OU urges focus on skills for older workers

The Open University has issued a call to businesses to ensure their workforce has the skills they need to remain competitive throughout all stages of their careers.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today Programme, the OU’s Director of External Engagement Steve Hill told listeners that, with around a third of the UK workforce aged over 50, it was more important than ever that employers made sure their staff had access to the right skills and training for a changing work environment.

In April, the Government published a report which suggests the total number of jobs in the UK is expected to rise by 1.8 million by 2024. Yet the working age population (16-64) is only expected to increase by around half this amount.


Clip of Steve Hill's interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Benefit to business

Steve Hill

Steve Hill

Steve Hill said there were a number of sectors where the skills gap could be particularly keenly felt:

“Businesses can benefit tremendously from the knowledge and experience of their existing employees. Upskilling these individuals ensures that corporate memory remains within the company, whilst also keeping the business relevant and employees engaged.

"This is particularly true in areas where skill requirements are changing quickly, such as digital technologies and cyber security. Continuous work-based learning allows employers to continue to benefit from their employees’ input into the business, whilst employees benefit from a boost to their skills.”

The full programme is available on the BBC iPlayer.