We celebrate National Older Workers Week
21st November 2022

As proud sponsors of the National Older Workers Week campaign, we asked some of our colleagues to share their career stories, advice and thoughts on age diversity in the workplace.

Steve Birnie
Director of Standards and Quality Assurance, & Deputy Chairperson for LGBTQIA+ Staff Support Network

Steve joined NHS Professionals back in 2005 shortly after moving to the UK from Australia, and over the last 17 years, he has watched the organisation grow and develop.
“When I joined NHS Professionals, we would collect and process paper timesheets – what a development it was when the Trust could fax us their staffing requirements! Now, when I hear the business talk about transformation, I smile knowingly as I recall how much change we have already made to the business world, and what a better place we work in because of it.’

On the topic of age diversity, Steve said “Age diversity is not a new or overlooked concept at NHS Professionals. As part of the NHS Family, we often see individuals switching careers later in life and joining NHS Professionals with the passionate desire to give back to society.”
“Those over 50 have no more or no less to offer than the younger generations. But what we do offer is a different perspective and lived experience, to the same challenges. We can thrive through multigenerational collaboration.”

Alison Dunne
Nurse Lead Clinical Governance
Alison qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1985 and spent 15 years working within Accident and Emergency. In 2000, she joined NHS Direct, and over the next 9 years worked her way up the ladder into the role of Team Leader, before embarking on the next stage of her career...
“In October 2009, I joined NHS Professionals as a Bank Member in the Occupational Health Department and I soon knew this was the place to be.”
During her time with us, Alison progressed first to Office Manager in 2010, and then to Occupational Health Service Manager in 2013 – a role she enjoyed until her retirement in 2018.

In 2021, we launched our National Vaccination programme and reached out to Alison to see if she would like to return. When recalling this moment, Alison said ‘there was no need to think twice. I accepted and here I am today. NHS Professionals is the best placed I have ever worked!’
Alison now works part-time as a member of our Clinical Governance team, giving her the time to spend with family and enjoy her favourite pastime - gardening. On the topic of age diversity, Alison said “Within the workplace age and experience count for so much and it is wonderful to share this with younger generations joining the workforce. There is so much still to learn to enhance your work experience - never be afraid to ask, learn and, of course, teach.

Steve Nicholls
Clinical Lead for Risk and Improvement
Steve began his career in Finance, working as an auditor for Blackpool & Fylde Hospitals before moving into VAT Liaison and VAT Advisor roles. In 2004 he trained to become a paramedic with the North West Ambulance Service – a career he enjoyed for 18 years.
“I worked on the ambulances, rapid response cars and a few shifts on the air ambulance before getting into training new clinical staff and becoming a project lead for the electronic patient record form. I’ve also been a pitch paramedic at Manchester United and other professional football clubs for over 16 years!”

After becoming a new dad earlier this year, Steve joined NHS Professionals’ Clinical Governance team looking for a role that offered a fresh challenge plus a good work/life balance. “I had come across NHS Professionals having worked at North West Ambulance Service. A new baby meant I wanted to reset what’s important in my life, especially in becoming an older parent.”
“The new role is very different to any previous careers I’ve had over the last 30 years, but being able to bring those previous experiences in so many ways will assist in delivering the high-quality service NHS Professionals is known for.”