Supporting an Ageing workforce: Implications for Working Life, Training and Skills Policy in England – a Literature Review

In this literature review, we draw on research in relevant fields of inquiry, including: adult learning; life course transition; workplace learning; human resource management; sociology of work; and ageing and the workforce. There is a substantial and multi-disciplinary international literature in each of the first four fields, which are also informed by insights from political economy and policy studies, and a rapidly growing literature in the fifth. The review is structured into three main sections. First, we discuss the ways in which age is defined (often in stereotypical ways) in relation to work and in the light of the international drive to extend people’s working lives. Secondly, we examine how views on age interact with the way organisations afford access to training and individuals’ attitudes to learning at and for work. Finally, we discuss implications for skills policy in England. This concluding section explores the dominance of a qualifications-led approach to adult skills as exemplified in two key initiatives: a) Train to Gain; and b) Adult Apprenticeship.