Apprenticeships for the over-50s

Older mixed race woman using laptop in home office

Older workers will stay in jobs longer than flighty youth, Government says

The over-50s should be encouraged to take up apprenticeships, the Government has said, as they are more likely to stick to a job for longer than the flighty younger generation.

A report, published by the Department of Work and Pensions, urged companies to run training schemes for pensioners to help boost people's employment prospects later in life.

‎Its authors pointed out that older workers often remain in one job for longer, making it more worthwhile for companies to take them on and train them up.

Barclays and Whitbread are among those running apprenticeship schemes for older peopleCredit: Yui Mok

“Older workers can often be overlooked when it comes to new training opportunities. Someone in their early 50s, however, can potentially stay with their employer for 15 to 20 years or longer,” it said.  

“There is a clear case for investing in their future and, in so doing, that of the business.

“Some employers are already recognising the importance of retraining, with Barclays and Whitbread among those running apprenticeship schemes for older people, [while] other employers have schemes in development.”

The report, titled Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach, said there are almost a million people aged between 50 and 64 who are not in employment but state they are willing to or would like to work.  

Despite this, 11.3 per cent of those starting an apprenticeship in 2015/16 were aged between 45 and 59, while less than one per cent were agent 60 years and over.

The vast majority of apprenticeships were taken up by those in younger age groups.  The Government is now rolling out “older claimant champions” to job centres across the country, in a bid to raise awareness about apprenticeships to those over 60.

Currently, there are a handful of these, but the number will be increased almost fivefold.  The report reflects the Government’s recent shift of focus in its skills policy, away from exclusively targeting the under-19s and towards adult education.  

Previously, only under 25s could take up Government-funded apprenticeships. ‎However, the new industrial strategy green paper published last week committed the government to exploring “ambitious new approaches to encouraging lifelong learning”.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damian Green said: “Nobody should write off hiring someone due to their age and it’s unacceptable that some older people are overlooked for roles they would suit completely.”

“Most people are healthier for longer and so are able to extend their careers and take up new opportunities. I urge all businesses to reassess the value of older workers.”

A DfE spokesman said that apprenticeships “work for people of all ages and backgrounds and can transform lives” adding: “We are committed to making sure that apprenticeships are as accessible as possible, to all people, from all backgrounds.”

 

This article was written by Education Editor and Camilla Turner from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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