Are there differences in how older workers learn? What are their best strategies of keeping up with changes in their job, or taking up a new job? And what can employers, governments and the world of training professionals do to encourage successful active ageing?

A new Cedefop publication - and a forthcoming workshop – seek answers to these questions.

The phenomenon of longer working lives can be examined under many angles. The public debate on ageing at work, which focuses on financial issues, sees it as an unavoidable result of demographic trends. The contributors to Cedefop's new study, however, look at the possibilities this trend opens up for people, workplaces and the labour market as a whole.

The research shows that workplace mindsets need to change. Employers should value the older workers’ more independent thinking and particular forms of creativity. The workers themselves must be more willing to learn and, in some cases, to adapt to different organisational arrangements. Teachers, trainers and guidance practitioners should become more aware of the needs, interests, advantages and weaknesses of older workers, and provide the right kind of backing.

Researchers in training and guidance have much to contribute to this development. The labour market cannot successfully integrate older people unless we get a better idea of how working, learning and ageing interconnect.

To contribute to the need for greater understanding of these issues, Cedefop is holding a two-day international workshop on guidance and counselling for ageing workers, in Thessaloniki on 30 September and 1 October 2010. The aim is to bring together an international forum of researchers and experts in order to gather the latest insights on guidance and counselling for ageing workers and to learn from best practices. Cedefop intends to publish the best contributions in a conference reader.