‘I should be able to work at 77 – but don’t make me deliver takeaways’

David Diprose, 77, feels “insulted” by the assumption over-50s should consider delivering takeaways as a viable employment option.

David, who retired as an officer in the airforce in 2007, started looking for a job at the age of 65 to keep himself occupied. However, he believes he was only being invited to interviews to fulfil age quotas.

After spending five years in Crickhowell, Wales, helping to look after his grandchildren, David decided to reenter the workforce as his grandchildren grew older.

Despite applying for 50 to 60 middle management roles with salaries ranging from £30k to £50k, he struggled to secure a position. David firmly believes he is capable and qualified for these roles.

Currently, David has found temporary work through the government’s national tutoring programme scheme (NTP) and is a registered private maths tutor. However, he currently has no students.

The work and pensions secretary, Mel Stride, recently suggested over-50s should consider delivering takeaways as part of the Government’s efforts to boost employment rates.

David finds these comments “insulting” and believes a change in attitude is necessary for employers to fill their positions.

He said: “The assumption is old people, they’re no good – and should ride a bicycle. It is silly to assume that those over a certain age have no skills other than riding a bicycle.

“It’s insulting. I spent a large part of my life between the ages of 60 and 70 providing childcare for my grandchildren. They have reached an age when they no longer need that.

“Being mentally active, I considered looking for work. After the age of about 55 I found that I was getting to interview only to satisfy ‘age quotas’. The final straw was when I discovered that recruiters were not even bothering to read my CV. It’s frustrating – this sitting on the side-lines.”

“I’d like to see the government promoting the idea the people of my age have skills that can be employed – rather than saying you can ride a bike.”

Despite facing numerous rejections, David has a mathematics degree through the Open University while serving as an officer in the air force. After leaving the air force, he taught at a school before moving to Wales and later to Oxon to care for his grandchildren.

At the age of 65, David began actively searching for jobs again but encountered difficulties in the application process. Recruiters often overlooked his CV and did not take him seriously during interviews.

David said: “If you’re a man and you’re not working, you’re seen as a slacker. You are asked to state your age. I put down 77 and the drawbridge folds in front of you.” He also notes many recruitment processes are conducted through agencies that refuse to consider him once they learn of his age.

Despite his wealth of experience and willingness to undergo any required tests, David feels he is not taken seriously during interviews. He said: “I was told in one interview I wasn’t a team player on the feedback – but I have 25 years experiences in the air force. They hadn’t looked at my CV and seen that.”

After years of unsuccessful job applications, David has turned to volunteering at schools, teaching maths. He now works as a tutor but feels “side-lined” and believes individuals in his age bracket are not given enough consideration for jobs they are more than capable of handling.

David argues companies are missing out on valuable skills by overlooking older candidates.

He finds the comments made by the work and pensions secretary “ignorant” and “insulting.”

He said: “There are a number of people over 60 who are physically and mentally active. They keep saying about the cost of pensions.

“If I was in work I wouldn’t have to be claiming my pension. I’m reading so much about jobs that can’t be filled. If there was more encouragement perhaps jobs could be filled by people that are not considered at the moment.”

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