Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettison will today launch a new cross-government project to boost business and employment opportunities for South Australia’s mature-aged workers.

Ms Bettison will launch the pilot Mature Aged Business Syndicates project for residents of the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, at McCracken Country Club, Victor Harbor.

TAFE SA has developed a framework for training and support that will provide mature-aged people in the region with the building blocks to enable them to venture along new employment and business paths.

It builds on the foundation of existing business and other support programs provided through State Government departments including State Development, Primary Industries and Regions SA and the Office of the Ageing.

MABS participants may be looking for alternative jobs, businesses or employment arrangements; may be unemployed; or may have other reasons to enter or re-enter the workforce.

MABS aims to create as many as 20 start-up businesses, involving up to 80 mature-aged people, each year, largely through capitalising on existing business and social networks within South Australia’s regional communities.

Training will be available in critical areas of business operations and management, including law and risk, finance, marketing and information technology.

Quotes attributable to Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Bettison

For too long, employment and business opportunities for older members of South Australian communities have been decreasing – not because the skills, expertise or knowledge of mature-aged individuals have diminished over time, but because society has changed its view of the potential of mature-aged people in contributing to business productivity.

The Mature Aged Business Syndicates project will change those perceptions. Participants will develop and update business and technical skills that will provide them with opportunities and career paths that they may have thought were closed to them.

By enhancing the business and employment opportunities for South Australia’s mature-aged people, we will generate activity that has the potential to add significantly to regional economies and support the wellbeing of this important group within our communities.

Quotes attributable to TAFE SA Chief Executive Robin Murt

This project will deliver skills that the community needs to support local entrepreneurship, business start-up and innovation.

It views mature-aged people as an asset, with rich skills and experience that they can use to participate in new ventures such as small businesses. In developing or updating their business skills, participants will also increase their confidence in entering contemporary workplaces, whether as owners and managers, employees or volunteers.

TAFE SA will have a major role in identifying skills gaps; ensuring training is tailored to the needs of individuals or groups who will support each other in new businesses; the students, the businesses and the industries involved; and preparing participants so they are ready and capable of fulfilling the requirements of their workplaces.

Training will focus on establishing, running and expanding a small business; the specific technical skills required to establish and manage a business; and boosting the confidence of mature-aged participants, so they are best-placed to enter the workforce and succeed.

By introducing the pilot into the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island region, we will be able to assess its impact on a major regional community, and explore its potential for introduction in other regions across the state.