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Intergenenational learning for equity, diversity and inclusion at work

Intergenenational learning for equity, diversity and inclusion at work

One of ERASMUS+ main 4 priorities for the years 2021 – 2027 is Inclusion and Diversity in society. Recognising that different age groups of people experience discrimination based on age-related stereotypes, the LearnGen project aims at equitable access and equality for workers regardless of age.

Educating employees so that they can challenge social norms and stereotypes and be in a position to manage their own potential biases is a crucial step for promoting is an important step in promoting tolerance and the inclusion of diversity. As Verna Myers puts it: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance”.  In other words, for effective integration of diversity in the workplace it’s not enough to have different people in the employee group.  The appropriate infrastructure must exist to include everyone in learning, decision-making and development opportunities.

The LearnGen project focuses on 2 basic pillars of educational material and training:

1) Training people in key positions (managers / business owners, human resources executives and adult educators) so that they can positively influence intergenerational learning policies and processes and help their employees be included equally.

2) Training employees to be tolerant of age differences and to become mentors to people of a different generation from their own, helping each other to fill potential skills gaps.

Actions like these build a solid knowledge base by reducing any capacity gap in businesses. At the same time, relations between colleagues are strengthened. Both result in increased job satisfaction which leads to further employee productivity.

For more information on the LearnGen project actions, you can further explore this website and follow us on Facebook.

July 2021

Mentoring in the Bulgarian schools

Mentoring in the Bulgarian schools

Bulgaria is among the five EU members with the largest share of aging teachers, according to the Eurostat data.
Almost 20% of all Bulgarian teachers are aged 50- 54, as many are aged 55 to 59. Near 10% is the share of the teachers aged 60 to 64, and about 3% are teachers over 65. Thus, almost a half of the Bulgarian teachers are close to or over the retirement age.
The need for young teachers in the Bulgarian education sector has long been identified. This is one of the reasons why intergenerational mentoring is been applying very actively in this sector.
All university students of pedagogical departments pass compulsory internship at school, where they are guided by experienced, usually older, teachers. After graduating, young teachers continue to be mentored by experienced teachers.

There are obvious benefits from mentoring at schools for all stakeholders – for both adults and young professionals, but also for the school administration.

Young teachers obtain knowledge and develop their practical skills. Guided by experienced mentors, they design their own professional careers and learn to have effective communication with school students. On the other hand, the mentors develop their own professional skills by communicating with their younger colleagues.

In the digital world the mentoring process also takes the opposite direction. The younger teachers, being savvy in technologies, often become mentors for their older colleagues. They guide them how to digitalize the educational content, offering at the same time new approach to the school topics.

Indisputable are also the benefits for the school administration. The mentoring process increase the culture and professional level of the pedagogical staff, the interrelations in the school improve. As a result – better educational quality.

More about the mentoring in the teachers’ profession you can read in the annual scientific-theoretical journal “Pedagogical News” of the Ruse University – http://pedagogicnews.uni-ruse.bg.

Authors: BRCCI, Bulgaria

August 2021

Reverse mentoring and intergenerational learning; how similar are they?

Reverse mentoring and intergenerational learning; how similar are they?

In recent years, reverse mentoring and intergenerational learning seem to have a great impact on the contemporary workplace. According to research conducted by the University of Szczecin, in Western Poland, the efficacy of reverse mentoring depends on the level of engagement in the mentor/mentee relation and the level of organisational support – engagement of the officers, supportive organisational culture and atmosphere conductive to cooperation. Reverse mentoring can provide corporate leaders with valuable generational and cultural perspective, and foster inclusivity by bridging the gap between populations diverse in age, ethnicity, culture and gender. This way, organisations have the opportunity to benefit from truly diverse teams at the workplace fostering understanding and exchange of experiences. 

