Apprenticeships for Older Workers – Thinking Differently

National Apprenticeship week (14-18 March) is a celebration of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.


When we think about apprenticeships many will be surprised to learn they aren’t just for the young but are available for older workers too. In 2014/15, over 55,700 of those starting an apprenticeship were aged 45 to 59. A further 3,400 were aged over 60.


Minister for Pensions, Ros Altmann says:

“Apprenticeships are available to all and they give an opportunity to gain the skills and experience to succeed in a new field. This has potentially huge benefits for employers who may find an older apprentice brings extra knowledge to the role and transferable skills picked up in previous jobs.”


We’re living longer and our workforce is changing. The number of people aged 50 to State Pension age in Britain is expected to rise by 3.2 million between 2014 and 2024, while the number aged 16 to 49 will have reduced by 200,000.




Employers will increasingly need to employ and retain the skills and experience of older workers to remain competitive and avoid skills shortages in the future.


Last year Barclays Bank launched a mature apprenticeship scheme, giving older workers a chance at a new career. It involves people who are returning to work or starting a new career taking up apprenticeships, working in business areas such as contact centres, community banking and fraud offices.


Mike Thompson, Director of Apprenticeships at Barclays, says:

“Reskilling can be achieved at any age. Barclays has launched the Bolder Apprenticeship programme to demonstrate our commitment to creating career opportunities regardless of age.”


Find out more about apprenticeships and help and support for older workers on

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