Don’t Let Age Be a Barrier to Changing Careers 7 Tips for Finding Employment Over 50 Age Discrimination, whilst illegal, is still apparent as an obstacle across certain industries for many older Australians seeking employment, or returning to the workforce today. At ETAustralia Training College, we have found that employers appreciate the stability and experience of hiring a mature aged employee and the benefits it can bring to their organisation. Through feedback gained from the employers of our graduating students, older employees are very dedicated and loyal to their employer. Older Australian’s have the benefit of life experience and can bring a level of maturity to the role that a younger person may not have had the opportunity to gain. Enquiries from potential students at ETAustralia Training College, aged over 50, have highlighted that their main concern when it comes to undertaking study, is the employment prospects for them upon completion. Many have commented they feel they are ‘past their prime’ in the eyes of employers and feel they would be overlooked for younger applicants simply due to their age. At ETAustralia Training College, students in the over 50s age bracket have enjoyed great success both during and after completing our courses. Such is the case with Joanne, who commenced a CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) program while in her early 60s. Joanne came out of retirement to re-enter the workforce and complete this course. After completion, she successfully gained employment with a local aged care facility and in her new role has been able to maintain a great work/life balance. Some of ETAustralia Training College’s aged care students gaining practical tips from their trainer Michelle (far left). Audrey, an ETAustralia Training College CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) graduate, also commenced the course in her early 60s. Whilst her main focus was employment, her personal circumstances greatly benefited from the skills she acquired during the program. Audrey successfully completed the program and was spoilt for choice when she was offered multiple positions upon receipt of her certificate. She ultimately 10
chose a position with a large Australian company delivering home care services, aged care and retirement living on the Central Coast. 7 Tips for Finding Employment Over 50 In the last 2 years, just under 19% of the students who gained employment after completing full qualifications across Business, Aged Care and Early Childhood Education qualifications with ETAustralia Training College (excluding traineeship programs), were aged 50 and over. When interviewing potential students for our courses, we find that older students often haven’t considered the transferable skills they have acquired during previous employment or through life experience in general. More often than not, older students have a clearer idea of their intentions for studying and the impact this will have on their lives, meaning are more likely to keep themselves motivated during the course, are able to prioritize tasks, have excellent time management and can successfully navigate challenges that often occur when learning a new skill. ETAustralia Training College also offers further support in addition to the quality training from our industry experienced Trainers and Assessors. We have recognised the need to support students with resumés, cover letters, interview techniques and work placement in order to gain industryrelevant experience. ETAustralia Training College has access to employer networks with employers who regularly call to ask us for job-ready students to fill their employment vacancies. So whilst we all agree that it can be difficult to find employment when considered a ‘mature age’ person, it is also equally true, that more and more employers are looking for the reliability and experience which mature age workers can bring, as the quicker an employee becomes productive, the quicker the business can operate more successfully. Update your skills Recent qualifications will show that you have updated your knowledge of an industry, or show that you have gained recent skills in a new industry. Make your resume ‘ageless’ Adding your age or birth date to your resume gives an employer the opportunity to pass over your application due to your age. Cover letters Yes. You must write a cover letter for every application as it allows you to expand on your experience. Although this can be taxing on your time and patience, it’s what will make the difference between your application and someone who is only relying on their resume. Personal presentation This one is timeless. First impressions last, so make sure you are putting your best foot forward when you get the opportunity to meet an employer face to face. Know your skills and abilities Many people don’t realise they have a variety of skills gained 11 through their previous employment, or through their life experience. Work with what you have and treat them as assets. Some examples may be; time management, interpersonal skills, teamwork, personal motivation and initiative etc. Familiarise yourself with current technology that may be involved in the industry If you haven’t got the skills needed to do the basics in the industry you are looking for work in, educate yourself. There are many courses available in basic computer training and ETAustralia Training College offers one-on-one training also. See the ETAustralia website for further details. Be persistent Don’t give up if you get a few knockbacks. An employer may receive hundreds of applications for one advertised position, and there simply isn’t time to respond to them all. If you find you are constantly receiving rejection emails, look over your cover letters and resumé with someone and fine tune them. Some of our aged care students enjoying problem solving in a group setting.