Christopher Harry’s career so far has taken him across the world as a computer engineer and he ran his own business, a local pub, for many years.
However, he admits that now at 62, he experiences age discrimination first hand. He describes the application process for many jobs as ‘gruelling’ and after getting through it all, he finds he doesn’t hear back as “people don’t want to work with older people”.
After losing enthusiasm for the jobs process, Christopher sought out other avenues for progression. His engineering background soon extended into an interest in historical engineering, after discovering the rich history of his local area.
His town of Neath has what he calls a “strong industrial legacy”, which he wishes he had learnt more about in school. During a tour of Neath Abbey, he became aware of the nearby Ironworks, and a passion for the heritage site began.
With encouragement from PRIME Cymru Development Officer, Debbie Price, Christopher became a regular volunteer at the Ironworks, helping to restore the area before its open day this month.
He has found that volunteering has been a great networking opportunity, allowing him to speak to like-minded individuals.
Christopher said: “As a job seeker you can feel cut off and don’t always have someone to interact with who’s going through the same thing. Volunteering gives you the ability to talk to people who have jobs and work in all different industries.
“There’s also no pressure on you to always be there, you can work on your own timescale.”
Christopher’s time at the Ironworks has ignited an interest in the traditional methods of iron and steel making, whilst also looking forward to new technologies whereby zero carbon steel is produced. This has opened up the possibility of career options within a cutting edge industry and he approaches the future with a new confidence thanks to his time volunteering.