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70% of employers aware of code on ageism


News that seven out of ten employers have already heard of the Government’s Code of Practice on Age Diversity, which was launched only two months ago, was welcomed by Employment Minister Andrew Smith today.

"To achieve 70 per cent recognition from employers in 12 weeks between the launch of the Code and the survey being conducted is good going.
"I am impressed with the progress achieved since the launch of the Code. Already over 34,000 copies of the Code have been issued, this includes 13,000 copies sent out to meet the constant flow of requests from employers.
"Moreover, just look at the articles on the role of older workers which have appeared recently in newspapers read by employers, along with extensive TV and radio coverage.
"In the Guardian of 21 August, Patrick Grattan, the chief executive of Third Age Employment Network underlined exactly the points made in the Government's Code on Age Diversity in the workplace, namely:

* the stereotypes about older employers are rubbish - they thrive on new opportunities as opposed to being unwilling to change;
* age prejudice is not rational and is based on stereotypes that take a lot of budging;
* an age diverse workforce is beneficial to employers.

"In the Financial Times of August 25, an in-depth article looked as the advisibility of increasing the European retirement age and highlighted the Government's Code and intention to encourage companies to recruit older workers. On the same day the Guardian again highlighted the Code and quoted myself as saying that age discrimination is wasting the talents of a large part of the population.

"Educating all employers on how to implement non-ageist employment practices will take some time. That is why the true impact of the Code will be evaluated over the coming year, and we shall publish the findings in early 2001.
"I have written directly to over 5000 businesses, as well as the top 100 companies in the country, calling on them to adopt non-ageist standards of employment set out in the Code. Copies are also being distributed through employer networks, such as chambers of commerce, Training and Enterprise Councils, local authorities and trade organisations, including large and small businesses.
"The Government is committed to promoting the Code vigorously. The £70,000 allocated for the launch of the Code represents only a small part of our budget for the sustained promotion of the Code. For example, over the next three months half page advertisements will be appearing in eight trade and professional journals. I shall be announcing full details of the next phase of the Code’s promotion later in the autumn.

"Praise for the Code and its principles has come from organisations large and small across the country. For example:

* Dane Garrod of CAB International, a world-wide organisation involved with scientific information, publications and research, said: "The Code will re-focus on our present pro-active guideline to be written and promulgated accordingly.";
* the Chamber of Shipping has circulated details of the Code to all its member companies, stating that the Code is of great benefit to its members and it will stimulate debate in recruitment policies."


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