A new policy discussion paper from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) argues that a fresh approach is needed from policy makers, educational providers and workplaces to cope with the implications of a rapidly ageing population.
The paper, Demography and Older Learners, states that over the next decade there will only be enough young people to fill just one in three of all new and replacement jobs.
That leaves two-thirds of jobs that will need to be filled by an increase in the numbers of women in the workforce, further net immigration and predominantly older people returning to work or staying in employment longer than they had expected to.
Alan Tuckett, director of NIACE, said: “An education system that is primarily focused on young people has set itself an enormous challenge. What has become blatantly clear is the need to pay attention to older people, as these are the adults who will fill two out of every three jobs over the next ten years.
"For work, and for national and individual economic benefits, for an enriched life and for the good of your health, learning offers benefits in older life. All of us can look forward to extended lives after work where we shall want to live stimulating lives. But that case needs to be made powerfully, and in ways that connect with the lives of older people in Britain.”
Judith Summers, co-author of Demography and Older Learners, said, “The government's skills strategy simply does not reflect the realities for older adults. If we are to respond to these, there's a vital need to support the many local organisations, both statutory and voluntary, who are working successfully with older adults - including the most marginalised groups - and to spread their experience to others.”