Valuing Mature Aged Workers

Lauren Newman - Education Manager
General
Thursday, 20 August 2015
The value of mature aged workers is being recognised in a new project at Portland District Health.

The Mature Workers Add Value project is being rolled out across PDH and covers themes including health and wellness, financial planning, education and training, transition to retirement, flexible work options and ensuring skill and knowledge transfer to future workforce.

The program will include a coaching and mentoring framework for experienced workers to transfer knowledge and open communication channels for the next generation of workers.

Project manager and PDH Education Manager, Lauren Newman, said that in some areas of health care up to 15 per cent of the workforce was likely to leave or retire over the next five years. Studies have concluded that when the baby boomer generation retires, there will be significant workforce shortages in the healthcare sector, she said.

There are high percentage of workers in the over 50 age group, and health services need to understand their plans to ensure we support them and offer work options to maximise their work ability, and support continuation of employment by keeping mature workers feeling valued and recognised for their contribution.

While the project was initially targeted at the nursing and midwifery workforce, it is now looking across the entire organisation.

Staff education programs will include coaching and mentorship training. Upcoming workshops will be facilitated by industry experts and will include topics on supporting each other following a critical incident, and introducing contact officers across the organisation.

We are looking to use the skills of experienced people at practitioner level to be a `go-to person utilising the resources obtained through the contact officer training, Ms Newman said.

The project will also develop a toolkit with key resources available to assist mature-aged staff members as they transition to retirement. Options will include flexible working hours, position transfer or modification, preceptorship of younger staff, and transfer of knowledge into working policies.

The project aims to ensure the mature-aged workforce continues to experience workplace satisfaction, improved health and wellness and be recognised for the value they add to the organisation.

It will preserve knowledge and create a forum for respectful handover of experience and knowledge, Ms Newman said.

The program has received $70,000 from the Department of Health and is being run as part of a consortium with Terang and Mortlake Health Service and South West Healthcare Camperdown Campus.


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