From education to employment

Unions and AoC establish guidelines and model policy

The Association of Colleges has reached agreement with the University and College Union (UCU) and other FE unions on guidance for age equality in employment in FE.

New age discrimination legislation, which comes into affect on 1 October, makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their age. The new agreement aims to eliminate age discrimination within colleges and offers a model policy for colleges to consider.

Roger Kline, head of equality and employment rights at UCU said: “This provides a good framework for both employers and unions to consider in local negotiations. I hope that employers will focus attention on meeting the legal requirements swiftly”.

“However, the guidance is primarily a commitment to implementing minimum requirements and I hope that individual employers will adopt interpretations which go beyond this to enhance opportunities for employees rather than restrict them. In particular, where employees wish to continue working on a full-time or part-time basis beyond their normal retirement age we expect employers to give serious consideration to this and not a blanket refusal”.

Some of the guidelines include ensuring that the recruitment and selection process does not make any reference to age. Job descriptions should be drafted to make certain they are age neutral and young workers should be recognised for their skills and potential as well as experience.

“There is an ageing workforce in FE colleges which could soon create a serious staffing problem. Adopting flexible arrangements for the working options of older staff is just one area that can be explored to address this”, Mr Kline continued.

“Teaching is a stressful job and many staff will want to retire as early as possible, but the important principle is choice”.

Irene Watt.

Related Articles