Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Ms Irene Filler

  I work for an international company and run the HR department of a division employing 110 people. Our company is in the manufacturing sector.

  I believe that ageism is totally inappropriate in business. Either someone is qualified to do a job or they aren't. I have met all ages and abilities and have recruited for the lowest skill set to board level. Age has never come into the equation.

  Ageism is experienced at both ends of the scale. Young people are often rejected as they lack experience. That being the case, why on earth do over 50's get rejected as they have years of experience! Young people can be trained and are the lifeblood of any company. Older people are the trainers and the font of knowledge. Therefore a mix of ages is ideal.

  I would like to see legislation against ageism, but I would also like to see a change in the mindset of people who advertise in devious ways to deter older people, for example "we are a young company". How can we bring about this change? Legislation is an obvious start—it is beginning to work in other areas, such as racial discrimination, but it must also feature in education and training. Older people could do more to help themselves. Those who feel they reached the pinnacle of their education 30 years ago and have made no effort to continue to learn are their (and our) own worst enemies.

  In case you wonder where I fit in age-wise: I am 54 years old and graduated at 49! I have an individual learning account and grab at every single training opportunity that comes my way. I am also a trainer within the company for whom I work.

Irene Filler

November 2000

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