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November 21 2023

National Older Workers Week: Embracing the Wisdom of Experience

National Older Workers Week offers us a prime opportunity to spotlight the vibrant contributions of mature professionals in our midst. Kay Flannery's story is a perfect illustration of the rich diversity and dynamism older workers add to the professional landscape. With a career that has come full circle, Kay began as a Geography teacher, a role she stepped into fresh out of university. Despite the noble calling, it wasn't a perfect fit, and life’s circumstances led her to explore various paths including an invigorating stint as a postwoman which she thoroughly enjoyed for its outdoor vibrancy and community engagement.

The pivot in her journey came serendipitously when a colleague's curiosity about the English language nudged her towards her latent passion for teaching languages. Leveraging her expertise, Kay transitioned into teaching English as a second language, a move that would see her engage with students from around the globe. Her approach was unorthodox yet profoundly effective; she embraced the Living Learning English programme, inviting students into her home, fostering learning through immersion in daily activities, be it cooking or conversing.

The flexibility and personalisation of Kay’s teaching method reflect a deep understanding of the varied learning needs of her international students. Whether they stay for a few days or several weeks, Kay ensures that each student's experience is tailored to their interests, ranging from music lyrics to cooking, thus enriching their language skills in a context that is both enjoyable and practical.

As Kay's story shows, age has not dulled her enthusiasm nor her capacity to innovate in her teaching methods. At 67, she remains as engaged and insightful as ever, highlighting how older workers are not only contributors but also avid learners from the younger generation they mentor. National Older Workers Week is, therefore, not just a celebration but an affirmation of the invaluable role older professionals play in our workforce, reminding us that a career can be as dynamic and evolving as we are, at any age.

To read Kay's story in detail, visit Working Wise here: https://www.workingwise.co.uk/working-lives-kay-flannery/

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