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Bank sees error of oldies' ways

Further education's increasingly grey-haired workforce will take little comfort from a survey of age-discrimination in the workplace. Potential employees are often considered too young at 35 and over the hill at 40, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

In the report, Barclays Bank's "inclusion" charter was mentioned by the CIPD as an example of good practice on age equality. Apparently, the bank noticed it was tending to lose employees aged over 50 to early retirement when it had to make cuts, but now realises such people should be more highly-valued for their experience.

Charlotte Sweeney, the "diversity manager" at Barclays, said: "We have a history, as do most financial organisations, that when we were downsizing or restructuring, our early retirement packages were so attractive it made sense for people over 50 to leave.

"And then we really felt the loss of corporate knowledge and experience."

Many of the 5O-plus employees in colleges would agree that their age group should be more highly-valued.

But FErret suspects many would not mind retiring early with a juicy pension pay-off after a life in the sector, rather than being rewarded for their talents by being kept on while younger colleagues are made redundant.

FErret waits to see whether colleges will follow Barclays' example.

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