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By DOMINIQUE PAUMES CAU-BAREILLE, J C Marquie, Paumes D Cau-Bareille, S Volkoff

This article introduces present educational pondering on paintings and age and describes ways that operating tools, the association of labor, and leading edge programmes (such as adapted education) could be brought to mirror extra effectively an intrinsic.

summary: this article introduces present educational considering on paintings and age and describes ways that operating tools, the association of labor, and cutting edge programmes (such as adapted education) could be brought to mirror extra correctly an intrinsic

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But, for this author, it is also a way in which our society denies its old age, while ‘we have entered without having really understood it, a new phase of our history, in which most of the people will reach old age. This situation is unprecedented and, what is even more difficult to grasp is that this change is final: our societies will never again be young’. Nevertheless, speaking only of France, the situation has evolved somewhat over the last 15 years in the areas of scientific and social research, particularly by taking account of the age of the workers in the national statistics (Levy, 1978), the major national surveys on working conditions (Volkoff and Molinié, 1982; Bué and Cristofari, 1986; Dussert and Vinck, 1993a), the launching of a longitudinal national survey on age and health at work (Derriennic, Touranchet and Volkoff, 1992; Volkoff, Touranchet and Derriennic in this volume), the creation of structures that associate the corporate world to the research work on this question (for instance, GIP-CRÉAPT24 created in 1991, the existence of programmes to encourage studies within enterprises (for instance, the programme ‘Ageing and Work’ launched by the French Labour Ministry in 1991), the CNRS action programme (Gracia, 1993), and the concerns of certain companies echoed by the ANACT (Agence Nationale pour l’Amélioration des Conditions de Travail—National Agency for the Improvement of Working Conditions)25.

For the enterprise, however, the consequences of these measures have gone far beyond the set objectives of reducing the excessive staff and restructuring the workforce. Meanwhile such means have neither achieved the expected result on the economic front nor have they contributed to reduce the unemployment. Guillemard (1993, p. 77) summarises the main problems that the last decade’s massive lay-offs of workers over 55 years of age have caused in the companies in the following way. The rise in the number of permanently inactive persons starting at 55 years has given rise to a crowd of ‘semi-old’ workers aged 45 to 50 years, whose career perspectives are short and who, consequently, have no longer any hope of advancement or of professional training’; ‘for some companies, early and massive departures of older employees have meant losses of expertise and of experience, thus causing nearly irreparable damage to the company culture’; ‘the massive early retirements have permitted the rejuvenation of the age pyramid but they have, on the other hand, compromised the fluidity of the young workers’ career development, which means a lack of motivation in their work’.

WAYS OF THINKING OUT THE AGE-WORK RELATIONSHIP 15 The workers’ age as the ‘blind spot’ in the enterprise In any enterprise, the main common feature regarding employee age stereotypes is that they are subject to concealment, not to say denial. In general, this is a non-problem. Thus, although acquiring more information about the workers’ adjustments to their physical and social environment and to the characteristics of their jobs is the predominant objective of the famous survey that Walker and Guest (1952) carried out starting in 1949 in the USA on ‘the man on the assembly line’ in the automobile industry, at no time does it mention problems connected with age.

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