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Lifelong Learning and older workers BUILDING A EUROPEAN VET AREA agora THESSALONIKI XXVI 26.-27.4.2007 PhD Tarja Tikkanen International Research Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Lifelong Learning and older workers BUILDING A EUROPEAN VET AREA agora THESSALONIKI XXVI 26.-27.4.2007 PhD Tarja Tikkanen International Research Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lifelong Learning and older workers BUILDING A EUROPEAN VET AREA agora THESSALONIKI XXVI PhD Tarja Tikkanen International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS)

2 The problem is not new. Why is it so hard to transform the knowledge into actions?

3 “Stearns (1977), in his study of industrialization between , reported that older workers were being threatened by the obsolescence of their skills and by work speed-up… …British metal workers claimed that the latter caused premature ageing, …and found that many of their employers judged them ‘too old at forty’.” - Parker (1987, p. 79)

4 Participation in adult education (25-64 yrs) Source: Eurostat, Europe in figures, Lifelong learning (excluding self-learning) in 2000 and 2005 and the 5-year change. (%) Country ChangeCountry Change Sweden Germany UK Lithuania Denmark Italy Iceland Estonia Finland Czech Republic n.a.5.9 Norway Malta Slovenian.a.17.8Cyprus Netherlands Polandn.a.5.0 Austria Slovakian.a.5.0 Spain Portugal Belgium Hungary Luxembourg Greece (* Irelandn.a.8.0 France EU Latvian.a.7.6Euro area (* For Greece figure taken from Europe in figures 2005, reporting years 1999 and 2004.

5 Older workers (45+) and LLL Older workers’ participation in education and training. Trends (%) years EU EU NMS years EU EU NMS Source: European Commission, Indicators for monitoring the Employment Guidelines.

6 Lifelong learning by level of education Source: European Commission, Indicators for monitoring the Employment Guidelines. Participation trends in lifelong learning (25-64 years) by educational level (%) Change %-units Low education EU EU NMS Medium education EU EU NMS High education EU EU NMS

7 Older workers – a marginal issue?

8 Older workers as learners: years or half of a career! Enter working life 20+ yrs ”Older worker” 45+ yrs Exit working life 60+/65+ yrs Lifelong learning Adult learning and education Work-related learning (VET, CVET, informal workplace learning) Life-course ”Older workers and lifelong learning” Working life, career Private enterprises, public organisations - labour market

9 Hey, cheer up! Something is already happening…

10 Formal and informal learning Proportion of respondents having learned something in the preceding year, by learning context and age groups, 2002 (Descy, 2006) Source: Eurobarometer LLL, Cedefop 2004, p.46

11 Education Data: Adult Education Surveys 1990 & 2000, Statistics Finland (Tikkanen & Paloniemi, 2005) The 1990s made a difference! A comparision of participation in adult education among older workers in Finland in 1990 and 2000.

12 Recommendations (1/2) Policy makers and social partners – A new mindset on working, learning and ageing! Include older workers themselves in the dialogue & planning - in the context of workplace and in training institutions (does it help in policy making? Limits of representative democracy?) Creating partnerships for learning. The dialogue between training institutions and employers should be further enhanced. - Workplaces also as sites for more theoretical learning (incl. ICT) VET/CVET: Inclusive workplaces & need for inclusive settings for learning. Meet the experiential world of older learners!

13 Recommendations (2/2) Develop systematic evaluation of the measures developed to address the issues of learning and competence of older workers in workplaces. Dissemination of ‘best-practice’ should place more focus on critical self-reflection and on how to truly reach wider audiences, in particular workplaces. Research needed, which builds on interdisciplinary frameworks and applies multiple methodologies. Expand surveys targeted to working life and learning activities to cover wider age-span. Practices for reporting survey findings on LLL for older age groups should be improved and homogenised.

14 What do we know of LLL among older workers? 1.Decline by age - older workers participate less than their younger counterparts. 2.Older workers have an average lower education (qualifications). 3.Participation in LLL accumulates – and so do disadvantages (the ’haves’ and ’have-nots’). 4.Formal participation patterns are quite similar among younger and older people. 5.Older workers prefer learning in informal and non-formal settings. 6.Provision of formal LLL tends to reflect the world of youth and higher education (e.g. language, methods, culture). 7.Large differences in participation rates across European countries. The success of LLL is by and large depending on its success in including older workers in the world of learning!

15 Strengths in older workers’ competence. Employers’ views A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) targeted to nearly 400 HR-professionals A study by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) and the McDonald’s Corporation o 77% agreed that older workers have a higher level of commitment to the organization than younger workers (only 5% disagreed) o 68% concluded training older workers costs less or the same as training their younger counterparts (6% disagreed) o 57% reported that age does not affect the amount of time required to train an employee (14% disagreed) o 49% determined that older workers grasped new concepts as well as younger workers (18% disagreed) SHRM, 1998 – quoted in McIntosh, 2001 Despite myths circulated when companies were trying to justify trimming older adults from their payrolls, employers affirmed that, in general, older workers: o had low turnover rates o were flexible and open to change o possessed up-to-date skills o were interested in learning new tasks o did not experience transportation problems o were willing to take on challenging tasks o had low absentee rates o had few on-the-job accidents Source: “Additional Resources,” 1998 – quoted in McIntosh, 2001


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