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Ageing, skills and participation in work-related training in Britain : assessing the position of older workers

Canduela, Jesus and Dutton, Matthew and Johnson, Steve and Lindsay, Colin and McQuaid, Ronald and Raeside, Robert (2012) Ageing, skills and participation in work-related training in Britain : assessing the position of older workers. Work, Employment and Society, 26 (1). pp. 42-60. ISSN 0950-0170

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Abstract

Policy makers have introduced a number of measures to encourage older workers to stay in the labour market, with improving access to training a particular priority. Policy action appeared justified by evidence that older workers are less likely to participate in training, and more likely to have never been offered training by employers – a key finding of Taylor and Urwin’s (2001) review of Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from 1997. This article models LFS data from 2007 to assess whether age remained a predictor of inequalities in training. It finds that men over 50 remained among those least likely to have been offered training by employers. There were other significant inequalities in participation, suggesting a polarization in access to jobs that offer opportunities for training and progression. The article concludes that policies promoting ‘active ageing’ need to challenge negative employer attitudes and acknowledge fundamental inequalities in access to skills.