Kirstie Donnelly, MD at City & Guilds Group, chaired a panel discussion with four individuals at different stages of their careers: baby boomers June Evans and Jed Bates and gen Z Callum Smyth and Millie Stonell.
“How do we, as employers, embrace the cultural diversity of the four generations we now have in the workplace?” asked Donnelly. “How can we maximise on this 100-year planning melting-pot of richness of experience and combine these tribes together in the workplace and benefit?”
She emphasised the importance of lifelong learning and the merits of apprenticeships at any age, conducting a live poll which showed that only a handful of delegates had any involvement in apprenticeships for older adults.
“Employers are missing out on a huge pool of talent,” argued Evans. “We have life experience. I was fortunate my company had faith in me to be able to take a CIPD apprenticeship at the age of 60, because I have no intention of retiring at 65.”
Fellow panellist, Jed Bates, pointed out that 25 years in the air force had taught him to “adapt, adapt and adapt”. At 61, he is studying for a new kind of degree in nursing, where he finds himself mentoring his peers. “They help keep me young,” he said. “It works both ways.”
Stonell agreed, highlighting the value of reverse mentoring around technology. The benefits of apprenticeships for younger people still need reinforcing. Smyth admits he was “pushed down the university route”, though he is now pursuing an accountancy apprenticeship with KPMG.
“Apprenticeships seemed almost lower-class compared with getting your GSCEs,” added Stonell, who sourced her own apprenticeship in hospitality.
Bates highlighted the value of inclusiveness to employers: “Every single person has something to offer,” he enthused.
To watch an exclusive Q&A with Kirstie, as well as the full panel discussion, click here.