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Expanding your employment options: Learning opportunities for over 50s

schedule 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Emma Brook in Education

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Online training courses provide people of all ages with access to learning new skills and areas of knowledge, which, in turn, helps to expand their employment options.

Across the UK, there are thousands of people aged over 50 and under the state pension age that are out of work, either due to early retirement or because of the struggle to find work. Life begins at 50, right? So why are so many over 50s out of work? Although laws seek to protect us from discrimination of any type - whether this is based on age, gender or race - older job seekers are more likely to experience long-term unemployment than any other age group.

However, in today’s world, being over 50 means very little when you have the right skill set. And with new tools and technology easily at the ready, there’s no stopping the older workforce.

In 2015, the government launched an initiative to help older people find employment by offering them training. This decision came after it was revealed that 1.2 million people over 50 were unemployed but willing to work in the UK, and if they all found jobs, they would collectively contribute an additional £50 billion to the UK economy (BBC News).

Training included improving interviewing skills, updating CVs, insight to the internet and social media, and career reviews, among other areas. The government also appointed Job Centre staff in seven areas of the country, to ensure SME’s are aware of the benefits of hiring older employees.

Experience and wisdom

While younger workers can have more energy and be more adaptable, mature workers can bring experience, reliability and commitment to the workplace. Today, some recruiters only offer interviews to those that have 10 to 30 years’ occupational experience.

For over 50s who want to work flexibly, recruiters like TimeWise offer part-time and job share opportunities that include home-working, maternity cover and interim roles. Trading Times focuses more on those who want flexible hours, where candidates are matched with the right skills and experience.

Setting up your own business

It’s never too late to consider setting up your own business. There is endless information online that offers advice in this area. The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprises (PRIME) is also a great source of advice and support for older people who want to set up a business, as it offers free training courses, mentoring support, online resources and networking events across the UK.

Set-up by HRH The Prince of Wales, the initiative has helped more than 25,000 over 50s who are unemployed or facing redundancy.


Many mature workers believe that when they reach 50, it’s too late to start learning about new subjects or trying to break into new industries. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. E-learning and online training courses, allow anyone with access to a computer to complete courses and gain qualifications that could help in their job search.


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Emma Brook - Virtual College

Author: Emma Brook

Emma works in the marketing design team at Virtual College and works on a variety of print and digital design projects. In her spare time she enjoys going to gigs and the theatre.

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