Project Silver- an inclusive approach

The Grundtvig SILVER project aimed to develop a unique holistic and inclusive approach for intergenerational learning among knowledge workers, by addressing the difficulties of implementing it in an organisation. With this 2-year-long project we aimed to contribute to the development of the European Union as an advanced knowledge-based society by helping organisations implement lifelong intergenerational learning in order to capitalize on ageing workers’ capacities.

Project Silver

Both EU and reports from each of the member states involved in the project pointed to large gaps in available workforces due to (early) retirements and ageing. According to CEDEFOP, the percentage of employees aged 55-64 has been rising rapidly as a percentage of the total working population, and will continue to do so. These gaps will be in sectors that require low-skilled workers as well as those where highly qualified workers are active – the focus of this project. The demographic changes have two consequences relevant to this project:

  • organisations will need to keep employees in service longer and
  • organisations – in both private and public sectors – will need to rely on ageing employees for innovation, change, development and capacity building.

Early retirements, underutilization of older workers and loss of critical knowledge will be major problems in many parts of the economy in the EU, especially in education, health and in industry. In SME’s and other family-owned businesses it will create problems around succession issues. The challenge is to find ways to retain and reuse critical knowledge for the organisation while at the same time providing learning opportunities for older workers to remain learn productive, motivated, innovative and employable.

One way to help these problems is to assure that organisations are able to promote lifelong learning and innovation between the generations, from now on referred to as intergenerational learning or IGL (Ropes, 2010b)