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Older Workers Bring “Lifelong Experience and Essential Skills” says Celtic Manor

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This has been submitted by The Welsh Government 

A five-star hotel in Newport has shown its commitment to investing in its older employees’ skills by backing a new Welsh Government campaign designed to challenge stereotypes and show ‘people do not have a best before date’.

John Lewis, 61, heads up the security team at The Celtic Manor Resort. John worked for Gwent Police for 32 years before his retirement six years ago and jumped at the chance to start a new job that would give him the chance to use a lifetime of skills and experience.

John and The Celtic Manor are now supporting the Welsh Government’s Age of Investment initiative, launched during Skills for Work Week, which highlights to employers across Wales the importance of retaining their older workers.

It warns employers that within the next five years one in three people of working age will be over fifty. Therefore, investing in skills throughout an employee’s working life has never been more important.

John said:

“One of my last jobs in the police was working on the Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor in 2010 and after I retired I thought that was me done.

“I live just outside Newport, I’m chairman of the local cricket club and I also like gardening and cooking. I thought those hobbies would fill my days but I soon discovered I simply wasn’t ready to stop working”.

He continued:

“It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to bring my experience from a life at work to this new role. For now I have no thoughts of retirement. This is one of the best moves I could have made.”

The Celtic Manor employs more than 1,000 staff, from teenagers to people in their 70s, across its 2,000 acre site. Training is tailored for the different generations of employees and encourages self-development.

Tracey Israel, Head of Learning and Development, said:

“We really value those who are in the older age bracket.

“People like John bring life experience as well as essential skills. When people arrive here the first faces they see are our concierge team, many of whom are over 50, and who bring maturity, empathy and understanding to the job. It’s their skills that ensure we deliver excellent service, to make The Celtic Manor experience special for every guest.”

As part of its Age of Investment initiative the Welsh Government has teamed up with BITC Cymru Learning and Work Institute and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales to launch the ‘People Don’t Have a Best Before Date’ campaign, designed to challenge the stereotypes of older workers and demonstrate their value in the workplace.

John is one of eleven employees selected from a cross-section of exemplar Welsh businesses that have shown a commitment to investing in an all-age workforce to feature in the campaign. It will combine radio and digital advertising and downloadable advice guides and toolkits to illustrate to employers the tangible business benefits of creating a skilled, effective, multi-generational workforce.

 Commenting on the launch of this campaign and highlighting why it has never been more important for companies to recognise how valuable their older worker are.

Skills and Science Minister, Julie James, said:

“Older workers are vital for the future prosperity of our economy and our businesses. Retaining people, developing their skills throughout their working life and recruiting older workers has never been more critical to business survival as well as growth.

“Our workforce in Wales is getting older and young people joining the labour market will not fill all of the vacancies. This campaign is designed to encourage all employers – but particularly SMEs where the loss of skills and cost of recruitment can be more consequential – that they need older workers to survive and grow.

“We hope it will reinforce the issue to Welsh businesses of all sizes and give them practical advice on how they can manage and retain the skills and experience of their older workers, and appeal to the market of older recruits.”

For employers looking for more information on how they can invest in the skills of their older workers, the Welsh Government’s Skills Gateway for Business – https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/ has a range of advice and guidance.