27.02.09

Career Advice Works for Older Workers and their Employers

 

The largest project ever mounted to test the demand and effectiveness of careers advice and training among older workers in the UK has found that there are overwhelming benefits for both workers and their employers.

The research was carried out by NIACE (the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) for A4e, as part of the ReGrow project, which provided careers advice and follow-up training across the South East to 1139 people over-50 in work in 353 firms.

Over 80% of firms who took part in the research identified definite benefits from the advice and the training they - or their employees - received. If they were to be offered again, the large majority would not only take up both the advice and the training but would recommend it to others.

The research also found that:

 

  • more than half of employers reported that the careers advice and training had increased workers motivation, productivity and flexibility and their commitment to their employer;
  • older workers were surprised that anyone was interested in their needs, but when the service was offered they grasped it with enthusiasm;
  • two-thirds of employees said that they were able to do their jobs better;
  • half planned to take further training;
  • one third said they would probably stay in work longer; and
  • surveys of employees before and after they took part showed that their attachment to their employer rose, they were less likely to report work-life balance problems and they were more likely to say that their employer valued them.

 

Stephen McNair, Associate Director of NIACE who evaluated the ReGrow project, said:

“As Britain faces an ageing population, with most people spending a third of their adult life in retirement, Government is keen to make better use of the skills of older workers, and to encourage people to stay longer in the workforce.”

“The lessons are clear. With careers advice and training, older workers are likely to make better use of their skills, and to stay longer in work, provided that the training is short and focused on immediate work problems.”

“However, there was little demand for longer training or for formal qualifications, which is the focus of current Government policy.”

Both NIACE and A4e are members of TAEN.

 

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