I spent this weekend reading the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North’s report on Extending Working Lives in preparation for the “End of Retirement”Conference on Wednesday 10 May at Castlegate in Newcastle. I shall be giving the perspective of the construction industry on the panel response to the report alongside other leading business and academic figures from the Northern regions.
The ageing of the population is a potential economic timebomb ticking away under the current financing model, and whilst the auto-enrolment pension legislation is a start towards dealing with the funding of pensions, the quality of life and health needs to be addressed, particularly in the manual occupations such as construction. The CITB report back in 2010 examining the numbers of skilled occupations which would be lost due to retirement was one of the factors affecting our decision to recruit 10% of our workforce every year as apprentices, but this conference will look at the other end of the working life and how we can offer the options to extend the working lives of those skilled workers.
I am looking forward to a lively discussion, looking back at what we have changed in respect of working methods and attitudes towards health and safety, with the knock on effects on improving and extending the ability of our tradesmen to continue working longer without succumbing to physical weaknesses and planning future strategies what more we can do to keep improving these, addressing the issues of attitudes and examining those drivers of choice which keep the population working beyond what was the norm less than a decade ago.