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Living longer, learning longer: Experiences, perceptions and intentions regarding learning, education and training among older Australians

Increased life expectancy combined with recent changes to government policy (e.g. eligibility for the Age Pension increasing to age 67 by 2023) will require many people to work past the traditional retirement age of 65 to financially support themselves. Additionally, it is anticipated that Australia's ageing population will have a significant impact on the workforce participation rate; as the ageing population retire, labour shortages will emerge. Predicted labour shortages can be reduced by encouraging and supporting older workers to work for longer than they do now.

However, a number of barriers exist that result in lower rates of labour force participation, underemployment and longer durations of unemployment among older people. Some of these include, ill health, injury, disability, care-giving responsibilities, discrimination in employment on the basis of age, and inflexible employment arrangements.

There is a strong link between a person's employability and training, with those who receive training having a higher probability of being employed. Workplace training and re-skilling are recognised as important factors in helping older workers do their job better, get a promotion, find a job and find more hours.Yet, older workers are among the lowest qualified compared to other age groups and for a variety of reasons, they experience less access to learning, education and training (LET) opportunities compared to younger people.

In Australia, there is a need to understand more about the experiences, perceptions and future intentions of LET among older people. This study aimed to provide new insights into the issue by exploring the following areas:• Experiences of LET• Perceptions of LET• Future intentions to engage in LET

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