Age and experience has its place in occupations often thought to be realms of the young and enthusiastic

Some jobs are stereotypically young people's roles. Millennials and Gen Ys dream of doing jobs such as modelling, digital marketing, working at gyms, animation and other young hip professions.

There's always an exception, such as designer Trelise Cooper's sunglass models who are in their 60s and 70s.

Likewise, who says digital marketers have to be younger people. The Marketing Association dismissed the idea that younger people worked in these roles. It didn't take much digging, however, to uncover Comvita's digital manager Jael King, who has about 20 years on many of the young things in her profession.

When King did her digital marketing certificate course in 2014 there were a mixture of ages, including established marketing professionals who wanted to keep themselves current, King says g.


Assuming because of her age that King isn't a "digital native" like others in the profession would be wrong. As an 11-year-old in the early 1980s King was given a Sinclair ZX81 computer by her father, which made her a super early adopter of technology.

"I don't feel any older or less capable because I am 46 not 26," she says. "If you have the right sort of brain and attitude you can do anything."

Not everyone consuming that digital marketing is in their 20s nor likes the casual language often used. Some customers' heckles go up at "shout out" and "reach out".

King's employer encouraged her interest in digital marketing.

"Comvita is fantastic at allowing people to grow into their skills," she says.

King's digital marketing team at Comvita is made up of a mixture of ages, and she says the combination of experience and attitudes strengthens the overall offering. King says that her decades of marketing experience lets her bring a thoroughness.

"Some youth in social media are thinking about themselves as a brand, whereas I always think of the company first. It's an attitudinal thing," she says.

Sound engineering is another job that attracts younger people. Trawl sound engineers on LinkedIn and it takes quite a while to find one with a few grey hairs.

In part, says Neil Newcombe who has been in the game for 47 years, that's because the the young ones cost less. In return, however, says Newcombe, they have enthusiasm.

Newcombe, who is 66 and now self-employed through his company Suite 16 after many years at TVNZ, is more than 30 to 40 years older than many in his game. He hasn't, however, struck any overt ageism.

It's a job that on one hand has changed immensely, but on the other is exactly the same as it always was. The technology has been supercharged since Newcombe started in the job in the early 1970s. But, as he points out, the nature of sound hasn't changed.

"The tools are more and more sophisticated," he says. The reality is that the job has become easier as a result. "But we still have to have the job skills."

At 73 years old, Clem Edmunds still has to prove he can jump fences, drag "bodies" and run every two years to pass his two-yearly physical competency test (PCT) for the police. After 47 years on the beat the Christchurch-based sergeant is believed to be New Zealand's oldest full-time policeman.

He still works on the front line and has to chase absconding criminals. Edmunds finds, however, that experience means he is much better at handling difficult situations than a young officer would be and no longer has to jump many fences in his day-to-day role.

In the early days he would have been terse with some of the younger offenders, but can now verbally diffuse the situation. "In a sense I have been a lot more thoughtful." Edmunds hopes to make it to his 76th birthday before retiring.

"Norm" doesn't tend to be a young fella's name and that's good because plenty of Norm Phillips' clients at Les Mills wouldn't want a 20-something young fella with abs telling them what to do.

"The fitness industry is very image conscious," says Phillips. "That can be a good thing or a bad thing."

Phillips, 57, says gyms are seeing a big shift in the demographic of clients.

"We have the baby boomers that now have more disposable income and more time and are reinvesting back into their own health."

These older clients often prefer to have a mature trainer, Phillips says.

"At my age I can empathise," he says. "It is an emotional intelligence or maturity thing and these young guys or girls may not have it."

Clients issues may be around mobility, flexibility and stability and they don't need bulging biceps and burpee jumps. They just want to be able to do their 30-minutes' exercise three times a week and have confidence they can go for a workout without falling over."