August 30, 2010

KOREA: The Elderly Job Market, a Second Life

SEOUL, Korea / Arirang Korea Global TV / National News / August 30, 2010

In a soap plant in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, a group of senior citizens is getting ready for a day's work. The types of soap coming out of this plant are hand-made and contain only natural ingredients. Only senior citizens aged 60 or over can work in this plant, which opened in 2009.  This is because the plant is part of a jobs and businesses program for the elderly that was started by a local seniors club. The news about the soap spread by word-of-mouth, and orders are coming in non-stop.

[Interview : Choi Byeong-cheol, General manager Senior Club]

"Last year, about 16 senior citizens ran a business for roughly 6 months and earned 41,850 US dollars. For a business run by this age group, it was a big income. We were all surprised."

Since 2000, Korea has been rapidly becoming an aged society.

So the elderly job market was implemented to help bolster the shrinking work force due to the growing number of senior citizens.

According to statistics, the elderly job market increased sixfold in five years and showed a greater variety in job selections.

[Interview : Lee Yeong-seon, Social Worker Community Relief Center]

"In the beginning, most jobs in the elderly job market consisted of menial labor, such as taking down flyers or picking up trash. Today, the elderly make food and everyday goods, and they even sell them."

One of the changes brought by this project is that the service industry has expanded.

Hwang Su-il, who just turned 70, has been a barista for 2 years.

[Interview : Hwang Su-il, Barista]

"After wondering how to spend the rest of my days, I decided to become a barista, something that gives me the chance to work with young people."

The two senior citizen baristas in this cafe are now experienced enough to take any order without difficulty.

Many young people, who are more used to famous coffee franchises, are now coming here.

[Interview : Woo Jae-gyeong, Customer]

"I didn't expect a good taste and high quality but that isn't the case at all. I just keep coming back here."

These youthful seniors are breaking the limitations of age.

If the job market for the elderly continues to develop, the lives of seniors in Korea are bound to be radiant.

Reporter :

Copyright: The Korea International Broadcasting Foundation

Seniors World Chronicle adds:

Goyang provides full support to its senior citizens. Its Ilsan Old Age Welfare Center and Deogyang Old Age Welfare Hall, which boast of the best facilities for senior citizens in Korea, serve as places of peace and relaxation for the elderly, and provide them with diverse welfare services. The city is expanding such facilities to provide better and more direct services to the elderly, and is developing a related policy

Source: Goyang City

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