Unlocking Potential: Empowering the 50+ Workforce with the Age at Work Resources Hub

By Natalie Anderson, Inclusion Manager

In an age where the workplace is constantly evolving, business leaders must adapt and support every segment of our workforce.

The government’s JobStart 50+ announcement on promoting the economic value of workers aged 50 and over is very encouraging. Our Age at Work Resources Hub, a collaboration between Business in the Community Northern Ireland and Age NI, supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, offers the perfect platform for businesses who want to take action on this issue and those who are seeking employment.

The Department for Communities and The Executive Office have underscored the immense value that older employees bring to the workplace. JobStart 50+ aims to ensure that individuals over 50 continue to have meaningful, sustainable employment opportunities. This is a crucial step towards fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce that leverages the experience and expertise of mature employees.

The Importance of Embracing Older Employees

The professional journey does not end at 50. On the contrary, this is often a period where employees possess unparalleled experience, wisdom, and stability. Embracing older workers is not just about fulfilling a moral obligation but also about reaping tangible business benefits. Studies have shown that mixed-age teams are more productive and innovative. Older employees often act as mentors, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and continuous learning.

However, for this integration to be successful, businesses must actively work to dismantle age-related biases and create an environment where all employees, regardless of age, feel valued and supported. This is where the Age at Work Resources Hub can help.

Age at Work Resources Hub

The Age at Work Resources Hub provides information and tools designed to assist businesses in creating age-inclusive workplaces. Here’s how businesses and employees over 50 can benefit:

  • Access to Best Practices: The hub provides comprehensive guides and case studies showcasing successful age-inclusive policies. Businesses can learn from real-world examples and adopt strategies that have been proven effective
  • Training and Development: Continuous learning is crucial, regardless of age. The hub offers resources on upskilling and reskilling older employees, ensuring they stay relevant in today’s fast-paced work environment
  • Health and Wellbeing: The wellbeing of employees is paramount. The hub includes resources on maintaining physical and mental health; crucial for sustaining long-term employment
  • Flexible Working Arrangements: Flexibility is key to accommodating the diverse needs of older employees. The hub provides guidance on implementing flexible work policies that benefit employees and employers

Encouraging Businesses to Act

I urge all businesses to explore the Age at Work Resources Hub and to use the information it provides to help shape opportunities for those over 50 that work. Here are a few steps to get started:

  • Conduct an Age Audit: Evaluate your current workforce demographics and policies. Identify areas where age-related biases may exist and work towards eliminating them
  • Implement Training Programmes: Leverage the hub’s resources to develop training programmes that focus on the unique needs of older employees. This includes digital literacy, leadership skills, and wellness programmes
  • Promote a Culture of Inclusion: Foster an environment where all employees feel valued. Encourage mixed-age teams and mentorship programmes to promote intergenerational collaboration
  • Communicate Openly: Ensure that communication lines are open. Encourage older employees to share their experiences and suggestions on how the workplace can be improved

If you are over 50 and looking for work

For employees over 50, the Age at Work Resources Hub can help you too. It offers guidance on navigating the job market, enhancing skills, and maintaining well-being. Here’s how you can take advantage of it:

  • Upskill and Reskill: The hub provides access to numerous learning opportunities. Take advantage of these to stay competitive in the job market
  • Seek Flexible Work Options: Use the resources to understand your rights and options regarding flexible working arrangements. This can help you balance work with other life commitments
  • Prioritise your Health: Utilise health and wellbeing resources to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Your wellbeing is crucial for long-term career sustainability
  • Network and Connect: Engage with professional networks and communities through the hub. Networking is vital for career growth at any stage

JobStart 50+ and the Age at Work Resources Hub represent significant steps towards building more inclusive and productive workforces. By leveraging these resources, businesses can harness the full potential of their employees, and individuals over 50 can continue to contribute meaningfully to the economy.

If your business needs support in this area, please visit the Age at Work Resources Hub, or contact me at natalie.anderson@bitcni.org.uk