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Exploring professional development for older workers in the higher education workplace.

Bingham, DM; (2017) Exploring professional development for older workers in the higher education workplace. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study of one UK university, concerned four related issues of flourishing, empowerment, potential alienation and inequality of professional older workers in a higher education setting, relative to their professional development. The study identified what is required to support sustained and extended working lives. The lifting of the default retirement age in the UK, rising life expectancy and increasing numbers of older workers spotlight the phenomena of extended working lives, the place of older workers, their engagement and professional learning needs. This thesis explored perceptions of older workers regarding their professional development and learning in professional roles in a UK higher education institution, together with what development was considered valuable by both staff and management. An interpretative case study methodology, using a dual approach of survey and semi-structured interviews with staff and management, probed what was happening in a little-understood situation in a university environment. This critical study built on a conceptual framework which regarded older workers as agentic and able to contribute as well as receive, while recognizing that older workers look to develop lifelong skills beyond the workplace. Workplace learning was seen from a broad, holistic life course perspective to include career progression. Forms of professional development, offering a ‘best fit’ to continue an effective working life of benefit to employer and employee, were explored. The main contribution of the thesis was to generate new perspectives about what was valued by professional staff and management in terms of the learning and professional development of older workers; the implications of what was valued and what it was to be engaged in professional development at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) as an older worker. It recommended strategic responses of interest to broader workplace settings into what supported older workforce retention. The research findings will be of benefit to academic research, policy-makers and practitioners.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Exploring professional development for older workers in the higher education workplace.
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Older workplaces, later life learning, professional development for older workers, higher education workplaces, professional staff in higher education workplaces
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1567966
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