Don’t write yourself off at 50

If you’re bamboozled when you hear terms like Instagram, TikTok, Trello and Google Sheets, you may well be thinking you’re too old or don’t need to know what they are.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, you’ve probably had time to consider your role at work, particularly if you’ve been told your job is under threat.

In times of redundancies, bosses may need to complete some skills matrix on employees to see who they can afford to keep – and it may be that excellent information technology (IT) skills are crucial to the business.

With an ever-increasing influx of millennials starting work, IT is second nature to them as they’ve spent their whole lives surrounded by social media and have learnt those skills at school.

But if you’re 50+ and you’re worried about your ability to keep up with new technology skills or are even considering a change in career, it’s never too late. It may be that you’ve become bored in your role, been at it too long or simply fancy a change.

Here are some things to consider:

Learn new IT skills

There is a whole host of ways to learn new IT skills.

Acquiring more computer knowledge is no bad thing as it removes fears you may have of technology, opening the way to more through use. Once the basics are in place (if not already) you can go on to delve into the digital world confidently.

Google Digital Garage offers free courses online to help you boost your skillset. You can also check for night classes at your local college or even consider an Open University course.

Start a new business

Spent your life working for someone else and now you just want to get out there and do something you’re passionate about?

Whether it’s learning flower arranging, selling local produce, or running your own café, there’s no better time.  

Maybe you’ve finally paid the mortgage off, got a redundancy payment, benefited from some inheritance or even a pension.

Whatever your situation, be sure that you have some money to fall back on as it may take some time for your business to start making a profit.

More than four out of 10 new businesses in the UK are started by people over 50, according to the Office for National Statistics, so you could be one of them.

Start-up loans are a great way to do this if you do not have an early-release pension or savings available.

Learn a trade

Being 50 or over can be a great age to choose a new career. Many employers see you as having lots of skills and useful experience, a strong work ethic and agile enough to learn new things.

Plumbers, electricians, and gas engineers are extremely popular trade professions for people who reach their 50s or want a career change.

Skills Training Group has a great range of courses for anyone wishing to learn a trade in the UK, whatever their age. They are particularly useful to those hoping to upskill towards a specific discipline.

Teach your skills as a side-line

In most families, your 50s is a time of high expenditure for children’s university or secondary school costs, home renovations, paying for care homes or medical expenses.

But have you considered teaching your skill or interest to others? Maybe you can speak a foreign language and consider offering private tuition? You could teach at a sixth form college in the evenings or offer music lessons.

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