Spotlight on...Lifelong Learning for an Ageing Workforce

“Older workers constitute the single largest pool of untapped potential in Britain. With the challenges that lie ahead, it is crucial we build on their wealth of skills, experience and collective wisdom.”

Peter Mayhew-Smith, March 2017

At a time of significant structural reform in the further education and skills sector, the Spotlight series brings to the fore particular groups who have typically been neglected by education and training systems. The series aims to shine a light on the experiences of these groups and the under-thought policy challenges facing the sector.

People in Britain are living longer and as a result, many are working longer than ever before. Despite a number of policy drives aimed at delaying retirement, questions remain on how employers will adapt their policies to suit a more age-diverse workforce and how skills provision can deliver for an ageing population. Furthermore, the potential outcome of the UK’s decision to leave the EU makes concerns over labour supply even more acute.

This report explores the challenges facing older workers in accessing, progressing in- and sustaining themselves in the labour market. It argues that we must adopt a new approach to education and training, continually developing the workforce rather than frontloading education and training at the start of one’s adult life.

With the rising of the women’s State Pension Age (April 2017) and the Women and Equalities Select Committee new call for evidence on ‘Older People and Employment’, this timely report makes a series of recommendations to government, employers and training providers to improve our approach to lifelong learning.  

Download the Skills Commission’s ‘Spotlight on Lifelong Learning for an Ageing Workforce’ report above.

This report was produced by an inquiry steering group of crossparty parliamentarians and sector leaders. The inquiry was sponsored by the Association for Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the City & Guilds Group. The Spotlight project is supported by Learning and Work Institute and the London College of Beauty Therapy (LCBT).