Sunday, August 12, 2007

United Kingdom: TUC Debates Accessibility to Training for Older Workers

In a web-based debate, TUC assistant general secretary Kay Carberry told her audience that "We need to look at the upper age limit for funding apprenticeships, because most apprenticeship funding at the moment is largely limited to people under 25." Instead of taking the "mistaken" view that once you’ve been around for a few decades that’s it, Carberry said that the priorities were to scrutinise everything that happens in the workplace to make sure that it ‘s free of age discrimination and to train older workers--give them more opportunities than they’ve got now.

Carberry was participating in a live tele-cast debate sponsored by Equal-works on the topic of "The value of experience: older workers, their importance and their rights".
Some employers felt it wasn’t worth investing in training older workers because they weren’t going to be around that long. This was a misconception, she said. It was also wrong to think "that older workers aren’t going to be susceptible to learning new skills because they ‘re getting a bit doddery and they’re getting a bit slow.

"I think there are a lot of people who have worked in one particular field, who get into their late 50’ s early 60’s, don’t want to carry on doing that particular kind of work but would welcome the opportunity to do something a little bit different and quite often they don’t get that opportunity maybe with the same employer, maybe voluntary work.

"What the unions are concerned about is that older workers or workers in other age ranges are not viewed as an undifferentiated lump. We would like to see public policy more finely attuned to individuals needs."
Source: Further Education News "TUC Asst Gen Sec: End discrimination against older workers and open up training to them" (August 11, 2007)

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