The hiring policy of businesses is predominantly youth oriented with more mature jobseekers being excluded from recruitment processes because they are perceived as being ‘too old’ to do certain jobs. If this waste of skills, experiences and competencies of older professionals is counter-productive today, it will become an even greater problem as the EU’s demographic profile changes and the proportion of younger applicants declines.

Two major issues support the need for a re-orientation of current recruitment policies:

  • Due to demographic shifts, the skilled labour supply is declining and the participation of older workers will become (and already is) essential.
  • The European Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) bans older job applicants from being discriminated against on the basis of their age.

 The ICT sector is an area where this problem is particularly acute. Organisations need to examine and redesign their recruitment and selection policies and practices to avoid age bias. The Leonardo da Vinci project ‘mature @ eu – supporting employers recruiting and selecting mature aged persons’ aims to enable employers and personnel recruiters to introduce age-diverse recruitment policies and practices, in particular the ICT sector.


This project  aimed to enable employers and human resources managers to develop effective, age-diverse recruitment policies. It dealt with issues such as tackling prejudice against older workers participation in the labour market, the establishment of an evidence base on the re-direction of recruitment policies, and overcoming age barriers to entering employment.


The project was directly concerned with providing an integrated support package to business leaders, equal opportunities representatives, Human Resources Manangers, trade union officers and workers’ representatives based on a toolbox of a collection of innovative training materials ( and a free open source e-learning platform in 16 languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English, German, Greek, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slovenian, Spanish, Slovakian, Turkish (see: These e-learning platforms are custom-designed and provide clear guidance and practical support on all aspects of age-diversity in recruitment. Furthermore, it is tested by a significant number of experts, gives self-directed learning experiences, and is FREE of charge for everyone.

These tools provide information that Human Resources Managers find useful in assessing the benefits of recruiting older workers.

Best Practice Award winner

mature @ eu was one of six projects winning the “Keeping on Track” Best Practice Award.

An international consortium consisting of several Leonardo da Vinci national agencies and other relevant organisations chose the winners out of a pool of 300 European projects. In the presence of representatives of the European Commission, the Czech Republic as President of the European Council, and the OECD, Maria Schwarz-Woelzl (ZSI) and Marek Snapka (RPIC-ViP s.r.o.) presented mature@eu on 5 June 2009 on the Keeping on Track Conference, Prague.

The Award was bestowed on the ground that …

“… The overall project quality is excellent and it has promoted lifelong learning through fresh strategic choices, innovative thinking and new solutions. By choosing an organizational perspective – to make an impact on the “voices” crucial to the situation of mature workers in workplaces – the project outcomes have reached more effectively the secondary beneficiaries (mature workers) than if targeted directly to them. The project products are of a very high standard and available in eight languages. The value and impact of the product is added by the fact that is available free of charge.”

Partner organisations and timelines

The lead organisation was Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (ZSI). mature @ eu  consisted of two projects, involving 25 partners from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. AGE Platform Europe participated as a supporting partner.

The project was funded under the Leonardo da Vinci Programme.

To date, there have been two phases of the project:

mature@eu Project Phase No 1 (2006-2008)
mature@eu Project Phase No 2 (2008- 2009)

 An application has been submitted for a third and follow-up project called mature@ICT.

More details

For more details on AGE’s involvement, please contact Rachel Buchanan, Policy Officer for Employment and Non-discrimination, at age For more specific information about the project, please contact Maria Schwarz-Woelzl, Senior Researcher at ZSI, at or check out the project website at:

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