Not enough continuing vocational training for elderly employees

Due to demographic change and a longer working life the number of elderly people in businesses is increasing. At the same time technological and structural changes in the world of business require continuous learning. However, a study by the Federal institute for professional training (BIBB) shows that by comparison to European neighbours the number of participants in continuing vocational training for elderly people is too small in Germany.

The participation of elderly people in such training was found out for the first time in Europe in the year 2006 in the course of the “Continuing Vocational Training Survey” (CVTS3). According to this survey, on average one quarter of all employees over the age of 55 took part in continuing vocational training courses. Leading in this respect is the Czech Republic with a rate of participation amounting to 54%. In this European ranking Germany and Austria come just 16% with a rate of 21% and are thus lagging behind all countries from North and West Europe.

During a research project by the BIBB called “Concepts for continuing vocational training for elderly people” personnel managers were asked about opportunities for continuing vocational training in their respective companies. The findings show that particular opportunities for elderly people make sense only in exceptional cases. These include seminars or workshops on issues such as working part time for people approaching retirement and early retirement or topics such as information and communication technology.

Much more important than particular training for elderly people, however, is continuous further training during the entire professional career of an employee. This requires a corresponding recruitment policy and a working environment which facilitates learning. Continuous learning is possible in those companies where elderly employees work in innovative fields, where there is an environment which fosters a learning culture and makes this a matter of course during the entire professional career and convinces employees that their know-how is needed.

All the findings of the CVTS3 survey as well as the latest scientific discoveries on the potential, learning and continuing vocational training of elderly people will be presented in the course of a conference organized by the BIBB called “Weiterbildung älterer Beschäftigter – Konzepte und Handlungsfelder” on September 3rd and 4th in Bonn. Further information and online registration can be found on the internet. GERMAN