When working at a theme park health and safety concerns are paramount and one must always be acutely aware of potential danger. The parks tend to employ a lot of young people who can become rather distracted and wrapped up in the fun of it all. Those in a supervisory or management position must try to keep things running smoothly and safely. Various managerial techniques are employed but my own preference is for using a pterodactyl! Continue reading
When I worked at a British theme park I was unusual amongst my colleagues because I was in my late 40’s. Most of my fellow workers were much younger and I often wondered if this was a good thing. Having visited Europa Park in Germany where the operation of the rides appears to run much more smoothly I was interested to note that many of the workers there were much older than those in the UK. Europa Park can attract mature workers so what is happening at parks in the UK and is it better to have an older workforce?
I think the main obstacle to attracting older workers to British parks is the seasonal nature of the employment. Mature people generally have financial responsibilities and need to work year round but with so many people either unemployed or retired there surely has to be a good number who would appreciate the job. I simply don’t think that the positions are marketed well to the older generations who may not have considered giving theme parks a try. Perhaps advertising the vacancies in a different way would result in more mature applicants.
I know that when I applied for a position at a park I did so wondering if I would fit in as I was aware that most of the workers were young. I went ahead anyway and I shouldn’t have worried because the youngsters accepted me immediately and it transpired that the other older employees at the park were amongst the most popular people there. Indeed probably the most celebrated and loved person in the workforce where I worked was one of the oldest.
Older people may feel that that they would not enjoy the environment at a theme park but they would almost certainly be wrong. It is great fun, highly social, you get to meet lots of people and the exercise is good too!
I guess the burning question would be are older people effective workers at theme parks? After all there can be a lot of new skills to learn and information to take in and some of the jobs are pretty active with it. Older people are thought to learn new skills more slowly than the young and to have memory issues. There are a lot of tests to pass to work on rides so were this true it could be a stumbling block. In truth there is nothing that complex to get to grips with and I am pleased to see that recent research in Germany has revealed that the older generations memories are not as impaired as previously thought. Indeed the research showed that mature workers they are often more effective employees in repetitive tasks as they are more motivated to do well and do not suffer from over confidence.
Older workers also bring life experience to the job often making them better at handling difficult situations and dealing with guests and in my experience they are better at simply being responsible. In an environment where health and safety is crucial this is very important.
The German research did support the notion that older people pick things up a little more slowly but I don’t think this really matters in the context of the parks. I certainly learnt how to operate a roller coaster much more quickly than I have been able to get to grips with skiing and horse riding in my recent attempts to learn new skills! Whilst I have frequently been on the point of throwing out my riding gear and disposing of my skis, I never struggled with thrill rides.
I think it would be better all-round if more mature people worked in theme parks. There would more responsible behaviour and the rides would be run with greater efficiency. The older generations have a lot of skills and knowledge which would be very valuable in a theme park environment and so it is a shame to see so few applying for the jobs.
Article by Sally Stacey
A theme park is obviously a fun environment with an upbeat atmosphere where you get to be part of a team and so some of the attractions of the job are obvious. There are other perks to be considered if you are considering applying for a job on the rides but several downsides too which should not be overlooked. Continue reading