Hard-working kuia supports Ageing Workforce strategy

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Predictions are that the number of aged workers will rise to 1.2 million in 2036 and the challenge put to employers by the EMA's White Paper on the Aged Workforce is to build policies and strategies to support workers who are 50 plus.

At just 67 years old, this Māori language subtitler and certified Zumba instructor is sharp as a tack and fit as a fiddle.

“If my mind is still quick to think, my fingers are fast to type, if my body is fit, I'm energised to walk, to take care of myself, to do whatever I want, and I will continue to work,” said Te Wanihi Edwards.

By 2036, it's projected that over 1.2 million people will be aged over 65 years old. Senior Minister Tracey Martin says employers need to factor the increasing ageing population.

“They need to consider the fact that they have to change right now,” said Martin.

“They have to be considering how are we going to change our workplace for what is here now.”

Today, Martin launched the White Paper discussion document Act Now, Age Later, for the government, businesses, and unions to create a new national strategy to deliver opportunities to an ageing workforce.

“The skills are in that workforce but they need to be starting to look at flexible ways that they can keep their 55 pluses, their 65 pluses connected to their businesses,” she said.

“They need to endorse collaboration with aged workers and consider their needs,” said Edwards.

“What systems can they implement to support them remaining in the workforce.”

The working group behind the White Paper have made three recommendations including the development of a toolkit for employers and workers.