Why we should be training our mature-age learners

by Brett Henebery22 Jun 2017
A study has found that training older workers for employment can deliver a significant boost not only to organisations, but to national GDP.

The study, by professional services firm PwC, found that the UK could boost its GDP by more than £80 billion if the employment rate of workers aged 55 and over matched the rate of Sweden.

The report called for organisations to facilitate reverse mentoring – a training method in which younger employees teach their older peers online skills.

One recommendation from the report was that the apprenticeship age limit be extended for older workers.

“As the number of people over 55 continues to grow steadily and life expectancy increases, the UK needs to make it as easy as possible for people to continue working for longer if they wish to do so,” John Hawksworth, chief economist at PWC UK.

“This would boost both GDP and tax revenues, so helping to pay for the increased costs of an ageing population.”

Australia has also recognised the value of ensuring all learners, irrespective of age, get access to the skills that will drive the future economy.

In May, Australia’s Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, unveiled the 2017 Federal Budget which included a massive investment in skills training, including intensive mentoring for mature-age learners.

Morrison outlined a new $60m Industry Specialist Mentoring Program which will provide extra support for around 47,000 apprentices.

“Apprentices and trainees working in industries undergoing structural changes, such as the South Australian and Victorian automotive sectors, will get access to highly skilled specialist mentors with industry expertise,” he said.

“That intensive mentoring, targeted at but not limited to apprentices from regional areas, retrenched workers, long-term unemployed and mature-age people, will increase completion rates and support the supply of skilled workers into the economy.”

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