If the best candidate is the youngest, give them the job

Good luck to Cheryl Lee in her new role (‘NHS trust puts faith in youth‘, Personnel Today, 23 October). If she was the best candidate, then she certainly shouldn’t have been denied the post on the grounds of her age.

What struck me most about your news story, however, was the number of human resources staff in the trust – a ratio of one for every 45 members of staff.

No wonder the NHS is in a financial mess. Most organisations can only afford a ratio that is more than double this.

The first thing Lee should do in her new role is get rid of half of her staff, and set up a proper strategic HR unit.

Andy Robinson, director of human and physical resources,
Stoke-on-Trent College

Age should be irrelevant when it comes to work

Does an HR director’s age really matter (Personnel Today, 23 October)?

For me, the simple answer to this question is ‘no’. I was appointed to my first HR director role in the NHS at 27, and was appointed to my current role at the age of 28. I am now rapidly approaching my 30th birthday, and this has been something I have reflected on over the past few months.

My age has never seemed to matter to the organisations I have worked for, but what has mattered are my skills, competencies and approach.

We don’t question whether race or religion matters, we don’t question whether gender matters, so why would age be an issue?

Surely the real question is whether the level of experience is enough to do the job. Age should not be the issue.

Congratulations to Cheryl Lee for having the courage to take on what I am sure will be a demanding, yet fulfilling role.

Jim Andrews, executive director of workforce and organisational development,
Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

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