21/06/2004

Campaign to end ageism is launched in North West

Employers in the North West are being urged to attend the North West launch of the Age Positive campaign.

Age Positive, a Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) initiative, is focused on ending age discrimination in the workplace and raising employers’ awareness of forthcoming age discrimination legislation, due to come into force in 2006.

Bryan Johnston, former managing director of The First Trust, and chair of the Age Positive Steering Group, believes that employers in the North West need to be aware of what can be gained from a more progressive approach to age diversity.

“In business it is essential that you find the right person for the job and it is clear employees should be recruited, as well as trained and promoted, on merit, with age playing no factor," Mr Johnston said.

One in four workers in the UK suffer from ageism, making it the most common form of workplace discrimination while Northern Ireland has the highest unemployment rate for people aged over 50.

Statistics also reveal that ageism is one of the most costly forms of discrimination, with the Government’s Winning the Generation Game report indicating that age discrimination costs the economy £16 billion every year.

Mr Johnston added: “The demographics in Northern Ireland are set to shift dramatically over the next two decades and employers in the North West, both large and small, must embrace the concept of age diversity, in order to remain competitive.

"The numbers of people aged 45 and over, is set to grow by over 25 per cent by 2020, and this will be accompanied by a parallel drop in the numbers of people aged 16 and under.”

Northern Ireland’s first Age Positive Employer Champions - companies who have been approved by DETI as having best practice on age - will also be unveiled at the event.

All delegates will receive the newly updated Age Positive Voluntary Code of Practice, as well as gain advice on the benefits of age diversity, which includes higher productivity and a broader range of skills and experience, from expert speakers.

Next week's event takes place at Beechill Country House Hotel, on Tuesday 29 June, at 10.30am.

Any companies wishing to register for the launch should contact 028 9066 4020.

(MB)

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