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Pensioners Working Part-Time at a Co-Op

Video clip synopsis – Some people experience retiring like hitting a brick wall, finding it hard to live on such a dramatically reduced income. "Beehive" is a Seniors employment co-operative where pensioners can work to earn a few dollars without affecting their Social Security payments.
Year of production - 1983
Duration - 1min 54sec
Tags - ageing, job satisfaction, retirement, see all tags


Pensioners Working Part-Time at a Co-Op

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About the Video Clip


Pensioners Working Part-Time at a Co-Op is an excerpt from the film Hitting A Brick Wall (15 mins), an episode of the series Ageing in the New Age (7 × 15mins), produced in 1983.

Hitting A Brick Wall: For some people the act of retirement is an unexpected shock. How can one properly prepare? This program looks at several people who have approached retirement in different ways.

Ageing in the New Age: With an ageing population, the world is approaching a crisis and community debate is growing on the issues raised by ageing populations. Each program in this series of seven films deals with one of those issues: approaches to retirement, community support systems that foster independence, living on a pension, ways the elderly are still contributing to the community, the position of elders in different cultural traditions, the problem of dementia and managing financial investments. They are generally optimistic and uplifting programs, full of innovative ideas and inspiration.

Ageing in the New Age was produced by Film Australia with the assistance of AMP Society.

Curriculum Focus


Reading standard: Students read, view, analyse, critique, reflect on and discuss contemporary and classical imaginative texts that explore personal, social, cultural and political issues of significance in their own lives. They will also read, view, analyse and discuss a wide range of informative and persuasive texts and identify the multiple purposes for which texts are created.

Writing standard: Students write persuasive texts dealing with complex ideas and issues and control the linguistic structures and features that support the presentation of different perspectives on complex themes and issues.

Speaking and Listening standard: Students, when engaged in discussion compare ideas, build on others’ ideas, provide and justify other points of view, and reach conclusions that take into account aspects of an issue.

The activities in this learning module are relevant to the Interdisciplinary Learning strand of Level 6 Communications (Listening, viewing and responding standard; Presenting standard) and Thinking Processes (Reasoning, processing and inquiry standard; Creativity standard).

The activities are also relevant to the Physical, Personal and Social Learning strand of Level 6 Interpersonal Development (Building social relationships standard; Working in teams standard) and Personal Learning (The individual learner standard; Managing personal learning standard).

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


Australia is an ageing society.

Australia’s population is ageing and in international terms it is ageing relatively fast. Twenty years ago, 9% of the Australian population or 1.3 million people were aged 65 years and over. By 1996 this had increased to 12% of the population or 2.2 million people and by 2016 this is projected to increase to 16% of the population or 3.5 million people.

The internal age structure of the older population is also changing quite significantly. In 1976, one in six older people was aged 80 and over, by 1996 it was one in five and by 2016 it is expected to be one in four. In the next twenty years, the number of people in Australia aged 80 will grow by 63% from 486,200 in 1996 to 794,500 by 2016.

Work is an important part of adult life. When the eight hour working day was introduced, it stated that the day was divided up into eight hours work, eight hours rest and eight hours recreation. Many people either work more than eight hours and/or sleep less than eight hours. The eight hours that should be devoted to 'play’ are often taken up with working, managing a household and caring for children, so that when they reach retirement, some people do not have the skills or networks to know how to 'play’.

For many people, their social network is based around work. When they retire that network is gone. They have no daily contact for social exchange and no prospect of future social functions. For people who have worked in a regular job for a number of years, maintaining a structure in their lives can be important. Volunteering work offers this structure and a way to feel that you are still a valued member of the community.

In this video clip, pensioners can work at a co-op without affecting their pension and at the same time this provides them with entertainment and activities.

Classroom Activities

  1. Write a 100-word summary of the video clip. Include the main points, intended audience and the purpose of the video clip.
  2. Australia has an ageing society. ‘In 1976, one in six older people was aged 80 and over, by 1996 it was one in five and by 2016 it is expected to be one in four. In the next twenty years, the number of people in Australia aged 80 will grow by 63% from 486,200 in 1996 to 794,500 by 2016’. Write a 350-word persuasive media article or letter to the editor arguing for the state to show responsibility towards its citizens in old age.
    1. Discuss the question, ‘How important is work to our identity?’ and list as many points as you can in 15 minutes.
    2. Define ‘co-operative’ in the workplace context.
    3. Explain what benefits a co-operative can bring to people in the workplace.