In recent years, reverse mentoring and intergenerational learning seem to have a great impact on the contemporary workplace. According to research conducted by the University of Szczecin, in Western Poland, the efficacy of reverse mentoring depends on the level of engagement in the mentor/mentee relation and the level of organisational support – engagement of the officers, supportive organisational culture and atmosphere conductive to cooperation. Reverse mentoring can provide corporate leaders with valuable generational and cultural perspective, and foster inclusivity by bridging the gap between populations diverse in age, ethnicity, culture and gender. This way, organisations have the opportunity to benefit from truly diverse teams at the workplace fostering understanding and exchange of experiences. tor/mentee relation and the level of organisational support – engagement of the officers, supportive organisational culture and atmosphere conductive to cooperation. Reverse mentoring can provide corporate leaders with valuable generational and cultural perspective, and foster inclusivity by bridging the gap between populations diverse in age, ethnicity, culture and gender. This way, organisations have the opportunity to benefit from truly diverse teams at the workplace fostering understanding and exchange of experiences. 

“Reverse Mentoring: a solution to bridge the age gap in the workplace”

“Reverse Mentoring: a solution to bridge the age gap in the workplace”

The proactive management of equality, diversity and inclusion are increasingly important to the culture of a company and how it operates today. Many organisations are striving to break down barriers, promote inclusivity and look at ways to retain existing employees. When we consider it, the term “generation gap” has never been more relevant than it is today with up to five generations working side by side – from the baby boomers born between the mid-1940s and the mid-1960s to Generation Z, who were born after 1995.

Today’s workforce challenges management with a wide ranging life experience and age gap to plug, not least because technology has changed the working environment so much since the baby boomers entered the labour market initially. Reverse Mentoring, a concept first made popular in the 1990’s, is a possible solution to bridge the age and generational gap within the workforce.

Reserve or reciprocal mentoring was initially a way to close the skills gap and introduce new technology to senior managers using a basic mentor partnership but reversed. For example, a younger employee would ‘mentor’ an older, more senior employee. The senior employee, usually management, could then take on board the ideas and have the power to support implementation within the business. For the reverse mentoring relationship to work, it must have clear objectives and take place at fairly regular intervals; although the arrangement need not be too formal or rigid. Mentors and mentees should be at ease with the arrangement so they receive the most value from it. Like any form of mentoring, reverse mentoring in any organisation should be based on trust, confidentiality, mutual respect and sensitivity.

Reverse Mentoring is a bridge-building exercise between the generations where the conversation can range from integrating new digital communications tools to discussing what younger people believe the world of work should look like. “Reverse mentoring is a two-way street,” says Mary Harrison, chief executive of business training and support company, Optimum. “The results can be tangible and invaluable in helping today’s leaders to drive a stronger and more robust business and providing tomorrow’s leaders with an opportunity to experience a view from the top.”

Professor Karl Moore from the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University suggests some more subtle ways of reverse mentoring: ‘These include things like sending your mentee articles to read, suggestions of TED talks to watch, or things that struck you that you want to share with them. You might also want to set up a time to have coffee and discuss the material you sent them and how it might apply to the business.’

For more on the LearnGen Project, please visit us at www.learngen.eu

Author: Future in Perspective, Ireland

August 2021

“Ageism is alive and kicking in Ireland”

“Ageism is alive and kicking in Ireland”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the topic of ageism in the workplace to the forefront of our minds. In March 2021, a staggering 59% of young people aged between 15 – 24 years were unemployed. Often in low-income jobs that have been hit heavily by the pandemic, young people have been indirectly pushed out of the labour market. Did you know that age-related discrimination occurs when individuals are mistreated, or cannot access the same opportunities, as other individuals, solely based on their age?  Not only does ageism in the workplace occur for the youth of Ireland, but older workers are often disregarded from employment opportunities as they are seen to be too costly and due to retire soon. By comparison, it is estimated that in the US, bias against older workers alone can cost the US economy up to $850 billion annually.

Ageism in the workplace can take many forms, and often happens when workers are applying and interviewing for new roles. Younger workers may not have the required skills or knowledge to be able to apply for more senior roles, whereas older workers may be seen as ‘too experienced’ and ‘too expensive’ for a role. Often, workers from minority groups face higher levels of ageism in the workplace as they simply cannot afford to change their job.

Ageism in the workplace can affect workers, colleagues and even the wider community. Age-related discrimination is often swept under the carpet and not recognised or identified. Commonly, ageist phrases in the workplace include statements such as ‘You’re ancient!’; ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’; ‘You’re too slow’.  However, high profile legal cases in recent years have highlighted that individuals of all ages can be victims of ageism at the workplace.

