Inspira CEO Mark Bowman asks, is it time to start your second career and join the trend of adults over 50 taking up a new challenge?
With the average retirement age going up and people living longer, retraining for a second career is fast becoming the norm in the Western World. Almost half of 50-plus adults in the UK say they are not too old to find their dream job and to start a new and exciting career. In fact, one in five are seriously contemplating a career change to fulfil a lifelong ambition.
Nationally the number of people aged 50+ in employment has grown by nearly 2 million in the last 10 years, 41% of those 50+ are now employed which accounts for a growing share of the total employment market. In Cumbria, this is reflected with 40.9% of this age group employed.
The Government has taken a number of steps to enable older workers to stay in work such as abolishing the default retirement age and extending the right to flexible working, but there is certainly more to be done to support those who wish to stay economically active and enjoy or achieve a lifestyle they long for.
One of the strategic drivers in Cumbria and indeed the whole of the North West is to improve employability skills generally – with the growing number of over 50s staying in employment then there is the real potential to fill some of the region's skills gaps, as well as to capitalise on a group of people who already make a significant contribution to the economy and who could carry on doing so if they were supported to stay in the workforce longer.
However knowledge of modern job search skills and limited IT proficiency can be barriers to this age group finding new employment but with the LEPs strategic economic plan identifying tailored employment support for the over 50s - support is increasingly available. In fact, 61% of 50-plus workers say they want the chance to learn new skills.
There are a number of viable options for those who view their fifth, sixth and seventh decades as an opportunity for a second career such as an apprenticeship, accredited learning or simply channelling current skills in a new direction.
Though apprenticeships are often considered to be for young people, there is no age limit. Funding criteria can be different, but the option to become an expert through an apprenticeship is available to everyone.
Through Inspira's employability programmes, we can help people 50+ to consider their options whether that is staying relevant in today's job market, finding work or taking control to remain in the workforce while also enjoying a lifestyle of choice.