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Workplace Training for the Over 50s Coventry

Demographic trends are increasingly creating a shortage of younger skilled workers - a situation which is forecast to worsen over the next decade. This means that investing in training, developing, and re-skilling older workers needs to become a priority for employers, for whom, as this article demonstrates, there is much to be gained in terms of increased older worker productivity, commitment and engagement.

Coventry University
(247) 688-7688
Priory St
ACT Recruitment & Training
024 7767 9036
127 New Union Street
The Extra Mile Group Ltd
07790 642757
16, Warwick Street
Mark Williams Associates
024 7660 4082
17, Ashcroft Close
01676 535232
Hodgetts Lane, Berkswell
Pitman Training Centre
02476 226969
145-147, New Union Street
JBC Training Ltd
024 7671 9720
66-70, Earlsdon St
Countrywide Training Services Ltd
024 7667 7660
30, Kimble Close
University of Warwick
(247) 652-3523
University of Warwick
Sequallity Limited
024 7679 6550
EPG2, Eliot Park Innovation Centre,

Workplace Training for the Over 50s

Research shows that skilled and engaged older workers are truly workplace ‘champions’ in terms of their productivity, commitment, and reliability. However many organisations and older employees themselves fail to recognise the need to maintain training and the acquisition of new skills once an individual is aged 50 or over. Businesses which do train their older workers report a number of large scale benefits including:  improved staff retention rates  higher morale  higher productivity  fewer short-term absences  a better public image  access to a wider customer base and  retention of a wider range of skills and experience So, there’s plenty to be gained for employers and older workers alike. First steps Meaningful training and development and the identification of the business and individual benefits to be gained from training older workers should start with an effective performance management system, including rigorous review and appraisal practices. In broad terms, this means focusing on:  Assessing the skills and knowledge required of the workforce regardless of age, seniority, and status. Ultimately this may involve developing individuals and teams that operate outside of traditional ‘departmental’ boundaries and the implementation of age neutral policies.  Adopting a strategic, organisation wide approach to the management and development of a flexible and diverse workforce, including their transition to retirement, which may take place over many years.  Drafting robust and appropriate contracts of employment that enable the incorporation of individual working practices whilst ensuring all employees adhere to fair and non-discriminatory standards and support the values of the business.  Adopting proactive communication systems. Individual employees need to be challenged to be open about their needs and intents for their final working years so that, with their employers, they can create an appropriately flexible working life.  Measuring outputs against targets, regularly, fairly and objectively, on a group and individual basis. What type of development and why? A large number of variables must be taken into account when deciding what type of development opportunities to provide. These are just some:  Skills or development? Depending on work type, training may be mandatory or optional and involve consistency or change, i.e. is the individual being trained in order to maintain or increase existing skills, or to diversify into an entirely new area? Always develop the best person for the job regardless of age.  Formal or informal learning? Older workers tend to have fewer formal qualifications than younger individuals and may not have spent as much time in formal learning environments. They may have a misconception of ‘training’ as prescriptive ‘chalk and talk’ and may balk at the idea of being taught by those they feel lack experience. Consider blended learning including on the job training, work shadowing, mentoring, and online learning.  Training or coaching? – particularly in a situation where fairly dramatic attitudinal change is required, one to one coaching can be of enormous benefit in helping individuals identify internal barriers to progress, as well as providing improved motivation.  Work or retirement-related? Most training and development will relate to the skills required by an individual in the workplace, but very valuable support can be provided by employers in the form of pre-retirement planning sessions. Traditionally these have focused heavily on financial planning, and possibly health. Now the emphasis should be on whole-life planning for the remainder of one’s life starting with relatively young employees and helping them to achieve work-life balance, financial security, and appropriate career development. Rules for success Many of the issues associated with developing the over 50s are, when analysed, no different from those relating to training provision in general, though these tend to be some of the most common:  Deal with the why – preclude any resistance by discussing with individuals at an early stage how they – and the organisation – will benefit from their development and how it relates to the bigger picture.  Thoroughly brief trainers and facilitators about specific challenges concerning the group and individuals they’re going to be dealing with. For example, they may need to override communication and perception barriers in a diverse age group through mixing ages and setting special exercises.  Tell less, ask more. As with all training, don’t assume! Asking individuals about their opinions, experiences and even prejudices and really listening to what they have to say is the most effective way of identifying and overcoming any barriers.  Continuous learning. Ensure that ‘training’ is an ongoing process rather than a one-off event. Challenge individuals to apply what they have learnt, using it to train or mentor less advanced individuals. Recognise achievement and progress; the more that people feel that training is a privilege, not a punishment, the more committed they will be. Click here to read more from in my prime about training and developing older workers.

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