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Training and developing an age diverse workforce in SMEs: The need for a strategic approach

Graham Beaver (Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Kate Hutchings (School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of strategic human resource development (HRD) in small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) with specific reference to key issues around training, development and education as well as an emerging issue of significance, age diversity management.


The approach undertaken in the paper is to draw upon relevant literature and research as well as the authors' own analysis of the relationship between strategic human resource management (SHRM), HRD and SMEs based on prior research.


The findings of the research and analysis is that SMEs which take a strategic approach to training and development of their human resources will profit not only from a competitive position in their marketplace but also be well placed to adjust to changing and often uncertain external influences on the business environment presented to organisations in the twenty‐first century.

Practical implications

It is envisaged that SMEs should make changes to their current practices and adopt a more strategic approach to the development of their people based on the practical implications outlined within the paper as to how organisations can implement HRD practices linked to broader corporate strategy.


The paper adds value in broadening the existing focus of SHRM and HRD on large corporations to engendering the need to also develop good HRD practices within emerging and growing SMEs and recognising the important role that they can play in developing an age diverse workforce.



Beaver, G. and Hutchings, K. (2005), "Training and developing an age diverse workforce in SMEs: The need for a strategic approach", Education + Training, Vol. 47 No. 8/9, pp. 592-604.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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