The main challenges for the ageing knowledge economy are the constant upgrading of the skills of the working population and the mitigation of both new and existing social risks. In an aging society surrounded by a globalised knowledge economy, people in mid-life are increasingly exposed to social risks of exclusion from the labour market. Many are excluded from formal Lifelong Learning (LLL), specifically Tertiary Lifelong Learning (TLL) within universities and colleges. The access of mid-life learners to TLL and their retention in the system has an increasing relevance for the socio-economic sustainability of the ageing European knowledge society.
TLL is considered a key to the development of more inclusive and responsive universities. Opening HE for mid-life learners, designing flexible pathways from VET and professional experience to higher education, flexible learning
arrangements conciliating family, work-life and learning and the adaptation of pedagogical methods in HE are all challenges. Opening Higher Education (HE) to those in mid-life group is still a minor aspect of education and training reforms but it is a strategic goal in raising the skill levels of the adult EU population, as well as addressing the mismatch between supply and demand for high-skilled workers.
The Tertiary lifelong learning for people in mid-life project (THEMP), part funded by the EC and involving 6 collaborating universities across Europe, uses an innovative combination of Transitional Labour market approaches to define and measure social risks; and the capability and capital approach to operationalize employability and well-being (see http://thempeu.navreme.cz/). It aims to provide differentiated tools to analyse TLL programs and their integration in higher education systems - based on adequate definitions of efficiency and quality - to evaluate the inclusion of mid-life learners. It also analyses the regulation of the TLL system, not only with respect to labour markets and society, but also its internal regulation in terms of access, learning pathways, certification, recognition of prior learning and funding.
The seminar introduces the conceptual and theoretical framework of the study and the methodology being used.