The 45 + Program – a new program to help re-employ mature-aged men

Reprinted with permission from adageblog – January 7, 2014

Career advice for mature aged men
A unique new program designed and delivered by mature-aged men to help re-employ mature-aged men is now available. A Pilot for the Program was conducted late last year in both metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria. The 45 + Program Pilot was part – funded by DEEWR with an independent Evaluation fully funded by Cbus, the Building Constructing Industry Super Fund. The Evaluation is a strong validation of the merits of the program and recommends national replication. Most importantly the program has received very strong feedback from the participants themselves.
The program has a deliberate ‘men-friendly’ approach and has strong endorsement from the business community and key figures in men’s issues. The program was originally designed to address the barriers to re-employment for mature-aged people which have been fully acknowledged by the Australian Federal Government and the deliberate ‘men-friendly’ approach is essentially the same as the federal government’s ‘Peer-Based Environment’ for training mature-aged people.
The men-friendly approach is not just tokenistic; men communicate and learn differently, they have different physiology / neurology, different socialization and they express their emotions differently; yet much of current training delivery simply does not take these factors into account and training is very generally non-gender specific. The appropriate approach to working with men is fundamental to developing genuine rapport and engaging the men fully and effectively. The program designer, Mr. Anthony Smith, believes that the lessons of the 45 + Program will impact on the training industry generally.
The 45 + program also raises questions about the way redundancy is managed in Australia. Workers are given very little support other than occasionally a superficial one hour one-on-one with a ‘Career Guidance Counsellor’ and then the workers are left to their own devices. Mr Smith says many of the current practices are out-dated, such as the emphasis on Resume to the exclusion of other self-marketing strategies. Mr Smith believes that the fundamental issue is providing the right context for men to begin to work through the significant challenges they face in their redundancy including identifying sometimes entirely new career and life pathways. A one hour session does very little for these men other than re-enforcing the commonly held cynicism about our community and business support systems.
The program is a practical support for the men – but the quality of the processes and outcomes brings hope and confidence to the men and this has been borne out strongly in the evaluation. The Program designer has a strong history in working in men’s issues including research in suicide prevention for men. ‘We know that many unemployed men are feeling considerable distress;’ said Mr. Smith. ‘We need to be mindful of this. We take what is called a ‘strengths – based’ approach to working with men: That the men who do this program deserve to be respected for their personal qualities and achievements and for their contributions to their families and the social and economic life of our community and our nation. We believe that this attitude is vital to ensuring genuine engagement and ‘buy-in’ by mature-aged men’.
Anthony suggests people contact their local Member of Parliament or Centrelink to ensure the program is available in your area.
Contact details:
Contact Anthony Smith or John Franklin.

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