Sandwich MIXXL - Combination strategies for the Sandwich Generation

The ‘Sandwich Generation’ is the term we use for adults who, at a certain point in their lives, are taking care of both an older and a younger generation, and who often combine this caretaking with a job.

  • They are usually between 45 and 65 years old.
  • The ‘Sandwich Position’ is not gender neutral; women are more likely to take on the care of their elderly relatives. Women also tend to take care of their (grand)children more often.
  • Due to the increased pension-age, the importance of aging-at-home and informal care, and the large amount of young adults who continue to live at home longer; this group will only increase in size over the next years, in Flanders and the rest of Europe.

Goals of the project

  • We want to guide these men and women, who are between 45 and 65 years old and who combine a job with a double caretaking role, to find an adequate combination strategy.
  • We hope to ensure that they will be able to combine their job and their caretaking role within their family for a longer period, and with increased motivation and engagement.   

To achieve these goals, we want to develop several instruments in collaboration with our Flemish and international partners:

  • A coaching- and training programme for the Sandwich Generation;
  • A training- and sensitization programme for employers, leaders and HR-professionals;
  • Recommendations for organisations to ensure a better policy and practice.

=> More information in this schedule (in Dutch)


The creation of digital stories about members of the Sandwich Generation will help to attain our goals; e.g. they can be used in the training programmes mentioned above. An example of a digital story can be watched here (in Dutch). This story was developed by students of Family Sciences for their course Projectonderwijs II.  

For Sociaal.Net the team members wrote the article ‘Sandwichgeneratie: zorgende mannen doorbreken rolpatronen’ (Sandwich Generation: male caretakers break down gender roles). It was published on 7 February 2019.

With our European partners in the Time4Help project we organized a webinar on the combination of work, family and care during the Covid-19 pandemic, November 16th 2020. A Finnish project-colleague and journalist wrote the article 'Gender and generation matter when teleworking in Covid-19 times' based on the webinar.


The transnational partnership Time4Help, financed by ESF – the European Social Fund, aims to develop, to test and to implement innovative solutions for the support of adult women between the ages of 45 and 65 by giving them access to different forms of lifelong learning. These goals are to be attained through different national projects and an international tool to be developed and tested.

Our Flemish Partners

  • Adult guidance centre/employment advice centre Kompass-Emino        
  • Research team Business Administration of Odisee
  • De Gezinsbond

The following Flemish partners have confirmed their cooperation:

  • Verso vzw
  • Samana vzw

Our European Partners

FINLAND: South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences – Small Business Centre

The ‘Small Business Centre’ of this University of Applied Sciences offers research-based training to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on topics such as leadership and management skills.

The South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences seeks to create better opportunities for entrepreneurial women and women in leading roles, who are older than 45, to land a new career. They also want to put the spotlight on role models and focus on (international) networking and peer support.

They want to develop a training programme that will focus on lifelong learning for female members of staff and female entrepreneurs, in order to help them keep their knowledge up-to-date in a diverse and ever-changing work environment. Important for achieving this: improving digital learning competences, business models for the digital economy, service design,…

The Finnish partner has a lot to offer to the Flemish project: e.g. their expertise on women with a leaders profile and women who built their career as a self-employed individual. Their peer support-approach can also be inspiring for the Flemish project.

The South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences is happy to contribute to the first phase of the Flemish project, during which women will be questioned about the combination of work, family and caretaking.

POLAND: Dobre, Kadry. Centrum badawczo-szkoleniowe Sp. z o. o.

Dobre Kadry is an educational organisation that offers training to adults with professional experience to improve their situation on the labour market.

The training subjects include; languages, IT, marketing, and finances. Currently, Dobre Kadry has trained more than 2500 adults.

The organisation wants to set up a comprehensible model that supports adult women with learning; e.g. e-learning and blended learning methodologies. In addition, they want to look into the ways adult women can be supported through online services. They also want to develop group-oriented training programmes and materials about social skills, entrepreneurship, creativity,… Women are not their only target group; their focus extends to employers and employment organisations.

Our Polish partner has expertise in e-learning and blended learning models for the specific target group of the Flemish project. Their approach can be an inspiration for the envisaged coaching- and (education) modules of the Flemish project. The same can be said for their approach and methodologies of the group-oriented programmes. Dobre Kadry’s research on the representation of women between 45 and 65 and work is likewise of interest.

SPAIN: Fundación Acción contra el hambre

This Spanish NGO is active in Spain and developing countries. In Spain, they are developing a project about the employability of disadvantaged groups. They guide at-risk groups to the labour market or to entrepreneurship by initiatives such as education, training, consulting services and mentoring.

What they want to achieve with this project is to collect project ideas about the introduction of +45, at-risk women to the labour market. They also want to adapt existing methodologies.    

Fundación Acción contra el hambre is the driving force behind the ‘European Network of Innovation for Inclusion’ and they will employ this network to attain the goals of the European project. This network is an important forum to collect good practices of ways to introduce women between 45 and 65 years old and from disadvantaged groups to the labour market.

Our collaboration with this partner is not part of the transnational ESF-project. However, their expertise on women from disadvantaged groups is an added value. On top of that, their connection with the European Network of Innovation for Inclusion offers many opportunities for the distribution of the international product that we want to develop on a European level. The Spanish organisation will also join us in the first phase of the Flemish project, during which women will be questioned about the combination of work, family and caretaking.

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