Often age-related discrimination occurs when individuals are seeking work but are refused solely on the grounds of their age. In November 2020, two men aged 35 were awarded over €12,000 after being refused entry to An Garda Síochana (Irish Police Force) between 2005 and 2007 based on an upper age limit within the force. Victim Ronald Boyle has pleaded with the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, to abolish this upper age limit of 35 years to ‘bring an end to this ongoing prejudice’.

Ageism in the workplace has the potential to destroy intergenerational camaraderie and peer support within the workplace. Ireland is currently at a pivotal junction and if age-related discrimination is continued to be swept under the carpet and not addressed appropriately workplaces could see increasing amounts of prejudice towards people of all ages.

The LearnGen project is working with partners across Europe to address workplace ageism and create a series of educational tools and resources that can be used by HR professionals, team leaders and managers to promote intergenerational learning and equality in the workplace.


Intergenerational learning and inclusion of all people regardless of age at the workplace

Intergenerational learning and inclusion of all people regardless of age at the workplace

We often experience or become aware of age bias.  Such biases exist in all facets of life, including work life.  For example, we may observe employers refusing to invest in the further development and training of employees of a certain age or employer who are reluctant to give work involving decision making to younger employees.  This type of bias leads to the alienation of a significant part of the workforce and their exclusion from learning and training opportunities aiming at increasing their efficiency and the productivity of their employers.

The ERASMUS + European project entitled τίτλο LearnGen: Intergenerational Mentoring and Learning in the Workplace deals with intergenerational learning as a significant tool for inclusion and interaction between younger people (aged between 18 and 30 years old) and older people (aged 50+) at the place of work.  Through the development of this project we aim to inform companies, managers and adult training educators about the benefits of including all employees in the workplace regardless of age to cultivate social cohesion and acceptance of intergenerational differences.

Intergenerational learning is defined as the way in which people of different generations can transfer knowledge to each other. When different generations work together to exchange views, impart knowledge and values, and develop skills through their interaction, it becomes an important aspect of lifelong learning that is significant to all people regardless of age. Through intergenerational learning, mutual understanding and the development of an educational relationship are promoted, while at the same time the generational gap phenomenon is reduced.

How can intergenerational learning be developed? An important way is deliberate and systematic guidance. Most of us are familiar with the concept of a Mentor at work who is usually a more experienced, frequently older person who takes care of a less experienced, often young person to teach him/her some things.  Equally important though is reverse mentoring where the younger person undertakes to teach some knowledge to an older colleague.  Young people, in addition to having the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and experiences of older people, also have a lot to teach respectively, mainly digital skills, technological challenges and literacy on social media.

The LearnGen project aims to develop training materials for organizations, employers and employees so that they can integrate mentoring into their training and human resource development programs and develop the necessary skills that the opposite generation can teach them.

For more articles on the subject of intergenerational learning and post updates about the LearnGen project you can follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/learngeneu/about/?ref=page_internal

Ageism in the workplace in the world and in Czech Republic

Ageism in the workplace in the world and in Czech Republic

What is ageism?

The term ageism was first used by the American psychiatrist Robert Butler in a 1968 Washington Post article in the context of segregated housing policy. In 1975, Butler in his book “Why Survive? Being Old in America “develops the term, and in 1979 “ageism” was first included in “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.” The original and perhaps most widespread definition of ageism speaks of a process of systematic stereotyping and discrimination of people for their age (Butler 1975). The term is sometimes described by the synonym “age discrimination”.

