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The Age Management in Practice (AMaP) project is a collaborative partnership involving organisations from Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.  AMaP aims to address the challenge around access to, and participation in, Continuing Vocational Education and Training (CVET) among older workers aged 50+, and to increase awareness of the European Qualification Framework (EQF).  The project also considers the challenge of an ageing workforce through the lens of employers, seeking current views and attitudes towards older workers and promotes the implementation of age management practices.

Over the next 2 years, the project will be working towards a number of set objectives aligned with improving knowledge and access to CVET for older adults and in partnership with key stakeholders, influencing organisations on the issues surrounding an ageing workforce.

The AMaP project, Agreement no. 518590-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-LEONARDO-LNW has been funded with the support of the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Union.

The Challenge

“The impact of demographic changes within the EU is likely to be of major significance in the decades ahead. Consistently low birth rates and higher life expectancy at birth mark the transition to a much older population, already apparent in several regions.” (Eurostat Regional Yearbook, 2011).

One of Europe’s greatest challenges is its ageing population.  With many EU countries implementing policies and reforms that encourage older adults to work longer in later life, the employment rate of older adults aged 50+ is expected to increase significantly over the next decade.  Innovative programmes and interventions are required to support older adults update their skills and knowledge and help them to re-engage with learning to enhance their employability.

Guidance and support is also required for employers in implementing policies and procedures that are inclusive of older workers and allow meaningful economic contribution in later life. 

The challenge faced is in two parts:

  • While Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Continuing Vocational Education and Training (CVET) are now familiar terms for many individuals, they are less likely to be recognised by older adults.  Across Europe, participation of employees in non-formal education is around 32% for individuals aged 45-54 and around 20% for individuals aged 55-64.  However, when examining participation rates of the same age categories in formal education and training, the rate drops significantly to just under 4% for individuals aged 45-54 and to 2% of employees aged 55-64 (Eurostat/EUROPOP, 2012).  These figures highlight the scale of the challenge faced in increasing participation rates, knowledge and awareness of CVET among older workers.

 

  • Many organisations, particularly in a time of economic recession, adopt strategies which adversely affect older workers, for example, through early retirement/redundancy programmes.  The true value of the older worker, the tacit knowledge and hidden skills that exist can often be lost to the labour market.  Older adults who exit the labour market at 50+ are less likely to re-enter employment than their younger counterparts.  To ensure growth and economic prosperity in the future, employer attitudes and views of older workers should be examined and assistance provided to help companies understand the wider implications of an ageing workforce.  A key business solution to support organisations is effective age management practices and provision of effective lifelong guidance for staff (Cedefop, 2010). 

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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