Cambridgeshire employers gain skills for managing a healthy ageing workforce

Over 40 companies from across the county came together at Hinchingbrooke Country Park, Huntingdon to attend an Employee Wellbeing Practitioners’ Event where they heard from Chris Minett, Managing Director of Ageing Works about the issues around ageing workforces that are now being faced in many workplaces.

Thought provoking and stimulating session – a welcome addition to my workload

- NAPP Pharmaceutical delegate
The event was run by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Public Health teams in partnership with the Business in the Community East of England Business Action on Public Health project.

Chris talked about a ‘sleeping tiger’ – why our society is ageing and the impact this is having on business now and in the future. He highlighted a number of issues, including the fact that one in three workers will be over 50 by 2020, and that, according to a survey conducted by CIPOD in 2010, more than 50% of workers aged over 55 are planning to continue working beyond the state pension age.

Some of the key issues raised by employers were:

  • How to manage the physical abilities of an older workforce,

  • How employees cope with geographical distance for handling caring issues,

  • Employers don’t always know their own workforce demographics,

  • Lack of caring networks and support in the workplace,

  • Employee engagement - being more open about the issues employees face and support given to help them take ownership.

This was a really useful opportunity to look at the ageing workforce issues and enabled open discussions with other organisations.

- Dalehead Foods delegate
Chris went on to facilitate discussions in small groups.  He asked participants to identify which groups of employees had an impact on their own organisations, and to share ideas and prioritise the challenges being faced. The groups were asked to identify potential solutions, giving them food for thought on their return to the workplace.

Zoe Cross, Health Improvement Advisor for Workplaces from Cambridge County Council then gave a presentation about what support and training through ’WorkHealthy Cambridgeshire’,which included the free offer of both workplace champion and mental wellbeing training, which are available to employers to help them manage and maintain a healthy workforce.