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WINZ Failing With Older Unemployed

21 April 2002

WINZ is failing to meet the needs of older unemployed people, National's Employment Spokesman Bob Simcock said today.

"The fastest growing group of long-term unemployed are people over 45, but these people regularly report that WINZ case managers say they are not a priority, and that they don't get enough appropriate assistance from WINZ," Mr Simcock said.

Figures obtained by Mr Simcock show that WINZ case managers are overwhelmingly young, and that less than one third of the 2442 case managers are over 46.

"This shows that WINZ is failing to attract staff who understand how to help older people and a lack of commitment to deal with the growing issue of older worker unemployment.

"Many older workers find that after being successfully employed for 20 or 30 years they cannot even get an interview for a job.

"This is discouraging enough without them having WINZ case managers sending them off on life skills courses to learn how to get out of bed in the morning.

"We are wasting skills and talent and that has to change if we want to prosper. All of the talk of people being able to work later in life is a nonsense if employers refuse to employ them and if WINZ refuses to recognise them," Mr Simcock said.

Ends

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