Glendale is urging employers to consider the benefits of a multi-generational workforce, following the appointment of 50-year-old apprentice Paul Valiantis.
In his new role as a green space management specialist, Paul will take on a bespoke programme combining hands-on experience with workplace-based training.
The national green services provider is highlighting the range of benefits to be gained from embracing older workers, including access to more experience, skills and knowledge.
According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), by 2020 over 50s will make up almost one third of the working age population.
The DWP’s Attitudes of the Over 50s to Fuller Working Lives survey also found that 21 per cent of employers said workers aged 50 or over were more productive than their younger counterparts, while 68 per cent said they were equally productive.
Shereen Marlow, contract manager at Glendale, said: “Apprentices are a key part of our succession plan here at Glendale, but I think it is easy to forget that they are not just limited to younger people. Paul is a fantastic addition to our growing team and we are already benefitting from his experience and enthusiasm.
“An individual with more years under their belt is likely to bring their own experiences to the role, as well as a wealth of transferable skills from previous positions that can be passed throughout the workforce.
“By employing a varying range of ages, employers can maximize skills and resources, gaining significant advantages in terms of recruiting and retaining productive workers.”
Paul Valiantis said: “I was keen to gain a horticultural qualification so I was looking for something which would provide experience while learning at the same time. An apprenticeship seemed the best way to do this, and I like the fact that you get to work in many different environments and take on new challenges every day.”
Tom Wheatcroft, horticulture tutor at Capel Manor College where Paul is studying for his apprenticeship, said: ‘Paul has demonstrated that apprenticeships are for people of all ages, those, like Paul who show a passion for their work and for learning gain a lot from the apprenticeship programme. It provides valuable work experience coupled with a formal qualification, ideal for career changers like Paul or for those team members making their first steps in the world of work.
“All apprentices bring something different to the class, this may be machinery expertise, plant knowledge or from our more mature students like Paul this may be life experience. As a lecturer, this makes the apprentices a great group to teach, and for the students a great and fun learning experience.’
In addition to embracing a diverse workforce, staff retention is another priority for Glendale. Over 50 members of the company’s workforce have amassed over 15 years’ service.
Jim Strang, assistant regional director in the south west, has been with the company for 27 years and is the firm’s longest serving employee.