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Commissioner supports business event to put age inclusion on agendas

31 January, 2024
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Business in the Community (BITC) and Age NI are calling on HR, Operations and Diversity and Inclusion professionals in Northern Ireland to come together for an important age-inclusion event in Belfast.

The Age at Work Exchange event will provide a space for business representatives to learn and share best practice around age inclusion, and to and discuss the challenges and opportunities that an ageing population and workforce presents.

Kieran Harding, Managing Director of responsible business network Business in the Community, said: “We are all living for longer, which means that the majority of us are likely to be working for longer too. Coupled with declining birthrates, this means that by 2030 half of all adults in the UK will be over 50.

“Both customers and the workforce are ageing, so better understanding what this demographic wants, and being pro-active about efforts to recruit, retain and retrain older individuals, is essential for businesses and the wider economy to thrive.”

Event keynote Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of UK & Ireland for Marketing at recruitment leader Hays will present findings and trends from the UK-wide ‘What Workers Want 2023: Older Workers’ report, and make recommendations on what organisations can do to create positive intergenerational workplaces.

Guests will hear examples of action for age-inclusion from Northern Ireland employers Allstate NI, Bank of Ireland, RPS and Ulster University, and learn more about how individuals have benefited from the Age at Work programme through Mid-Career Reviews and employability and digital skills support sessions.

Siobhan Casey, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Age NI, said: “Older workers need to be supported to confidently own the later stages of their career, to financially plan their retirement, or indeed to reclaim their place in the employment market. Later life can throw up health challenges, changes of lifestyle and new carer responsibilities. It is important for older workers to understand their rights, and to be supported to continue to make a valued and valuable contribution in the workplace.

“As an essential starting point, we know that over half of over 50s admit they don’t know the value of their pension. The Age at Work programme helps older workers to take control of their finances and plan wisely towards retirement. Many tell us that with this knowledge they can switch their mindset from “work to live” to “live to work”, which they see as a much more positive, motivating and healthy way of working.”

The Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, attended the event launch photocall and will speak at the event in March.

Mr Lynch said: “The rights and needs of older workers should be promoted and recognised in order to allow the over 50s to participate as fully as possible in the workplace. Older people have so much to contribute to the workplace and their value, experience and contribution should be welcomed and celebrated. It’s important that employers are doing all they can to promote job opportunities for older people as well as providing flexibility and support to prevent older people from exiting the workplace before they are ready.

“I’m delighted to support both BITC and Age NI at this event; their work through the Age at Work programme is making a positive impact in building inclusive multi-generational workplaces and in supporting individuals to make later life more positive for older employees.”

The event will be held at Belfast Harbor Commissioners, Wednesday 13 March, 9.30-11.30am. Register for the event and access support through Age at Work at www.bitcni.org.uk/ageni.