A third career

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A third career

Aarhus, Denmark
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A third career organizes workshops empowering people to tackle the challenges in the third age and adresses age-friendly practices in companies.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

To retire from working life is one of the most difficult changes and transitions in life and one of the most important social problems to address in all EU member states. Many people do not think, that leaving the working week behind and getting ultimate freedom will be a problem. In addition, there is a general lack of public awareness of all the radical changes retirees will have to go through in the process of retirement. Ways of retirement may be as flexible as careers before retirement. Consequently it is need to qualify seniors for making an appropriate decision: on when and how to retire, and in a way not just following fixed retirement ages or standard retirement patterns. Just as most other transitions of a lifetime, the process of retirement may be considered and decided upon. Not only for one’s own welfare, but for the needs of society as well. Retirement patterns happens to make contributions to the state of economies and welfare of all EU member states. At many workplaces senior employees often are looked upon as a uniform group of old people instead of a diverse group of individuals with different kind of experience valuable for the workplace. In order to improve age-friendly practices at workplaces it is necessary to address new knowledge and new concepts on older workers to the key-role players and decion-makers at workplaces: Managers, HR consultants and shop stewards.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

When confronting important changes in life, many people have found that good counselling and coaching can be a lifeline. The project ’A Third Career’ organizes pre-retirement workshops at local level for senior employees - and in companies for managers and shop stewards. The workshops for senior employees mark a breakthrough in prolonging working lives and rethinking new third age careers filled with purpose, passion and - maybe - a paycheck. Instead of traditional retirement where you just observe from the side-line, a growing number of the new 60+ generation of healthy and better-educated seniors decide to continue being a part of the game and keep on contributing - at workplaces and in voluntary work. It is interesting to notice that, when you enter the labour market, there are many good counselling opportunities that you can easily access. But when you leave the labour market and confront one of the most difficult changes in life, there is nothing! - except maybe some advice on financial issues from a bank or pension fund. Pre-retirement workshops with the focus on continuing contribution at workplaces and in the civil society are a rather new concept, providing counselling and coaching for seniors entering the difficult process of transition into retirement. The workshops for managers, HR consultants and shop stewards provides decions-makers at the workplaces alternative knowledge and images of experienced employees instead of outdated stereotypes - in order to improve age-friendly practices at companies. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in retirement patterns. A paradigm shift which now have become visible in different types of pre-retirement counselling. Traditional courses - normally held in week-ends for seniors with their partners - have a primary focus on economy and retirement as leisuretime and activities in the private sphere with grandchildren, travel, gardening etc. It is all fine acitivities but to the new generations of 60-70-years -the baby-boomers - it's not a totally rewarding answer to what's going to happen in the life for the last 20-30 years. A growing number wants to continue contributing and being a part of the game - and thats what my concept of a pre-retirement workshop facilitate and support.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The three core values or secret ingredients of the pre-retirement workshop is: Counselling, Reflexion and Dialogue. Counselling: We comprehend the world with the concepts we have. To understand the new lifestage we need new concepts reflecting the new reality. That's what the counselling provide with a focus on the following themes during a 2-days workshop: Health habits and the difficulties in changing them, the importance of having a network, competencies and how to develop and unfold them in working life and after, and goals, goals, goals for the third age. Reflexion: To assist each participant to find his or hers own goal for the third career and how to prolong the third age, where you are independent before the fourth age with lack of health - the workshop provides excersizes and time for reflexion. Dialogue: To be encouraged to choose your own way instead of following standard retirement patterns - the dialogues with other participants provides a comfort zone, where you can imagine and speak out about the first fumbling ideas of your own third career and just as important - get inspired by listening to the other participants images and pictures of their third career.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Pension Funds, Age organizations and a few private consultants have in the last 10-20 years offered week-end courses for their members and for customers with the focus on pension, economical matters and retirement as leisure-time activities and playgrounds for adults. They have recently incorporated issues on health and ageing. I don't see them as a challenge to my concept - all though they of course have the power to enter the stage - and they are most welcome. What is needed in general is a common awareness that all people need good counselling and time for reflexion and dialogue before one of the most difficult life transitions leaving the working life behind. All initiatives and entrepeneurs contributing to create this awareness is welcome. As we are in the midst of a paradigm shift of retirement patterns, I think that both existing concepts supporting retirement as a bridge to leisuretime activities are welcome as well as newer concepts supporting retirement as a process on developing a career in the third age filled with purpose and passion and maybe a paycheck.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


Implementer(s) and cooperation partners

A third career


Public body

Country where main implementer is located

, AR, Aarhus

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

A third career - is a project organized in the city of Aarhus and financed by funding (from European, national and regional level) and by payment from companies. It's the goal to support the development of age-friendly activities in companies and to support senior employees to develop and unfold their competencies as long as possible creating their own new career in the third age.

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Cooperation partner

The Department of Employment in the City of Aarhus


Public body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

The partner provides contacts to local companies and to senior employees - both target groups for the project.

