear by mature aged students to speak out about this because nobody wants to feel left behind. However, the reality is the recruitment process is only increasingly online. Cover letters and resumes are now complemented with Zoom interviews or a candidate is asked to upload a video to introduce themselves.

“We noticed that all the key skills we needed to assist younger job seekers with also applied to our mature aged students: language, literacy and digital literacy. Somewhere along the way it’s assumed all these skills have been accumulated but with digital literacy, unless someone’s in front of a computer regularly, it’s an unwise assumption to make,” she adds.

Forty-four-year-old East Ipswich woman, Tracy Jobe, is one of the job seekers completing the course and says it’s not until you start using a computer that you realise how quickly technology changes and how easy it is to be left behind.

“Even knowing whether you’ve got a good level of digital literacy is quite hard to figure out. But once you start to learn the new programs your confidence grows and new opportunities open up.”

“I’m keen to get into aged care work and I know the reporting in that job will require me to feel comfortable around basic computer skills. But I’m now more confident studying for my Cert III in Aged Care and I’m also now able to keep up with my two kids who are using computers at school.”

The 12-week program is run by Ipswich TAFE, supported by SEE Funding, and requires participants to attend 10hrs a week.

The course includes setting up Gmail accounts and getting familiar with Google applications like Docs and Jamboard. The group will also gain competency in Microsoft Office, Zoom, Canva and Adobe Spark Video programs.

Term 3 of training concluded on 24th September. Term 4 will see existing students finish their qualification whilst a fresh lot of Employment Plus’ mature job seekers will also start their learning journey.

[1] As at July 2021