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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
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Contents >> Education and Training >> Article - Skilling mature age Australians for work

SKILLING MATURE AGE AUSTRALIANS FOR WORK

Over recent years, issues associated with the ageing of the Australian population have received increased attention from governments and researchers. In the context of education and training, improving the capacity of mature age people for work and supporting their retention in the workforce have been identified as key policy areas. This article examines work-related training undertaken, by selected characteristics of mature age Australians.

For the purposes of this article, mature age people are those aged 45-64 years. Data from the periodic Survey of Education and Training - a household survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) - are used to explore selected characteristics of mature age people who completed work-related training courses in the twelve-month period prior to the survey. The surveys collected information from individuals, about their participation in education and training and their educational attainment. Information about work-related training focuses on structured learning activities undertaken primarily to obtain, maintain or improve employment-related skills or competencies.

PEOPLE COMPLETING WORK-RELATED TRAINING

In the period 2001 to 2005, the number of 15-64 year olds completing training courses increased from 4.8 million to 5.3 million, while the number of mature age people completing training courses increased from 1.5 million to 1.8 million. The proportion of all 15-64 year olds completing training who were mature age also increased, from 31% to 35%, in the period.

In 2005, mature age people completing training courses equally represented their share of all training completers, when compared with the overall population. The proportion of all training completers 15-64 years who were mature age was 35%, the same as the proportion of mature age people in the total 15-64 years population.

Of the 1.8 million people in 2005 aged 45-64 years completing training courses, 1.2 million were younger mature age (45-54 years) and 0.6 million were older mature age (55-64 years) people.

Over the period 2001 to 2005, the growth of mature age course completers was 21%. While this growth differed little between males and females (21% and 22% respectively), there was a notable difference in growth between the younger and older mature age groups. For example, 55-64 year old course completers increased by 47% over the period, compared with an increase of 12% for 45-54 year olds (table S10.1). Equivalent growth over the same period for people aged 25-44 years was much lower, at 3%.


S10.1 PERSONS COMPLETING TRAINING COURSES

Age group (years)
2001
2005

MALES ('000)

25-44
1,340.3
1,440.2
45-54
571.4
630.1
55-64
207.7
311.3

FEMALES ('000)

25-44
1,188.1
1,167.2
45-54
515.6
592.0
55-64
166.9
239.1

Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Education and Training.


PEOPLE COMPLETING MORE THAN ONE TRAINING COURSE

Of the 5.3 million people at 2005 aged 15-64 years, who reported they had completed at least one work-related training course in the last twelve months, 2.8 million were men and 2.5 million were women. Overall, people more frequently reported completing more than one training course (57%), than one course only (43%).

In 2005, a greater proportion of mature age women completed more than one training course, than did mature age men (63% and 56%, respectively). However, the proportion of people completing multiple training courses varied more with age group for males, than it did for females. For instance, men aged 25-44 years more frequently completed multiple training courses (59%), than their mature age counterparts (53%). The respective difference for females by comparison, was 60% for 25-44 years and 62% for 55-64 years (graph S10.2).

S10.2 PERSONS COMPLETING MORE THAN ONE TRAINING COURSE - 2005



WORK-RELATED TRAINING AND LABOUR FORCE STATUS

In the period 2001 to 2005, people employed full time, have continued to comprise the greatest share of all people completing work-related training courses. In 2001, 69% of all 15-64 year old course completers were employed full time, increasing to 71% by 2005. Similarly, most of the 1.8 million mature age course completers in 2005 were employed full time (72%, unchanged from 2001). A further 21% were employed part time, 2% were unemployed and 4% were not in the labour force (table S10.3).

There is a strong relationship between the completion of training courses and the labour force participation of mature age people. In 2005, 96% of all mature age training course completers were in the labour force. This compares with 56% of mature age people who did not complete a training course, but were in the labour force, comprising 37% employed full time, 17% employed part time and 2% unemployed 4%. The remaining 43% of mature age non-course completers were not in the labour force.



S10.3 PERSONS COMPLETING TRAINING COURSES, By labour force status - 2005

Age group (years)

25-44
45-54
55-64
45-64




2001
2005
2001
2005
2001
2005
2001
2005

MALES ('000)

Employed full time
1,196.9
1,307.4
511.9
576.4
161.6
249.5
673.5
825.9
Employed part time
79.6
84.6
36.7
35.6
32.5
35.0
69.2
70.6
Unemployed
42.6
28.8
13.7
9.4
3.0
8.6
16.7
18.0
Not in labour force
21.3
19.2
9.0
8.7
10.6
18.1
19.6
26.8

FEMALES ('000)

Employed full time
637.4
691.7
301.2
343.7
72.7
109.9
373.8
453.6
Employed part time
452.2
390.5
186.4
209.5
72.4
98.7
258.8
308.2
Unemployed
29.3
25.5
8.0
14.4
2.2
6.2
10.1
20.6
Not in labour force
69.2
59.6
20.1
24.4
19.7
24.3
39.7
48.7

Source: ABS data available on request, 2005 Survey of Education and Training.


