More from the excellent breakfast seminar ‘Life Beyond 50’ organised by The Centre for Ageing Better. I am brimming with positivity and the acknowledgment that women do really matter! Striped Sisters feel free to join me in a collective cheer!
Next up are Karen Phillips and Gloria Flynn-Piercy who both work on The Later Life Transitions Programme at Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
With many of us living and working longer, The Later Life Transitions Programme is a workplace programme with the purpose of maintaining staff wellbeing and ensuring that older staff are well-cared for in an organisation, in this case, the NHS. Something very relevant when Karen points out that at CWP NHS Foundation Trust, four-fifths of the workforce are women, and three quarters are aged over 50.
Given these statistics, this innovative programme seems particularly well-timed and forward thinking. With NHS staff being given two full days out of the workplace, this allows individuals the time to reflect on their future, both in and out of work, with particular focus on when, and if, staff want to retire. This, of course, has the added benefit to the NHS, which is to retain highly experienced and skilled staff who they could otherwise lose.
Gloria, in charge of overseeing the workshops, has some key observations. First, that many employees in their 50s and 60s have dual caring roles, whether children, grandchildren or elderly parents. Secondly, the prevalence of workplace ageism and its impact on self-esteem. Notably, common feedback from participants points to the very little acknowledgement of the huge positive legacies that older staff have created in their working life and the failure to ensure that those skills and expertise are passed on to other members of staff.
For those of you who fall into this age category, I am sure that you are not surprised by these observations, but for younger Striped Sisters, a warning cry goes out to you too. Maintaining one’s self-esteem and ensuring your work is acknowledged is always something that has to be on your radar. Ageism may be considered by some to be the ‘cinderella’ of all the ‘isms’, however, it is but one of the 9 protected characteristics in The Equality Act of 2010, the others being age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex.
The CWP NHS Foundation Trust is to be credited with the introduction of this programme and indeed it sounds like an excellent model for other employers to follow. However, there is a commonality in all of these key points and they are by no means age-specific. Skills and expertise should always be valued in the workplace with opportunities for skills to be shared and recognised. The physical and mental wellbeing of staff should always be at the cornerstone of any organisation or business and finally, any breach of the 9 protected characteristics should be robustly challenged, whether Cinderella or otherwise.
© stripedsisters 2019