06 SES 06, Exploring Students' Perspectives in Digital Environments
Europe has an ageing population (Eurostat, 2015). Reports, studies and scientific forecasts suggest that, without appropriate action, the sustainability of social security and pension systems would be at stake and labour-market shortages could emerge. In this scenario, increasing the labour-market participation of ageing people - by restricting or abandoning possibilities for early labour-market exit and increasing the age at which people are eligible for pensions - is essential to help sustain economic growth, and manage the rising financial burden on social protection systems.
The European Commission (EC) has long been arguing that better trained and educated workers tend to remain longer in the labour force than the less well educated (EC, 2003). Paccagnella (2016), through his analysis of information drawn from the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), notes that ‘a simple provision of the possibility of training is enough to motivate older employees, thus inducing them to postpone actual retirement’. Similar conclusions have been reached in national European studies. However, the European Commission has also been noting that older workers (that is, 45 – 65 year-old persons who are in the second half of their working life) are under-represented in training (EC, 2006). Cedefop (2010) confirms that, ‘while overall participation of older workers in lifelong learning appears to be increasing, there still is a persistent gap in participation between younger and older workers’.
Barslund & von Werder (2016) also note that, in Europe, better-educated persons tend to work longer. However, older workers are less likely to engage in skills training than younger workers because, the EC (2003) notes ‘retirement limits the time span pay-off period’. Other reasons that have been identified include family, social and job-related responsibilities. This calls for innovative, non-traditional and more flexible learning and training opportunities, which, among other objectives, need (i) to motivate and empower older workers, and (ii) do not require them to abandon their work place, or renounce family or social responsibilities to train and/or study. One of the lifelong learning solutions for older workers could be online distance education. Its advantages include flexibility and economic efficiency. However, the effectiveness of online learning for older workers in the European economic area has not yet received its due attention in scientific research.
Malta also has an ageing population (Formosa, 2013). The Council of the European Union has, since 2014, repeatedly made recommendations to the Maltese Government to safeguard the employability of older workers and increase their participation in the local and European labour market (Council of the European Union, 2014, 2015, 2016). To this end, a number of incentives and initiatives have been developed to encourage older workers to stay longer in employment, and employers to keep older workers in employment, including tax incentives, flexible work arrangements and a more widespread national system of education and training (ETC, 2014; Ministry of Finance, 2015, 2016). However, the participation of older workers in the available training programmes remains low (Borg, Mayo, & Raykov, 2016).
This case study was a preliminary exploration of the perceptions of older nurses participating in an online ‘top-up degree’. The course was primarily intended to provide older health professionals with a better qualification than their national certificate in nursing, and thereby increase their prospects of promotion. The course, its developers believe, should encourage older nurses, with existing work and family commitments, to remain longer in the labour market. This study is part of a larger three-year project financed by the Ministry of Education and Employment (Malta) and European Structural and Investment Funds. The project is investigating the possibility of a wider and more sustained provision of online programmes for older workers.
Barslund, M., & von Werder, M. (2016). Measuring ageing and the need for longer working lives in the EU. CEPS Working Document No. 417 Borg, C., Mayo, P., & Raykov, M. (2016). Adult learning in Malta: insights into current participation, content and forms of adult learning. Malta: Faculty of Education, UOM. Bryant, A., & Charmaz, K. (2010). The SAGE handbook of grounded theory (Pbk. ed. ed.). London: SAGE Publications. Cedefop. (2010). Working and ageing: emerging theories and empirical perspectives. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage Publications. Council of the European Union. (2015). COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION of 14 July 2015 on the 2015 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2015 Stability Programme of Malta. Official Journal of the European Union. http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2015/csr2015_council_malta_en.pdf Council of the European Union. (2016). Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the 2016 national reform programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2016 stability programme of Malta. http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9221-2016-INIT/en/pdf ETC. (2014). Employing Older Workers (45 – 65). Retrieved from http://etc.gov.mt/Category/4/97/employing-older-persons.aspx European Commission. (2003). Increasing Employment of Older Workers and Delaying the Exit from the Labour Market. Retrieved from Brussels: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52004DC0146&from=EN European Commission. (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32006H0962&from=EN European Commission. (2011). European Union Adult Education Survey (EU-AES). Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/adult-education-survey European Commission. (2014). Population ageing in Europe: Facts, implications and policies. Brussels: Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. European Commission. (2016). European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS). Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/EU_labour_force_survey Formosa, M. (2013). Population trends and ageing policy in Malta. Social Sciences, 2(2), 90-96. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research. London: Weinenfeld and Nicolson. Ministry of Finance (Malta). (2016). Malta National Reform Programme. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2016/nrp2016_malta_en.pdf OECD. (2013b). The Survey of Adult Skills. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/skills/piaac/ Paccagnella, M. (2016). Age, Ageing and Skills: Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, No. 132. OECD Education Working Papers.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.