Let’s zoom in to Europe and the Czech republic. The concept of ageism is gradually entering the Czech professional dictionary too. The first attempt at a comprehensive presentation of the phenomenon of age discrimination in the Czech context is the work of Mgr. Lucie Vidovićová, Ph.D. (2005), who defined ageism as follows:

 “Ageism – Age Discrimination is an ideology based on a shared belief in the qualitative inequalities of the various stages of the human life cycle. It manifests itself through a process of systematic, symbolic and real stereotyping and discrimination of persons and groups on the basis of their chronological age and / or their affiliation to certain generations. “

Ageism in the workplace

Ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination against people based on their age – is pervasive and experienced by both younger and older participants in the labour market. Many older workers face ageism when looking for new jobs, training opportunities and career development or are pushed to leave into early retirement in times of economic recession. Ageism in the labour market is prevalent and costly to businesses who do not make the most of the potential of their ageing workforce. At the individual level, ageism has been shown to negatively affect health and well-being and can reduce life expectancy by up to 7.5 years.

Ageism is costly for both employers and employees, and for societies at large. Recently PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimated that if member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) increased the employment rate of those aged over 55 to match that of New Zealand (where it is highest), this could boost total OECD GDP by around USD 3.5 trillion in the long run. (PwC 2018, p. 18.)

Labour market in Czech republic

Perceptions of chronological age play an important role in the labour market. A survey among Czech adults aged 18–80 in 2012 showed that among those who feel that their age is important during their working life (79 per cent of the sample in 2012) the vast majority feels that their age is a critical factor in being hired or dismissed, offered training, a promotion or when salary levels are being decided upon (see graph below).


  Zdroj: Vidovićová 2008: 169 (for 2003 & 2007); Survey Ageismus 2012 for data for 2012. Reprezentativní vzorek populace v České republice, věk 18 – 80 let.

World Health Organisation (WHO) call to action

WHO published a global report on ageism in March 2021. The report states that both older and younger adults are often disadvantaged in the workplace and access to specialized training and education decline significantly with age. Ageism against younger people manifests across many areas such as employment, health, housing and politics where younger people’s voices are often denied or dismissed.

The report notes that policies and laws that address ageism, educational activities that enhance empathy and dispel misconceptions, and intergenerational activities that reduce prejudice all help decrease ageism.

All countries and stakeholders are encouraged to use evidence-based strategies, improve data collection and research and work together to build a movement to change how we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, and to advance progress on the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing.

“Ageism towards younger and older people is prevalent, unrecognized, unchallenged and has far-reaching consequences for our economies and societies,” said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “Together, we can prevent this. Join the movement and combat ageism.” 

Author: Jana Kyriakou





International study of intergenerational family business

International study of intergenerational family business

The first part of a large scientific study, named Intergenerational Family Businesses as a Stress Management Instrument for Entrepreneurs, has been published. It has been compiled by an international academic network created under the INTERGEN project.

The purpose of this publication is to describe the results of an international research under INTERGEN about some attitudes in the students to choose the idea of family business. This psychological background is upgraded with analyses of their business expectations.

The network INTERGEN was launched in 2018; initially it conducted researches among students of 12 universities from 6 countries. The studies’ focus was on entrepreneurial attitudes in intergenerational family businesses. In 2020 more academic centers from Asia and Europe joint the network.

After the pandemic begun, the network went on working by moving into the cyberspace. The first online meetings were accomplished with the participation of scientists from 22 academic institutions from 8 countries of 2 continents – Albania, Bulgaria, Iran, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Uzbekistan.

The network aims to improve the understanding of the role of intergenerational family business for the development of students as entrepreneurs.

The international study, published by Angel Kanchev University of Ruse, Bulgaria, one of the active members of the INTERGEN network, can be read in English and downloaded at http://www.intergen-theory.eu/results.html.

Mindshift team speaks about intergenerational mentoring and learning

Mindshift team speaks about intergenerational mentoring and learning

Ana Loya, CEO

In 1920, Erich Scheurnmann wrote the The Papalagui, a literary masterpiece that proves us that the way different cultures see the work can create insurmountable barriers in communication. Ageism is one of the greatest communication enemies within a culture. Since this prejudice affects mainly older people, it is necessary that they open up to learn with the youngest about new ways of communication, otherwise both generations will only coexist in parallel worlds.


Hugo Bernardes, Partner

In the current civilisational paradigm shift with the digital transformation of organisations and societies, generational cross mentoring programmes are one of the most effective techniques to boost dual learning. Seniors pass on their working experience and knowledge to the youngest and these teach the most experienced to know and use digital tools and new forms of communication.


