Reskilling for encore careers for (what were once) retirement years

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Reskilling for encore careers for (what were once) retirement yearsp:\publicationcomponents\logos\ncver logos\wmf - word\ncver left tab_mono.wmf

Jane Figgis

AAAJ Consulting Group

The views and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author/
project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government,
state and territory governments or NCVER.

Any interpretation of data is the responsibility of the author/project team.



Publisher’s note

To find other material of interest, search VOCED (the UNESCO/NCVER international database ) using the following keywords: ageing population; ageing workforce; career change; employment; finance; funding; interview; older worker; policy; research; retirement; skill development; skill upgrading; skills and knowledge; vocational education and training.

© Commonwealth of Australia, 2012

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With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the Department’s logo, any material protected by a trade mark and where otherwise noted all material presented in this document is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.

The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links provided) as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3.0 AU licence .

The Creative Commons licence conditions do not apply to all logos, graphic design, artwork and photographs. Requests and enquiries concerning other reproduction and rights should be directed to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

This document should be attributed as Figgis, J 2012, Reskilling for encore careers for (what were once) retirement years, NCVER, Adelaide.

This work has been produced by NCVER under the National Vocational Education and Training Research and Evaluation (NVETRE) Program, which is coordinated and managed by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments. Funding is provided through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The NVETRE program is based upon priorities approved by ministers with responsibility for vocational education and training (VET). This research aims to improve policy and practice in the VET sector. For further information about the program go to the NCVER website . The author/project team was funded to undertake this research via a grant under the NVETRE program. These grants are awarded to organisations through a competitive process, in which NCVER does not participate.

The views and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author/project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government, state and territory governments or NCVER.

ISBN 978 1 921955 91 4
TD/TNC 106.05

Published by NCVER, ABN 87 007 967 311

Level 11, 33 King William Street, Adelaide, SA 5000
PO Box 8288 Station Arcade, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

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About the research

Reskilling for encore careers for (what were once) retirement years

Jane Figgis, AAAJ Consulting Group

Encouraging older workers to stay in the workforce has become a policy priority, not least because the life expectancy of Australians has increased dramatically over the past several decades, effectively inserting a new stage in life, often called the ‘third age’.

This report explores the possibility of using that third age to embark on an ‘encore’ career. The author describes the encore career concept and why it might be an attractive alternative to retirement or to continuing in the same job past the traditional age of retirement. Then, drawing on interviews with TAFE institutes and other registered training organisations, she discusses how the encore career concept might be enacted in Australia.

Key messages

Encore careers are well established in the United States, where they have been defined as work with a social purpose in the second half of life. This study suggests that Australians have a consistent and clear view about the basic shape of an encore career. It would:

be flexible, in terms of time, and allow for a sense of autonomy

start at or after the usual retirement age

involve a serious time commitment but not necessarily financial remuneration

take the person in fresh directions.

The vocational education and training (VET) sector may have a role to play in providing training for encore careers but such training will be difficult to accommodate within the current funding arrangements.

Despite an initial enthusiasm in TAFE institutes and other registered training organisations to develop programs that would help older Australians embark on encore careers, other priorities and a lack of resources meant that the idea generally has not been taken any further. Nevertheless, Jane Figgis has given us something to think about, with her alternative to the standard rhetoric of keeping older workers in their current jobs longer.

Tom Karmel
Managing Director, NCVER


Executive summary 7

1The VET sector as provider of encore careers programs 8

2Infrastructure underpinning encore careers 9

Introduction 10

3Background 10

4The research process 11

Ageing in the third age 13

Older workers’ experience 15

5Policies that encourage older workers to keep working 15

6Barriers limiting work opportunities for older workers 16

What is an ‘encore career’? 18

7A working definition of ‘encore careers’ 19

8Who are encore careers for? 20

9Is there a better label than ‘encore career’? 21

Creating encore career programs 23

10Existing encore career programs 23

11Encore career programs in the Australian context 26

12Challenges (impediments) to implementing encore career programs 29

Infrastructure for encore careers 32

13A final comment 35

References 36

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