Table of Contents

Older Workers in an Ageing Society

Older Workers in an Ageing Society

Critical Topics in Research and Policy

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Philip Taylor

Prolonging working lives is high on the agenda of policy makers in most of the world’s major industrialized nations. This book explains how they are keen to tackle issues associated with the ageing of populations, namely the funding of pension systems and predictions concerning a dwindling labour supply. Yet the recent history of older workers has primarily been one of premature exit from the labour force in the form of redundancy or early retirement. Add to this a previously plentiful supply of younger labour and it is clear that much of industry will be unprepared for the challenges of ageing workforces.

Chapter 6: Lifelong learning and the world of work

Harvey L. Sterns and Diane M. Spokus

Subjects: social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, labour policy


These words reaching across the ages point to the necessity of lifelong learning. The opportunity to learn is never over. Gerontological research of the last 60 years supports the capability of most people to continue to grow and develop. Such learning can be to refine competitive skills in the world of work or for one’s personal growth and satisfaction, or some combination of both. Manheimer (2009), in an excellent review of lifelong learning, cites many national initiatives in Japan, France, The United Kingdom and the US, among others, that promote lifelong learning. There are exemplary programmes that show the potential of successful personal development through later life education. Bosworth (2007) emphasizes that more than half of the US’s 120 million workers between the ages of 25 and 64 have no post-secondary school degree or credential of any kind.

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