In the context of population ageing, adult upskilling and reskilling assume considerable significance. Predicting future population changes is comparatively straightforward, and the United Nations Population Division estimates that, in developed nations, the proportion of the population that is of working age will fall from 61 per cent in 2011 to 51 per cent in 2050. Meanwhile, with growing longevity, the old-age dependency ratio in these nations will grow from to 12 to 48 per hundred of the working-age population, and in the less developed nations from 9 to 23 (United Nations 2011, 6, 448–9). Governments in virtually all nations expect increasing pressures on the working population as well as on a range of services as a result. One option is to attract skilled migrants, though this is often politically controversial, and in any case migrants also grow older over time. For many governments, increasing the employment rates of older workers, and improving their productivity, will become more pressing. For many enterprises, ensuring the adaptability and employability of their existing workforce will become as important as recruiting and inducting young workers entering the labour market for the first time. Against this background, training and development may seem obvious solutions. Apart from any other consideration, governments and enterprises more generally tend to view continuing training and development positively, as ways of improving competitiveness and employability.
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