By Daniel Hunter
Private and public sector organisations are being encouraged to make more use of their older workers.
The Valuing Older Workers research project, carried out by The South East Forum on Ageing, has used six case studies, identifying the voluntary sector’s effective practice in capitalising on the skills of older workers and makes recommendations on how all organisations can follow their lead.
The Children’s Trust, a national charity based in Surrey was one of the examples selected for the project.
The report stated that the Trust ‘valued and empowered older workers and volunteers’ and acknowledged that the charities HR policies and practices were designed in to apply to people of all ages.
Julia Mixter, Director of Human Resources at the Trust contributed to the report with support from the Maintenance and HR teams and identified ways in which the Trust particularly supports and values older workers.
She explained that the Trust aimed to accommodate the needs of all workers, especially those who have increasing caring responsibilities of elderly relatives and how consideration was given to accommodating requests for time off for hospital appointments or compassionate leave.
Key figures and findings identified in report:
· Of the 540 paid employees, one third are aged between 50 and 69, with an average of 10 years’ service;
· 5 paid employees (1%) are aged 70+ with an average of 14 years’ service;
· The maintenance department employs high proportion of older staff who have identified some of the benefits of working for the Trust as: attractive location and environment, working for a good cause, job stability, being trusted by management and being respected for their expertise;
· 85% of the 540 paid staff are women and the Trust has a highly developed Family Support Programme, including on-site nursery and flexible working hours;
· The recruitment and management training includes a focus on avoiding age and other kinds of bias;
· Staff of all ages are expected to participate in its training and development programme including its policy of ‘growing our own’ specialist staff;
· Report acknowledged that the Trusts made good use of older volunteers, the oldest being 91 who fundraises and an 87 year old who is involved in box collecting and counting.
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