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Bringing lifelong learning into the field of older workers Tarja Tikkanen IRIS AGORA: Promoting lifelong learning for older workers 12-13 October 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Bringing lifelong learning into the field of older workers Tarja Tikkanen IRIS AGORA: Promoting lifelong learning for older workers 12-13 October 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bringing lifelong learning into the field of older workers Tarja Tikkanen IRIS AGORA: Promoting lifelong learning for older workers 12-13 October 2006 CEDEFOP, Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Stearns (1977), in his study of industrialization between 1890-1919, 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)

3 Contents 1.Goal & focus 2.Towards active ageing through of lifelong learning: Development of the discussion 3.Older workers participation in lifelong learning 4.Workplaces and HRD promoting LLL for older workers 5.A summary and commentary on existing research 6.Recommendations

4 Goal to describe the situation and development of the discussion of lifelong learning of and for older (45+) workers to advance and expand discussion on the theme within VET/CVET and in regards working life

5 Focus 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

6 Contemporary issues In the margins of power – Voice of older workers? –regardless of their absolute and proportional numbers. A lot of work done on the theme older workers, but their voice is still not heard - Managers, experts and politicians are talking & acting Narrow view to knowledge in the knowledge society? –technological knowledge dominate, while at the same time more holistic views promoted Competence views – uncertainty, confusion, dilemmas –e.g. value of experience and on-the-job, informal learning, practical vs. theoretical knowledge The world of learning to combat obsolescence and lack of skills? –Education and training for older workers? – Training provision: contents and methods The role of job-organisations and management Trade unions role in regards their older members?

7 Towards active ageing through lifelong learning (LLL): Development of the discussion 1.Work good, retirement bad (until the 1980s) –Learning for alleviation of the retirement crisis 2.Early exit from labour (1980-1990) –Lifelong learning discussion: Not an issue, USA a forerunner 3.Exit from early retirement (the 1990s) –Lifelong learning – the rhetoric emerges, VET develops, professionalisat. –Adult education with a narrow concept of adulthood –Deficit-view to older workers, learning as an instrument 4.Towards active ageing and an ageless society (The new Millennium) - through lifelong learning –More organic, holistic concern for the workforce emerging? –Work-retirement transition blurring –Learning and Ageing as lifelong processes - What about working? –New mindsets called for thinking on working, learning and ageing

8 Older workers participation in lifelong learning 1.Participation rates decline by age, older workers participate less than their younger counterparts. 2.Older workers (particularly 55+) have still relatively low level of education in comparison with younger age groups. 3.Participation in lifelong learning accumulates, participation rates are higher among higher educated older workers. 4.Cumulative disadvantages – (3,4) Little difference in the participation patterns of older adults in formal education from younger cohorts. 5.Older people prefer learning in informal and non-formal settings over formal settings – Value of the outcomes?! 6.Old workers participation in learning activities varies widely across countries 7.In most countries the provision of formal learning opportunities still largely reflects the world of youth and higher education.

9 Distribution of participation in LLL by age groups, 2003, EU25 (Descy, 2006) Source: Labour force survey, Eurostat, Newcronos database [Cited: December 2004] LLL= any kind of education and training during the 4 weeks preceding the survey; data not available for age group 60-64.

10 1990 2000 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.

11 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

12 Workplaces and HRD promoting LLL for older workers 1.Discouragement in employment 2.Missing voice - From an object to a subject 3.Providing access to and opportunity for career development 4.A need for ageing-appropriate job design. 5.Change competences and flexibility 6.Confronting ageism in the workplace. (ex.) 7.Age-management. 8.Promoting diversity as a competitive edge. 9.Career guidance and the role of social partners

13 A summary and commentary on existing research We know little, research insufficient Narrow perspective, sociology and economics Focus on macro level, knowledge started to emerge on organsational level (cases + consultants, little documentation) Deficit-approach – a more comprehensive, balanced view emerging? Objectification, targets of research other than older workers themselves Narrow methdology, mainly surveys with age used as a background variable (Preferences in research financing!)

14 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!

15 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.

16 Perspectives to active ageing through lifelong learning of older workers Perspectives to lifelong learning Argument for older workers A means to keep older workers in working life until the statutory retirement age. LLL as a remedy to the negative consequences of the early exit policies of the 1980s. A means to fight age-discrimination in working life and the labour market. LLL to create an inclusive society - to enable and exemplify older workers full participation in working life and society. A necessity to keep ones job competence updated and renewed. LLL as a means for older workers to update and renew their job- competence and secure their employability. A means to ease the generational burden of overrepresentation of baby-boomers. LLL as way to actively contribute longer to society and economy (productivity) A manifestation of the post-modern lifestyle, culture and society LLL as reflecting an age-irrelevant society (Neugarten, 1982) or an ageless society (Manheimer, 2006), with active citizenship A means to fulfil ones potential in working life and beyond. LLL as a way to personal well-being and fulfilling life (humanistic perspective). A core dimension in what it means to be a human being[1].[1] Why not? Why would the needs for learning and knowing of older workers be any different from any other group of people? [1] [1] Homo sapiens is Latin for "wise man" or "knowing man". As a distinction to other species, humans have a highly developed brain capable of abstract reasoning, language and introspection.

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