The Increasing Demand for Professionals in the Field of Gerontology
The World Health Organisation has estimated that by 2050, the proportion of the world’s population above 60 years old will have nearly doubled from 12% to 22%. In Singapore, one in every four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above by 2030.
It is therefore increasingly important for policymakers, healthcare and social care providers to be equipped with knowledge and skills which will contribute towards age-friendly policies and practices. This challenge has created a need to study and research ageing which is the focus of the multidisciplinary field of gerontology.Programme Director of the University of Stirling’s Master of Science Global Ageing programme, Professor Catherine Hennessy, gives us some insights into the programme.
What is social gerontology?
At its core, social gerontology is a branch of gerontology that focuses on the social aspects of growing older. This includes the various social, health, personal and psychological issues involved in the ageing process. Social gerontology examines the many age-related changes within social environments and structures like the family, the community and society as a whole.
Why are social gerontology and ageing studies important today?
Studies in this area are crucial to understanding the needs, challenges, and opportunities, which leads to the creation of policies and practices that support healthy and active ageing. Understanding is also key to shifting the perspective on the older population from that of being a burden to that of being a resource for society.
As the ageing population continues to grow, there will be an increasing demand for professionals with expertise in this field. Pursuing a formal education or training can lead to job opportunities in both public, private, and social sectors. The demand for qualified professionals with gerontological expertise across these sectors is growing at an unprecedented rate. Researchers have estimated that globally, the demand for adult primary care services will grow by 14% by 2025. Gerontology can be a fulfilling career choice for those who are passionate about working with older adults and improving their quality of life. It is impactful work.
What can prospective students expect from this MSc programme?
Students will gain a holistic understanding of later life and older people’s needs and experiences from a global perspective, learning alongside students from other countries. Students will gain competencies relevant to research, applied and administrative work in ageing-related fields. The programme also enhances students’ insights into personal ageing and the universal experience of ageing.
With growing demand for qualified professionals with gerontological expertise, the University of Stirling’s master's programme in Global Ageing will enhance students’ employability and give them a competitive edge.
How can this programme value-add to a graduate’s career?
A postgraduate qualification essentially equips a student with specialised knowledge in a particular field of study and may offer career progression. Gerontology is a niche field on its own and can expand career options for those who are in healthcare and social services, or even in policy-making roles.