should be made to acknowledge and accredit the competence of older workers
in workplaces in a balanced way with their developmental needs, not least
because of the attitudinal approach it underlines. Feeling of insecurity
and defensiveness on the part of employees in their late career appears
understandable in a generally discouraging cultural environment in workplaces
as well as in society. Therefore, it is important to focus on launching
more positive and encouraging attitudes in these efforts. One step already
taken in this direction in many parts of Europe is acknowledging the value
of experience-based competence and informal learning in workplaces.
initiatives should be developed which create and strengthen learning
opportunities and support for older workers and real lifelong learning.
In many European countries major changes in adult education have taken
place, as well as lifelong learning has been the guiding principle in developing
educational policies. However, the situation of older workers rarely explicitly
addressed in this context, although the obsolete and lacking competence
of this part of workforce is frequently referred to. More focus on and
support to participation should be addressed both in the level of basic
education and continuous vocational training to improve their learning
environment and to strengthen their ability to update themselves. ICT is
a central area to be addressed in these initiatives. There is a clear correlation
between high level of initial education and participation in training during
late professional career. Therefore it is important that national and European
educational policies towards the practice of lifelong learning support
provisions for upgrading these basic skills.
following qualities should be included in the design of HRD programs
involving older workers:
attention to the levels of basic skills;
improvements in the working conditions within the work environment which
contribute to a learning environment;
a system of needs-analysis and competence development planning, which addresses
the individual differences among older workers;
a system of individual and organisational competence analysis and its documentation,
which acknowledges strengths as developmental starting points;
development of new career trajectories that may support flexible expertise
and learning to learn among the workforce.
national initiatives are needed to reverse a general lowering of retirement
age since it defines the horizon for personal investments in training and
re-socialisation in the work place (Tikkanen
et al. 2001, pp. 115; 114; 105).