Jobs dry up at 50-plus
SINCE Rick Ardrey was made redundant last July, he has spent more than $4000 on training to get another job - but no employer wants to know.
The Tinana man has decades of experience in driving cranes and forklifts, excellent references from previous bosses, and has paid out of his own pocket for a truck licence, a dogging certificate and traffic control courses.
But like countless others of his age, he is still being overlooked.
"I worked in the steel industry at Brisbane for 19 years, then moved up here and worked at the foundry for four years," Mr Ardrey said.
"The work dried up, and I was out of a job for 13 months then went to Downer EDi - then that dried up too."
Because his wife earns "a couple of dollars" above the Centrelink cut-off limit, Mr Ardrey is not eligible for benefits or free training.
As well as paying for training courses, he has taken his resume to dozens of employers, and scours the job advertisements every day.
At 58 and physically fit, Mr Ardrey said he was too young to stop work, but he believed his age may be a barrier to potential employers.
"I've got at least another 10 years in me, and I just really want to work," he said.
"I will do anything: storeman, yard work, any over-time that's needed."
Member for Maryborough Chris Foley said Mr Ardrey's case was not an isolated one.
"The government is saying we all have to work until we're 68 or older, but we've got to figure out ways of keeping these people in the workforce," he said.
Mr Foley issued a challenge to Fraser Coast businesses to find Mr Ardrey a job.
"You've got a man here who has so much experience and desire to work but he is being overlooked," Mr Foley said.
"Someone has to give him a go."
If you have a job for Mr Ardrey, call the Maryborough electorate office on 4122 2277 or the Chronicle on 4120 0486.