The mature aged in transition: Innovative practice for reengagement

There are mounting imperatives for the VET sector to be more responsive to the training needs of older learners and workers. There has been a steady growth in people over 45 years of age undertaking training through the VET system, as well as, labour market trends which show that the incidence of long term unemployment for people over 45 years of age is higher than for those who are younger and that re-employment for this group is more difficult. This coupled with the pressures of an aging population and workplace changes brought about by the new knowledge economy requires a re-thinking and reframing of VET sector practice, which will ensure greater engagement of this group. This paper is based on doctoral research, which involved a Learning Survey of job seekers (n=247) of whom 56 % were over 45 years of age and Adult Learning Australia (ALA) funded research into mature age jobseekers and their use or non use of recognition of prior learning (RPL). The ALA research complimented the doctoral research and the synergy between the two has contributed greatly to the development of a model for fostering re-engagement and lifelong learning. The model draws upon multiple disciplines including different adult learning theories and approaches, sociology, psychology and cognitive psychology and the New Literacies Studies. The model contains four integrated components and views the learner holistically. One of the main areas of focus within the model relates to issues of identity, transition and what has been referred to as the ‘narrative turn’ in pedagogy. A theoretical perspective on education and training, which relates to the use of biographicity or what Alheit (1992) refers to as biographical competency will be explored within the broader frame of ‘self-reflexivity’ in modernity.

From Conference Paper (the 8th annual AVETRA conference, Emerging futures - recent, responsive & relevant research, Brisbane), published on 13-04-2005
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  • Roslyn Cameron


  • Innovation research

Covered areas

  • Oceania
  • Australia


  • Ageing population
  • Education and learning processes

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