October 27, 2021 10.40 am

Lincolnshire veteran-turned-carer campaigns against job discrimination

Calling out discrimination in the hiring process

A Lincolnshire RAF veteran who switched careers to work as a carer is campaigning against ableism and ageism in the UK job market.

Les Venus is calling for people who feel discriminated against due to their disability or age to seriously consider a job in the care sector to avoid systematic prejudices embedded within the UK job market.

The 63-year-old is now working at Home From Home Care’s Lincolnshire-based residential care homes as a personal support worker . He was on the brink of retiring in 2016 before seeing an online advert for Home From Home Care which changed his life.

He empowers adults with learning difficulties, autism and complex physical and mental health needs, and is encouraging others to join him in the care sector to do the same.

He said: “If you’re feeling underpaid, undervalued, or undermined – come to the care sector and there is a place for you. I’d never done care work in my life before this and if I’d have known about this 40 years ago, I’d have made this my career. It’s an amazing thing to do.”

Les is campaigning against ableism and ageism in the UK job market.

Les was previously an officer in the Royal Air Force for 17 years. He then movied to the business world to become a director for the property firm Henry Boot Management, and then engineering company Babcock International.

As a consultant, Les later helped the government draft its 2010 Equality Act, legislation which makes it illegal to discriminate against prospective employees on the basis of age, disability, gender or sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or partnership status.

However, Les still feels that not enough is being done to safeguard against off-the-record bigotry during the hiring process.

He said: “I think the Equality Act is a very good piece of paper, but that’s pretty much all it is. I think people pay lip service to it, not only in terms of ageism but also disability and sexism, racism and everything else.

“I think people can have the interview and make their own judgements and they’ll write down what those judgements are, but it is in many cases underpinned by an unspoken personal prejudice – and that’s not recorded, of course.

“You’ll often hear that the individual didn’t meet the mark or didn’t have the experience or didn’t have this or that… when the fact that they were 63 years old and seen as ‘past their sell-by date’ was the real reason for the rejection.”

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