DWP Report 'Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach’
A DWP report entitled ‘Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach’ is encouraging people over 45 (and even over 60) to start on apprenticeships, to boost employment prospects in later life. Apprenticeships are referred to as an ‘all age programme’, and it claims “older people can and do access apprenticeships”. In 2015/16, 11.3% of those starting an apprenticeship were aged between 45 and 59, while 3,500 were aged 60 years and over (just under 1%).
The release of the document reflects the government’s recent change in focus of skills policy more towards adult education. Before 2007, government-funded apprenticeships were only available to people under the age of 25. However, the new industrial strategy green paper published last week committed the government to exploring “ambitious new approaches to encouraging lifelong learning”.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minster Robert Halfon said that the government was firmly committed to boosting training for older people, saying, “We wouldn’t have put this in the industrial strategy if we weren’t serious about it”. The Fuller Working Lives report points out that, “someone in their early 50s, however, can potentially stay with their employer for 15 to 20 years or longer,” so “there is a clear case for investing in their future and, in so doing, that of the business”. Employers who are currently running apprenticeships for older people include Barclays and Whitbread.