Unionlearn today welcomed the publication of the Skills Commission Report into older workers, but highlighted the role of well-trained Union Learning Reps in providing mid-life career support and reviews.
The Report recognises that many people are working longer than ever before. Today’s labour market sees many older workers not only working longer but balancing paid work with support for dependants whether that takes the form of support for parents, children, grandchildren or voluntary roles, with women predominantly affected.
Unions are the biggest provider of workplace Mid-Life Career Reviews (MLCRs) and have been working to support older workers, often with support from the employer, to explore the skills needed to develop their furture careers.
The union MLCR model is more robust than the Report’s proposal to incorporate them in appraisals as reps are shown to be trusted intermediaries in the process. This allows people to discuss development in a holistic context that includes life style and commitments.
Unionlearn would also like to see an entitlement to a MLCR at the milestone age of 50.
Kevin Rowan, unionlearn Director, said:
The Skills Commission Report includes some useful recommendations - which for many years the TUC has been campaigning to be implemented. Mid-life Career Reviews and personal learning accounts are all very positive ways to support older workers, something that will become increasingly important.
Whilst we welcome the report recommendation that people should be entitled to a Mid-Life Career Review unionlearn’s experience shows that, rather than through an appraisal process, these need to be independent and impartial.
Union Learning Reps are best placed to conduct them as peers see them as a trusted intermediary, and many have been trained by unionlearn to deliver reviews."