Mature age men in 2005 who completed work-related training courses, were most frequently engaged in full-time employment, and to a much greater extent than their female counterparts (86% and 55% respectively). Some 37% of mature age women completing courses, were engaged in part-time employment compared with 8% of their male counterparts. These differences can in part be explained by differences in the overall labour status of mature age men and women. Data from the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey indicates mature age women are less likely to be employed full time than mature age men, but are more likely to be employed part time than mature age men. At May 2005, 32% of 45-64 year old women were employed full time and a further 28% were employed part time, whereas 68% of males of the same age group were employed full time, and 8% were employed part time.

In 2005, the labour force status of 45-54 year and 55-64 year-old mature age course completers, differed notably. Younger mature aged men and women were more frequently engaged in full-time employment, than older mature age males or females. On the other hand, older mature age course completers were more frequently employed part time or not in the labour force at all, than younger mature age course completers. In 2005, 92% of males and 58% of females aged 45-54 years completing training, were employed full time. This compares with 80% of males and 46% of females aged 55-64 years.

SUPPORT FOR WORK-RELATED TRAINING WHILE WORKING

Table S10.4 shows the number of work-related training courses completed while the course participant was working, and whether or not the participant received any support for that training. Support for the course participant may have been provided as an employee training course, organised and delivered by the participant's employer. Alternatively the participant may have received financial support, such as paid time off or study leave, payment of fees, materials or accommodation expenses.

An estimated 11.2 million work-related training courses were completed by all people aged 15-64 years in 2005. The majority of these courses (96%) were completed while course participants were working. Of the 10.7 million training courses completed by 15-64 year olds in 2005 while working, most courses completed were supported (80%), and two-thirds of those were employee training courses.

In 2005, almost all courses completed by mature age people (97%), were completed while the course participants were working, most frequently supported as employee training courses, especially those courses completed by women. However, an overall decline in the proportion of employee training courses completed by mature age people (from 62% in 2001 to 49% in 2005) coincides with an increased share of training courses receiving financial support (from 18% in 2001 to 27% in 2005).

In 2005, 55% of courses completed by older mature age women were employee training courses; notably higher than the 40% of courses completed by older mature age men. In contrast, there was little difference in training courses receiving financial support that were completed by females (29%) and males (28%) aged 45-54 years.


S10.4 TRAINING COURSES COMPLETED WHILE WORKING, Whether participant supported or not(a) - 2005

Age group (years)

25-44
45-54
55-64
45-64

MALES ('000)

Received financial support
852.3
362.3
149.1
511.5
Did not receive financial support
627.3
335.2
210.3
545.5
Employee training course
1,543.6
612.9
237.4
850.3

FEMALES ('000)

Received financial support
681.4
381.5
122.2
503.7
Did not receive financial support
412
229.9
102.2
332.1
Employee training course
1,347.8
682.1
271.1
953.3

(a) Excludes owner managers of incorporated enterprises
Source: ABS data available on request, 2005 Survey of Education and Training.


Courses completed by mature age people while working were less likely to be supported than courses completed by 25-44 year olds while working. This was especially the case for courses completed by older mature age men in 2005, where 35% of courses received no financial support. For courses completed by younger mature age males that proportion was 26% and for 25-44 year old males the proportion was 21% (graph S10.5).


S10.5 TRAINING COURSES COMPLETED WHILE WORKING, Without financial support - 2005



BARRIERS TO WORK-RELATED TRAINING

Of the 5.3 million people aged 15-64 years in 2005 who had completed at least one training course, 2.7 million wanted to do further training. The most frequent main reason reported for not doing more training courses, was having too much work (19%). While men of this age group more frequently reported too much work (23%) as the main barrier to further training, women more frequently reported personal or family reasons (20%) as the main barrier to further training.

Graph S10.6 identifies the most frequently cited main barriers to further training among mature age people as being too much work and no time. However, the influence of some of the barriers differs between younger and older mature age people. Where 24% of younger mature age people reported too much work as the main reason for not doing more training, 17% of older mature age people reported that reason. Similarly, personal or family reasons were more frequently reported as the main barrier to further training, by older than younger mature age people. On the other hand, there was little difference between younger and older mature age people reporting either no time or financial reasons as barriers to further training.

S10.6 MAIN REASON FOR NOT DOING MORE TRAINING, By age group - 2006



Similarly, graph S10.7 indicates that the main reason for not doing more training, differed between mature age men and women. While 27% of mature age men reported that too much work was the main barrier to further training, mature age women equally reported too much work and no time as the main barriers (both 17%). A notably greater proportion of mature age women reported personal or family reasons as the main barrier to further training, than did mature age men (16% and 7% respectively).

S10.7 MAIN REASON FOR MATURE AGE PERSONS NOT DOING MORE TRAINING(a) - 2005



While more mature age people have completed work-related training courses in 2005, than in 2001, there were differences between mature age male and mature age women course completers, at 2005. Mature age females were more likely to complete multiple work-related training courses and were less likely to be employed full time than mature age men.

There were also differences between course completers of mature age, when compared with the younger 25-44 years age group. Mature age people were less likely to receive financial support for training courses completed while working, and were more likely to report too much work as the main barrier to completing further training, than people aged 25-44 years.

REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2005, Australian Labour Market Statistics (6105.0), ABS, Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2005, Education and Training Experience, Australia 2005 (6278.0), ABS, Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2005, Mature Age Persons Statistical Report: Education and Training (4905.0.55.001), ABS, Canberra.

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