FÁS launches initiative to attract over-35 women back to work

WOMEN aged over 35 are to be targeted in a job placement scheme to get them back to work.

Up to 1,000 women will get training and job placement by FÁS in the next year.

The scheme will have a trial operation in Dublin and will then be rolled out across the country.

Research has shown that around 27,000 women are considering returning to employment.

According to FÁS equal opportunities manager Mary Beggan, a lot of women who would like to return to work need help and encouragement and can often women feel their skills are outdated.

“It’s to help them make that initial jump. It’s up to the women themselves. Some just want a job, not a career, others want a career,” she said.

Training will be tailor-made to cater for the individual woman’s needs and can last from a matter of days to up to six months.

Aside from the equal opportunities aspect and promoting the role of women in the workplace, the scheme is also aimed at filling labour shortages, Ms Beggan said.

“It also involves a labour dimension as employers have said that they can’t find any workers to hire,” she said.

National Women’s Council of Ireland chairperson Gráinne Healy said the plan addressed a number of the key issues highlighted in the ESRI’s recent report on women returning to the workplace - Getting out of the House.

The report said a number of needs and concerns of women needed to be addressed including:

* The need for personal development and confidence building.

* A lack of information on the type of courses available.

* A perceived lack of access to courses.

* Little knowledge about the job opportunities available.

* The need to recognise the value of life skills and experiences of non-formal learning.

* Access to flexible working arrangements.

* A need for on-going support and provision of training opportunities once in employment.

Labour Affairs Minister Frank Fahey said that the report demonstrated that women returners are a distinct group with their own particular needs.

“The challenge for policy makers and for FÁS is to develop responses that are particular to women returners and that meet their specific needs,” he said.

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