Tuesday, March 10, 2009

United Kingdom: Study Finds Lack of Training and Learning Opportunities for Older Workers

The University of Leicester's Centre for Labour Market Studies has released a study with a stark warning about the lack of training and learning opportunities for older workers. The report--"Older Workers – Older Learners"--prepared for the Learning and Skills Council East Midlands shows "show the lack of preparedness that the region and society as a whole have towards the ageing of our workforce and of society more generally. Yet the ageing workforce is one of the more valuable assets a business can have."

According to Dr. Vanessa Beck, who led the project, while it was disappointing to find the lack of preparedness and the extent to which learning and training opportunities were taken up, "it was surprising to see that on an individual and organisational level, there are a whole host of practices in place that can benefit older workers as well as the organisations that employ them."
Practices and policies already in place that could, in some form, benefit older workers include flexible working; Apprenticeships enabling them to move into different areas of work; structured learning and training supported by the Train to Gain service, Skills Pledge, Skills Accounts, and Foundation Degrees accrediting expertise older learners already have; reward systems; and positive age awareness management.

Older workers are valued for their experience and expertise, knowledge which can be passed on to younger colleagues either formally through apprenticeship assessment or informally as mentors in the workplace.
Source: University of Leicester Press Release (March 10, 2009)

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