Older Professionals, Learning and Practice

  • Tarja Irene TikkanenEmail author
  • Stephen Billett
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Globally, workforce is aging. Workers aged over 50 years are becoming an increasingly significant and large component of national workforces, including the professions. This situation is likely to remain the case for the next few decades. Despite workplaces becoming increasingly reliant on older workers, the distribution of opportunities for support, professional development and advancement belies that fact. However, the situation confronting older professionals appears more nuanced and dual. On one hand, many professionals report little or no age discrimination and high levels of opportunities for advancement, should they wish it. On the other hand, they are most likely to retire early and make their own decisions about the duration and intensity of working lives and how they engaged in continuing education programs. They also largely report being active lifelong learners, whose work life learning is shaped by work requirements and challenges. Consequently, considerations for ongoing learning for older professional workers are premised on combinations of opportunities, motivation and capability/capacity (self-efficacy, personal agency), in ways that are quite distinct from other categories of older workers. The chapter proposes that the ongoing development and employability of older professionals is likely to be central to national economies in decades to come. It is necessary to have an adequate fit between provisions of various forms of learning opportunities in and outside workplaces, to support individual skills currency and national innovation capacity. Distinctive for older professionals is a high level of personal choices available for their work and learning, necessitating a concerted public and private effort, in broad cooperation among relevant partners, when seeking solutions for extended job-careers in line with prolonged life-spans.


Professionals Older professionals Ageing professionals Learning Lifelong learning Science and engineers Teachers Health care workers Employability Professional development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Teacher Training and Cultural EducationStord/Haugesund University CollegeStordNorway
  2. 2.School of Education and Professional Studies, Adult and Vocational EducationGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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