Isabel Nunes, Director

Paraphrasing the American film director Steven Spielberg, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” I see mentoring relationships as a unique way to promote intergenerational learning, personal and professional growth, and networking opportunities.


Sandra Araújo, Project Manager

From the ancient Greek, the word mentor designates someone who gives a younger and less experienced person guidance and counselling. In times of accelerated technological change, intergenerational mentoring is a win-win approach to foster knowledge sharing and exchange of experiences. Introducing a healthy shift on the power relations within organisations, reverse mentoring helps to build sustainable work relationships and collaborative learning processes, which are key to foster inclusive work environments.


Célia Tavares, Project Manager

A Portuguese journalist, Catarina Nunes, once said: “one day, the world will be a great place where nobody is seen as old but rather as someone further down the path of life”. Fostering relations between different generations is a way to achieve that utopia. Learning happens all the time. Intergenerational learning is, as I would dare to say, life itself.



Ana Paulino, Project Manager

I believe intergenerational learning is a place of relation and empathy, between younger and older, beginners and experts, where stories and competencies are shared to nourish each other’s growth. It is the unique opportunity to preserve our roots, rebuild our circumstances, and act as changemakers of our futures, effectively creating meaning from being together and establishing strong bonds with others.



Vasco Gaião, Project Manager

Among different strategies that exist for companies to deal positively with an ageing working population, there is — in addition to traditional mentoring — reverse mentoring. This strategy brings together younger employees as mentors of older employers to train them on topics that are usually better mastered by young people, such as new technologies and digital tools. This way, reverse mentoring plays an important role in bridging the gap across generations in the workplace.


About Mindshift

Mindshift Talent Advisory is a consulting company specialised in Human Resources that invests in the performance and upskilling of people’s competences, focusing on boosting the digital and interpersonal maturity in organisations and society.

At a European level, Mindshift operates as a strategic partner in developing innovative solutions in the field of education and training. To ensure the impact of every cooperation project, we work in close cooperation with local partners representing a range of NGOs, educational providers, social economy players, different business sectors, professional networks and public bodies.

Currently, Mindshift’s key-areas of action are upskilling & reskilling; inclusion & employability; sustainable development; women empowerment; entrepreneurship & creativity; and digital talent.

Mindshift brings together a team of staff with various backgrounds and professional experience, based in three regions of Portugal: Lisbon, Centre, and Oporto.

Motion Digital, who we are and our contribution to LearnGen project

Motion Digital, who we are and our contribution to LearnGen project

Motion Digital is a start-up founded in 2019 in Czech Republic, in Prague – the heart of Europe. Our mission is to enrich people’s lives in a sustainable environment through technology, exponential growth, and human development. And our core purpose is to empower lifelong learners to take control of their lives and drive systemic changes which improve the quality of life.

We are proud to embrace our main values of:

  •  Diversity & Inclusion
  •  Responsibility & Sustainability
  •  Growth Mindset
  •  Honesty & Integrity

As part of our mission we are connecting with other organisations and educational institutions in Europe with a similar goal. We work together on international projects with the theme of wellbeing, inclusion and sustainability funded by Erasmus+.

We are a proud partner of a multi-country consortium, working together on a project called LearnGen: Intergenerational Mentoring and Learning in the Workplace. The focus of the project is to address the issues of ageism and social exclusion in the workplace as evidenced by the bias, discrimination and segregation of marginalized workers.  Both older workers as well as young workers need to develop the necessary core skills to teach and learn from each other. According to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), 70% of EU workers need at least moderate digital skills to perform their tasks. These are becoming core skills needed for their employability and career success. This is especially a big issue for older employees (age 55+) who face discimination in employment and access to goods and services (40% of EU citizens believe there is widespread age discrimination in their country according to the 2019 Eurobarometer).

At Motion Digital, we are very excited to embark on this project and the impact that we can make in our community. Our team and our partners will develop and disseminate a curriculum which will be accessed and used by many trainers, HR professionals and other managers. Through this we aspire to help older workers narrow their generational gap and younger workers to improve their skills, in the pursuit of improving intergenerational learning for both groups, empowering them and confidently integrating them in the workplace.

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