Cooperation partner

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How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Cooperation partner

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How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Cooperation partner

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How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Personalized health management, Independent living solutions, Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:

Age-friendly practices in companies and in the civil society

Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

The initial funding in 2007 from regional level was annonced under the title: development of human ressources according to retention of senior employees. The highligting of 'development of ressources' was most inspiring in the historical context: that olders workers just ought to leave their job.
A third careers first prototype model of a pre-retirement workshop for senior employees was developed in cooperation with a group of acquaintances and stakeholders, I invited from: a local health center,a voluntary organization, a trade union, a private company, a youth counselling unit and from a bank. The knowledge and know-how they provided at the inital phase is still central to the concept of my pre-retirement workshop.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

The project 'A third career' was evaluated by en external evaluator in april 2013. In the report it is stated twice, that the workshop model developed and implemented in the project, has had a great influence of the design of a new law in Denmark launched in June 2013. The law is called 'Senior packages'. It's the goal to improve age-friendly practices in companies - and an important part of the senior packages is a pre-retirement workshop for senior employees built on the concept of and experiences from the pre-retirement workshops from A third career.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for more than 5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

substitutive (your solutions is substituting existing solutions because they do not meet needs or solve the problem appropriately)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

Though both the senior themselves, the workplaces and the society benefit of the outcome of pre-retirement workshops it is still not clear - who are going to pay for the pre-retirement workshops. It is easy to list the stakeholders, but more difficult to give a clear and unique answer on the financing of pre-retirement workshops.
The senior employees - yes of course, but many don't see the transition from working life as a problem - so why pay upfront.
The Companies - yes and no. On one hand they will benefit of more motivated employees, On the other hand - why pay for a workshop also qualifying for the time after they have left the workplace.
You can also find pro et contras on the initial financing question at other stakeholders as the trade unions, the pension funds, the states and the EU.
The way I plan to overcome this barrier is built on few but rather successful solutions, where the workshops are organized on workplaces and financed in a mix from companies and from the senior employees themselves.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees






External advisers and experts


Others (please specify)
What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

I have a ph.d. in adult education from the University of Aarhus and 25 years of experience in project management form the City of Aarhus running projects on empowering target groups as unemployed academics, immigrants - often in cooperation with partners form other EU member states.
Former team members from the Department of Employment in the City of Aarhus were experienced in counselling unemployed and in finding job openings at companies.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

The organization of the overall project A third career has changed during the last 5 years. In the whole period I have been running all the workshops - sometimes assisted with a guest teacher, During a period of two years (2011-12) I had four employees in the project. In this period we also got the responsibility for unemployed seniors counselling the unemployed and cooperating with companies trying to improve their ways of recruiting senior employees.
In all the years if have managed the project with reference to different steering group members representing the main stakeholders,

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

in 2013: 130.000 € - in 2011-12: 350.000 €

National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)

10% trade unions funding

Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

The workshops of A third career are targeting three groups:
1) Pre-retirement workshops for senior employees from 55 to 70 years. Normally it can be difficult to organize workshops for a group with different levels of education, but in these workshops higher and lower educated in general work very fine together. It's the experience that more women than men attend the workshops.
2) Workshops for shop stewards with the purpose to empower them to improve age-friendly practices in Companies.
3) Workshops for managers and HR consultants to support their age-friendly activities.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.


In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

In the region Midtjylland, Denmark with the City of Aarhus as the center

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

Its the goal, that senior employees will:
Be more conscious on their own competencies, and continually develop and use them as long as possible. Be able to see through traditional images and stereotypes on ageing and retirement and not to let their new life be predicted by outdated prejudices. Be able to create his or her own tailor-made way to a meaningful and fullfilling career in the third age - on the job and after the last full-time job.
It's the goal for the workshops for managers and shop stewards that more workplaces will improve their retention and recruitment of older workers

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

Confronting a radical lifechange and leaving the working-life behind people need good counselling and time for reflexion and dialogue. When all member states in EU has created such opportunities for employees 55+ the mission of A third career is fulfilled.
Pre-retirement workshops on local level with the focus on continuing development of seniors competencies and continuing contribution has shown to be a shortcut to active ageing.
In a way pre-retirement workshops for senior employees might be one of the best answers to the demographic challenge facing all EU member states.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

An external evaluation of pre-retirement workshops for 500 senior employees shows, that
35-40% of the participants decided - to stay longer on the job
35-40% of the participants decided – to improve their health habbits and keep fit
40-45% of the participants decided – to spend more time on voluntary work
95% of the participants are satisfied with the workshops (of these are 53% very much satisfied)

Evaluation of workshops for 60 shop steward shows that, 90% are satisfied with the workshops and that they feel better prepared to tackle the challenges concerning age-friendly practices

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts), External evaluation of impacts based on qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc.), External evaluation of impacts based on quantitative methods (quantitative measurement of impact indicators).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Evaluation report, Activity report, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

In 2013 and until the 1st of February 2014 the workshops are implemented in six different trade unions at regional level - with the ambition to expand the mission to trade unions at national level. Before that - in a two years period from 2011-12 - the workshops were implemented in public institutions and in private companies. During the whole project period I have met a growing demand for presentations of the concept from national and European level. A new phase of 'A third career' will take off from the 1st of February 2014. Plans are ready, but they can't be published before next year.