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Older people are a valuable commodity to society, with extensive knowledge and life experience, yet in many cases we are not exploiting this. Although the ageing population does create a number of challenges for the world of work, it also provides numerous opportunities.

The most highlighted challenge probably relates to the decreasing birth rates, alongside increasing longevity and an increasing older generation, which will undoubtedly put a strain on the labour market. However, we need to look at the positive aspects of an ageing workforce and embrace these. We should be supporting the possibilities for entrepreneurship in old age and looking for solutions to allow those who wish to work longer to do so.

Technology has a role to play in the workplace, in allowing teams to collaborate remotely, so people don't have to go to the workplace each day. More flexible types of work need to be considered and employers have a responsibility to plan for their ageing workforce. Some companies, including BT, Centrica and Domestic and General Services, are further ahead than others and have been recognised for their 'age friendly employment practices'.

This theme is not only about support for individuals to work longer but about businesses. They need to be focusing on the knowledge management and skills transfer from their older employees back into the business. This is increasingly important in highly skilled industries, such as oil and gas, where the next 5-10 could spell a 'brain drain' with an exodus of experienced engineers leaving the industry. This calls for new ways of thinking in terms of how we work and capture knowledge.

ActiveAge is not only looking at the forms of paid employment. We are also examining the role of older people as carers and volunteers, providing a crucial role in society.