While some seniors may have retired from the paid workforce, they still have a whole gamut of skills and knowledge that's of benefit to society - and one non-profit in the NSW city of Wollongong is determined to put that talent into focus.
Wild Rumpus is a community-based social enterprise and their latest project, called “pass it on”, is recruiting skilled seniors to teach short, two-to-three hour classes, in their topic of expertise.
Some of the workshops they hope to run over the next 12 months include Tunisian crochet, traditional lasagna making, beach worming and Indigenous fish smoking, with a particular emphasis being placed on the unique skill set seniors from diverse backgrounds can bring.
“Wollongong is a very culturally diverse place… and we see that as a real asset,” Wild Rumpus co-founder and director Caitlin Marshall tells SBS.
“There is a huge interest in craft and cooking, and people from [different] cultures have this unique set of skills and knowledge around their own cuisine, and cultural traditions that have a value that can be enjoyed and shared and celebrated by the rest of the community.”
Ms Marshall hopes that the workshops will also empower the elderly teachers and help them “remember that these skills are really important”.
“I was speaking to an Italian woman who is going to teach a traditional lasagne making class, she’s about to retire and she said to me, ‘this is so exciting because I’ve been really scared about what I’m going to do with my time and this is something I can do and I didn’t realise it’s something people would want to know’.”
About 30 seniors expressed interest in sharing their knowledge during their first recruitment day, the majority of which have never taught anything before.
Thanks to a community grant from Illawarra Retirement Trust Foundation, the seniors will be payed a small fee for the contributions and the cost of attending classes will range from $30-50.