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Title WORKTOW
Changing working life and training of older workers
Aspect
Concept Trends Findings Practice Challenge
Synopsis From the point of view of ageing of the workforce, the overall trend in the ideology of lifelong learning has been to give added weight to later professional career and measures to support it as well as to address and acknowledge experience-based competence gained in workplaces. The following examples are highlighted:

Employee Development Schemes (EDS) in the UK reflect both an optimistic educational philosophy and a business interest in upgrading the workforce. One of the central focus areas is the developmental needs of the individual workers and matching them with those of the companies. One partner in the UK applied these EDS as interventions targeted to older employees in the WORKTOW companies. The results showed that these interventions can be useful also for the older workers and support their professional and personal development. 

In Finland three national programmes have been launched to address the problematic in working life. The National Age Programme has focused exclusively on older workers (45+) with a strong emphasis on initiatives supporting development practice in lifelong learning. The programme have been successful in making the older workers more visible and efforts (e.g. massive media campaign) have been made to influence attitudes towards the older workers. The National Working Life Development Programme has addressed the issue of and problems in working life more generally, with a range of interventions initiated for that purpose. The learning interventions developed in WORKTOW have thus been very much in line with the ideology and goals in these two national programmes. The third national programme launched at the end of WORKTOW project focused on well being (socio-psychological and physical) in workplaces. This programme extended the traditionally dominated orientation to occupational health by incorporating aspects in occupational competence as well as management and organisation of the workplace, into the broad picture of well being. 

The Competence Reform in Norway, which was launched at the end of the WORKTOW project, supports tripartite projects in working life, and in some cases the issue of late professional career has been addressed. A concerted national effort to reverse the lowering retirement age has been launched and is presently gaining some momentum. WORKTOW interventions developed, applied or evaluated in the Norwegian companies were also very much in line with the goal setting in the Competence Reform (Tikkanen et al. 2001, p. 111).

Reference The case studies carried out by the project provide rich practice on learning interventions related to older workers  (Tikkanen et al. 2001, pp. 50-98). 
See also project info on WORKTOW.
Descriptors D-CVT  D-LO  D-WBL        
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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO