To many the longevity of Ken Smith, still working at a builders merchants at the age of 94 will be an inspiration.
His words are stark: “What’s retirement? Retirement is death.” The slogan could come from a government missive to accompany their plans to raise the retirement age to 68.
But we should not forget that Mr Smith’s case is somewhat unusual. He’s been blessed with good health, and as chairman of the family company, if he wants to stay on then he can. There is also the fact that many companies seem to try and shuffle the grey hairs out of the door at the first opportunity, sacrificing experience and efficiency on the altar of perceived dynamism.
Now we have the worrying new jobless figures released this week showing that a quarter of under 24s in the West Midlands are unemployed.
There is a grave risk of creating a lost generation who know nothing of full time employment.
The Ken Smiths of the future aren’t worried about working into their nineties – they’re worried about working at all.