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Only one in ten council staff under 30

BIG EMPLOYER…Now town hall is aiming to tackle worker age profile.

STARTLING new figures reveal that only ten per cent of council staff here are under 30 while the over 50s make up 40 per cent of the workforce at what is one of Fermanagh’s biggest employers. Revealing the shocking figures, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council says it is now taking steps to recruit more younger employees into its workforce.
The move comes after new data revealed that council workers over 50 are now over-represented in local public sector. The local authority is set to spend nearly £250,000 over the next three years to increase the number of employees under the age of 30.
Recent statistics show that 40 percent of the council’s workforce are over the age of 50, with just ten percent aged under 30. The council will now introduce a graduate programme to be implemented over the next three years to address this age imbalance. Five apprenticeships will be created within this programme during the first year from this September with another five positions in addition. Year two of the project will see four new graduate placements being offered from August 2019 and a further second phase of five apprenticeships costing a total of £62,725. In the third year of the scheme, the council intends to complete the four initial graduate and apprenticeship placements, and continue the second phase of apprenticeships.
Director of corporate services and governance, Celine McCartan, said the council is currently employing three people on a pilot graduate programme. She says that the move is designed to further enhance the opportunities offered to young people and help attract more of them into the workforce there.
“It is proposed to offer an apprenticeship programme which, if approved, would commence in September 2018.  A combined budget of £91,000 has been allocated in the 2018/2019 estimates for both programmes and it is proposed to initially offer five opportunities on both (graduate and apprenticeship)programmes,” she added.
UUP Cllr Alex Baird says this will future-proof the council’s workforce by offering graduates the chance to remain in a career locally which offers many promotional opportunities.“When staff get into local government, they tend to come in at a young age and remain there and progress their career through it by promotions. That has a knock-on effect as it results in the increase in age profile.
“With 40% of the council’s workforce over 50, in another ten years those people will be gone. If this move helps retain young talent within the county who would otherwise leave then it has to be welcomed.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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