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Learning while working

CEDEFOP (2011) Learning while working: how skills development can be supported through workplace learning

CEDEFOP report outlining how the more highly qualified people are, the more likely they are to participate in learning activities. However, people also tend do less lifelong learning as they grow older, irrespective of their qualification levels. This is especially true in countries where overall participation in lifelong learning is low. This general pattern emerges from various surveys, even though the Continuing training and Adult education surveys suggest that participation is higher than the lifelong learning indicator shows. Older low qualified workers are especially difficult to reach, even though they need lifelong learning most. Almost 60 % of Europe’s 74 million low-qualified citizens are over 45 years old.

This report presents the findings from a research study that set out to review the range of career guidance provision that supports workforce development across the EU25 and to identify innovative or ‘best practice’ provision. The report includes 35 case studies and these provide accounts of practice by employers, trade unions and the public sector as well as other intermediary organisations, such as outplacement consultancies, professional associations and industry sector bodies.

Cedefop (2010) The right skills for silver workers - An empirical analysis

The report discusses the demographic decline and the mismatch between the demand and supply of skills which are two issues of particular concern for the European labour market. As people age they are less exposed to physical risk at work but they are also less exposed to new developments, running the risk that their skills may not keep up with demand. A close study of the ways in which ageing workers’ skills fall behind workplace demands can suggest policies to overcome this problem.

Cedefop (2010) Working and ageing - Emerging theories and empirical perspectives 

The publication addresses the factors that enable or hamper people to continue working at advanced age. It conveys two crucial messages. First, successful active ageing requires commitment and involvement from ageing workers themselves and employers, in a context that supports learning and recognises the specific needs of ageing workers. Second, sustainable labour-market participation at later age cannot be achieved without sound understanding of ageing, working and learning and the interconnections between these processes.

Cedefop (2011) Learning while working – Success stories on workplace learning in Europe

The report presents an overview of key trends in workplace learning and takes stock of previous research carried out by Cedefop and other European/international organisations. The focus is on companies that wish to improve their employees’ skills for a specific job; employees have an interest in developing skills that can generally raise their career and employment prospects. The report explores to what extent these potentially conflicting goals can be balanced. Moreover, it discusses if workplaces can become learning places where workers of all levels are encouraged to improve their knowledge, skills and competence.

Cedefop (2011) Lifelong guidance across Europe – Reviewing policy progress and future prospects

This report reviews progress made across Europe in 2007-10 in developing guidance policy coordination, quality assurance mechanisms, access to services for all and career management skills. The review shows that the EU policy framework and changing economic conditions have encouraged closer collaboration between policy makers, guidance professionals and researchers. Together they are locating assets and resources, identifying and engaging stakeholders, defining and completing joint goals and objectives, and balancing a diverse range of interests. These partnerships help everyone involved – education and employment sectors, various policy levels, and practitioners - to work more efficiently for the benefit of individual citizens.

European Commission (2006) Ageing and employment – Identification of good practice to increase job opportunities and maintain older workers in employment

This study on ageing and employment provides examples of how companies are addressing the issue of managing an ageing workforce. The report, based on 41 company case studies in 11 EU Members States (including CZ, DE, FI, FR, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT UK) gives an overview of national developments and makes recommendations for maintaining older workers in employment. The report emphasises the importance of protecting older workers from redundancy while in employment, through ongoing training, in the context of lifelong learning, aimed at keeping employees’ skills and knowledge up to date. The involvement and support of top management, human resources and line managers were considered essential for the success of age management policies in companies.

OECD (2006) Live Longer, Work Longer - A synthesis report

This report makes an important contribution to establishing a new agenda of age-friendly employment policies and practices. It draws out the main lessons that have emerged from the 21 country reviews which have been published separately under the OECD’s series on "Ageing and Employment Policies". In an era of rapid population ageing, many employment and social policies, practices and attitudes that discourage work at an older age have passed their sell-by date and need to be overhauled. They not only deny older workers choice about when and how to retire but are costly for business, the economy and society. To help meet these daunting challenges, work needs to be made a more attractive and rewarding proposition for older workers.

OECD (2010) OECD Employment Outlook 2010 - Moving beyond the Jobs Crisis

Among other things, the OECD Employment Outlook 2010 provides an in-depth assessment on labour mobility in the OECD labour markets. It shows that workers and jobs are continuously reallocated from declining to growing firms and sectors in all countries, but the right package of labour market policies is needed to maximise the productivity payoff from this mobility while minimising the resulting insecurity for workers. The edition 2010 also suggests that encouraging the growth of high-quality part-time work can be an important strategy for governments concerned with promoting high employment in th

Ofsted (2011) Girls’ career aspirations


Full report

This report by Ofsted evaluates the degree to which careers education, guidance and other forms of employment related support have raised the aspirations and informed the education and employment decisions made by girls and young women. It considers the extent to which these programmes have assisted these cohorts with their long-term achievements. It also investigates the relationships that 36 employers have with 12 local (primary/secondary) schools via an examination of their involvement in work-related learning initiatives.

