National Older Workers Week, organised by job site, Working Wise, aims to showcase the many benefits of attracting and retaining older workers. Similarly, the Age Friendly Employer Pledge, created by the Centre for Ageing Better, champions the value of workers in their 50s, 60s and older, encouraging employers to see the wider benefits of adopting such a positive policy.
Vicky Trumper, Director of the Neville Trust Group of Companies said: “We are really very blessed to have a number of older workers across the Trust that play absolutely vital roles in our employee make-up. They can bring a considerable amount of life-learning and experience to their roles, skills which are incredibly difficult to measure but equally difficult to find. Employment of older individuals is now a company policy that we are actively adopting.
“We are aware that this policy works very well in our favour. There are skills and labour shortages across all sectors and to overlook those of a certain age, with expertise and knowledge, seems to defy common sense. We are seeing new data all the time that points to increased productivity and innovation for those that have older and multigenerational workforces. It’s a part of the changing job market that we are happy to embrace.”
Jim, a Senior Site Manager for Neville Special Projects, was persuaded to join as an over-60 starter by a current employee of Neville Special Projects. He said: “I don’t think many employers know the value of blending people from different backgrounds with different talents. Having worked across many sectors, including IT and construction, I bring an awful lot of business experience and life experience to my role. This is something that is championed by Neville’s as a valuable teaching tool for the rest of the team, particularly our apprentices.”
Every year, Neville Trust and its associated companies hires an intake of apprentices across all operations in the business, including construction, joinery, funerals and central services. Its employees consist of a range of ages, from 16 to over 75, bringing in a blend of practical working experience and creative, fresh perspectives.
Karen, 64, joined the group originally on a temporary basis to assist with some of the construction site administration. Having quickly made herself invaluable to Neville Special Projects and Neville Funerals, where she splits half of her time, she has been hired permanently as a Mobile Administrator.
Karen said: “One of the biggest obstacles for older workers is a bias, which exists across many workplaces. Older workers are regularly discriminated against in the jobs market and disproportionately likely to be selected for redundancy according to the UK Government.
“I was made redundant at 61 and didn’t think I was ever going to find a job again. But, after persevering down several avenues, I found a role that not only fit my skill set, but that made me feel valued and respected.”
With campaigns like the Age Friendly Employer Pledge and Older Workers Week, awareness can be raised for this discrimination. This is certainly the view of Levy & Grant Co-ordinator Chris, who has been working with Neville Trust since April 2021: “It’s important that businesses embrace older workers as they can be a real asset to your team. I think it’s important that people just ‘go for it,’ don’t get left behind – have confidence in yourself and your abilities and the right employer will recognise your potential at any age!”
Commitment to equal opportunities is one of the company’s social values, which is what persuaded Steve, a 75-year-old Driver Bearer for Neville Funerals, to return to the business after five years of retirement and a 21-year career with the company.
Steve said: “You really feel like you are part of a community when you work for Neville’s. It’s reat having the opportunity to see colleagues and feel like you’re making a difference in someone’s hardest times. I’m part-time, which means I feel that reward from my job role, but I can still enjoy my retirement relishing in a successful career.”