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buntybaylis Posted 1 year ago
Has anyone retrained in their 50s? I’m interested to know how you got on in the job market. Did you face any ageism?

I have recently retrained as a medical secretary and am wondering how difficult it is going to be this time. It would be good to know of other peoples experiences of cracking the job market and getting interviews.

4 likes & 19 replies
    • Sofabeast 18th February 2021 at 5:37 pm

      Yes, I’m currently retraining right now. Then there is also a major work change with challenges to it. I’m a support worker for adults with special needs, but my overall goal is to become a college lecturer. It all ties in together as my degree route is used throughout my work.

    • Colin in Kent 18th February 2021 at 6:15 pm

      I retrained in my late 30s and faced ageism! But to be honest, there was more stereotyping going on – ‘You’ve done X for fifteen years, why should we take you on to do Y, that you have no experience of?’ It was more difficult to overcome that prejudice. It sounds like you have retrained in a specialist area, and it seems to me that areas such as that have less ageism. If you what you do is in demand, then I think employers are on the lookout for skills rather than worrying about age. Since then (exactly twenty years ago now), I can honestly say I’ve never once felt I was being discriminated against on age grounds. I’ve been made redundant three times but they were all on companies being taken over or dissolved, not because of my age. In my latest team of around 30 people, ages range from mid 20s up to myself and a colleague who are both around the late 50s bracket. I would say most are in their 40s.

      Have you found many vacancies? Do you think you’re not getting interviews that you should? It’s not legal to ask for date of birth on application forms, but of course it’s easy to gain a rough idea from the dates of colleges and prior jobs.

    • GreenFingers63 18th February 2021 at 6:57 pm

      Hi, there are always plenty of vacancies for medical secretaries within the NHS and they are the least ageist organisation. I do a similar job to you and the lady I share an office with is 73. I would try and put a positive spin on it by emphasising the skills and experience you have amassed in previous jobs and the qualities that often come with age – empathy, tolerance, ability to work well as a team are all plusses as far as most employers are concerned and more important than your age. All the best to you.

    • lucy aldrich 23rd February 2021 at 3:57 pm

      I have retrained twice in my 50’s but I have to admit that I am working for myself, from home, and finding it lovely after experience of being bullied so much in my employed jobs, it’s so good to be my own boss. The one I’m doing now, doesn’t need that much training now, and I’m loving it. Let me know if you want to know more.

      • bessiebuncounter 23rd February 2021 at 5:17 pm

        Hello Lucy
        I am intrigued. What are you doing? I must confess setting up on my own is my safety net as I am feeling a little reticent about entering the workplace again. Like you, I’ve had a few knocks which are the experiences which weigh heavily on my mind. However, I’ve had a few roles that I’ve loved. Anyway, enough about me, please tell me what you’re doing?

        • lucy aldrich 23rd February 2021 at 5:48 pm

          Thanks for your comment.

          I’m working with a company that’s had huge expansion in 2020 and they are aiming to take on another 10,000 people this year. They are looking for people who can be trained as leaders and trainers to move into senior roles by the end of the year. It’s working from home and people can start part time and move to full time if and when it suits them.

          If you want to know more, do send me a request or reply on here.

        • bessiebuncounter 24th February 2021 at 3:52 pm

          Hello Lucy

          That’s sounds interesting. Yes please send some info, I’d like to know a little more.

        • lucy aldrich 24th February 2021 at 5:02 pm

          Have sent you a private message. Look forward to hearing from you. Best wishes, Lucy

        • KamV 24th February 2021 at 5:24 pm

          Hello Lucy,
          I’ve just joined this community and so glad I have. I worked as an IT Project Manager role which I lost in Nov 2020 but just turned 60 and now really not sure what I want. Really don’t want to go back into that stressful and toxic environment but feel I have so much to offer still. I am happy to move into a different area where I can still use some of my skills and would be happy to learn of your new venture. Please can you also send me some info. thanks Kam

        • lucy aldrich 24th February 2021 at 6:22 pm

          Thank you for your comment, and I have sent you a direct message. Do get back to me when you have seen the webinar.

      • clb 25th February 2021 at 5:14 pm

        Hi Lucy can you send me some more information. Thank you

    • ljsteward 23rd February 2021 at 5:06 pm

      This is such a great and important topic to openly comment on. As a Transition Life Coach for those 50+, I have become a student of how widespread ageism shows up in the U.S. where I am based. Ageism is a silent barrier however, so it is hard to spot. But it is out there. I endorse the comments made above and I have two other suggestions:

      First, do your best to get good at the strategic networking. Meaning, carefully target key contacts to connect with someone doing the work you’re interested to do yourself. It may seem like the long way around but if done correctly – you can magically unlock doors that will eventually lead to a new opportunity. And of course you can control the process unlike waiting around for the phone to ring.

      Secondly, like Lucy shared, don’t overlook the chance to start a simply business from the comfort of your home. The process to set that up is much like preparing for a job search but the benefits of doing it are much greater. One of the initial benefits is avoiding all the rejection that comes with getting no response from chasing help wanted ads. The others include doing something you love, having the chance to earn unlimited income, saving money from not having to commute, establishing a new purpose in your life and the list goes on.

      • bessiebuncounter 23rd February 2021 at 5:23 pm

        Thank you for your salient words. I’m job hunting for now as hoping to sell my house. Perhaps once I’ve moved I can focus more on looking at a home based business. The ageism is definitely out there. People have deeply entrenched bias they’re not even aware of. I have a few ideas up my sleeve if nothing happens.

    • ljsteward 23rd February 2021 at 5:42 pm

      I like your thinking Bessie about having a few ideas up your sleeve. Now is a time to be thinking outside the traditional box and get creative about where opportunities can be found. For some it may be part-time work, others may volunteer so they can get new experience and then transition to a new role and many are getting the message about all the benefits of starting something on your own.

      I’m 77 and still going strong. I want to serve as a role model for this large group I belong to. The message is, if we find a need others have and can respond to it, one thing is clear, with all our life experience – we have a lot to offer.

      • buntybaylis 23rd February 2021 at 6:34 pm

        77 and still going strong….that is music to my ears. So heartening to hear that it’s not the end of the road for us all. The brain never stops developing and we never stop learning. It’s as simple as that. Its time for the business community to wake up and recognise the potential of our age group.

    • ljsteward 24th February 2021 at 11:33 pm

      You know what Buntybaylis, I couldn’t agree more!