Eurobarometer (2011) Attitudes towards vocational education and training

The Eurobarometer survey on "Attitudes towards vocational education and training" The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 27 000 people across all the Member States. The survey has also information on the provision of guidance services related to VET.

UKCES (2011) Skills for self-employment
UKCES report which looks at the role of skills and training in the development of self-employment.

DBIS (2011) Returns to intermediate and low level vocational qualifications
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) report which presents the findings of research into the earnings and employment returns associated with intermediate and low level vocational qualifications and assesses the impact of vocational qualifications on earnings and the probability of being employed.

Risk of downward mobility increasing for less educated
The risk of slipping down the earnings ladder has increased for the less educated and those living outside London, a new study suggests.

L.Savage (2011) Snakes and Ladders: who climbs the rungs of the earnings ladder

The risk of slipping down the earnings ladder has increased for the less educated and those living outside London, according to a new study which looked at how education, region, gender, occupation, unemployment and full- or part-time work affected ‘intragenerational social mobility’. This term was defined as an individual’s ability to improve their earnings over the course of their lives. While the impact of certain factors, such as profession, remained more or less the same for those born in 1958 and 1970, other characteristics became more important for people in their thirties and forties. The researchers found regional differences became highly significant in the 2000s, when the younger generation reached their thirties. People living in London were at least risk of downward mobility, while people in the North East and East Midlands were much less likely to move up – 53 and 49 per cent respectively.

Not holding a degree-level qualification decreased chances of upward mobility by 37 per cent in both decades. However, the chances of moving down increased for non-graduates in the 2000s, as the proportion of workers with a degree increased.

While fewer people experienced periods of unemployment in the 2000s, the penalty for doing so increased. Those who were unemployed at one point in the decade were more than twice as likely to move down the income distribution. Men were 40 per cent more likely to move up in the 2000s, compared to 51 per cent in the 1990s. Women were more likely to move down in both decades.

Creative & Cultural Skills (2011) Assessing the return on investment, evaluation, and impact of the Young Apprenticeships Programme

A report by Baker Tilly and the Education and Employers Taskforce evaluates the social return on investment and impact of the Young Apprenticeship Programme (YAP) in performing arts and art & design. It also identifies the feasibility of extending a YAP type programme to higher levels. YAP is a vocationally focussed mainstream programme of learning for young people aged 14 to 16 which includes 50 days of work experience. The evaluation draws upon literature reviews, surveys, interviews and focus groups with employers, providers and local authorities, and data supplied by Creative & Cultural Skills. Findings show that pupils participating in YAP achieve well, there is a high level of progression from YAP to other learning programmes, and that a net economic gain of approximately £1.3 million is forecast to occur in the event that the performing arts YAP continues for five further cohorts of learners.

Credentials that Work: Occupational Training for Today's Jobs

A US report Credentials that Work seeks to utilize innovations in the collection and use of real-time labor market information to better align investments in education and training with the needs of the economy. Stronger alignment will ensure that education credentials have high value for both workers and employers.

CEDEFOP (2011) Research paper: Vocational education and training at higher qualification levels

This Cedefop research paper, covering 13 countries and six sectors, examines the higher qualifications currently offered within vocational education, including their features, governance patterns, how academic they are in orientation, parity of esteem and forms and degree of labour market involvement.

EC (2011) has published a report of the Transferability of Skills across Economic Sectors.

Lifelong guidance across Europe: reviewing policy progress and future prospects
How far has Europe come in coordinating guidance policy, and improving access to guidance services and career management skills? A policy review (2007-2010) identifies improvements and remaining challenges.
Training is the preferred means to improve employability for at-risk groups
In the EU in 2009, EUR 27.6 billion were invested in training as the most important and most reinforced public measure for helping individuals with difficulties on the labour market.

Productivity and skills
Skills Committee
Considers how workforce skills can enhance productivity, paying particular attention to differences between sectors.

TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg argues that women, unlike men, encountered tradeoffs between success and likability. The women had internalized self-doubt as a form of self-defense: people don't like women who boast about their achievements and not enough women negotiate their salaries when entering a job, she believes (57 per cent of men do, against 7 per cent of women).

Sandberg was ‘sponsored’ in her early career by her former tutor, US Business Secretary Larry Summers, but a paper by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and colleagues in the Harvard Business Review argues that sponsorship is really important and works best when both sponsor and protégé recognize that it’s a mutually beneficial alliance, a truly two-way street. However, older men may be less ready to sponsor younger women for a variety of reasons.

Research Paper from SKOPE. Research Paper No. 102 Jonathan Payne and Ewart Keep

 ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? Skills Policy in England under the Coalition Government’