Middle-aged job-seekers have criticised as 'piecemeal' a government initiative to help them re-enter the workforce. The scheme, which includes one month's on-the-job training and follow-up counselling, was launched by the Labour Department yesterday. It will form a one-stop service for jobless people over 40 who have been registered with the department for more than three months and are actively looking for a job. About 13,000 people are eligible for 2,000 places. But So Wai Sau-yung, who will turn 40 in September and has been jobless for nearly two years, said the quota was too low. 'I wonder if I will be able to squeeze on to the scheme even though I've been out of a job for so long,' Ms So said. 'There are only 2,000 places. Also, what kind of jobs and training will be made available? I only had one interview - for a packaging job - during the six months I was registered with the Labour Department.' Ms So claimed age discrimination had hindered her search for work. 'Although employers never said it straight, they would hint they need someone younger.' The Confederation of Trade Unions was worried job-seekers would be given the boot after the first month. 'The only thing that can help these people is an improvement in the overall employment market. Schemes like this are just a drop in the ocean,' organising secretary Mak Tak-ching said. Deputy Commissioner for Labour William Siu Wai-lam denied age discrimination was a problem for the middle-aged.