Trade in your job for one you love

Age no bar­rier to change

Western Times - - CAREERS - Thurs­day, Septem­ber 20, 2018 ME­LANIE BURGESS west­ern­

WORK­ERS who think they have missed their calling by not pur­su­ing a vo­ca­tional ca­reer af­ter high school should not as­sume it is too late. One in three ap­pren­tices and trainees are work­ers who have changed ca­reer when aged 25 or older, while one in 15 ap­pren­tices and trainees are aged 45 or older, data from the Na­tional Cen­tre for Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search re­veals. About 52,000 Aussies over the age of 24 started a new ca­reer through vo­ca­tional train­ing last year – 16,600 in a trade and 35,400 in a non-trade. Ma­ture-age ap­pren­tices also earn about a third more than those start­ing out straight af­ter school. A first-year ma­ture-age elec­tri­cal ap­pren­tice, for ex­am­ple, earns $19.42 an hour if they started when aged 21 or older, com­pared to $13.51 an hour for a school leaver. It means job­seek­ers do not have to fall back to earn­ing a young per­son’s wage, while em­ploy­ers also see ben­e­fits from hir­ing an older ca­reer changer. Lewis Land Group leisure head Brad Jenk­ins said older work­ers tend to be more worldly and loyal and have a great work ethic from the get-go. The prop­erty devel­oper is hir­ing hos­pi­tal­ity work­ers as part of its Fu­tures Employment Pro­gram, which equips par­tic­i­pants with job-ready skills and a Cer­tifi­cate III in Hos­pi­tal­ity, pre­par­ing them for en­try-level work in the sec­tor. “(Older par­tic­i­pants) gen­er­ally have got more em­pa­thy to­wards the cus­tomer as well,” Jenk­ins said. “They un­der­stand the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence prob­a­bly bet­ter than the younger ones.” Jenk­ins said he wel­comes all ap­pli­cants to the pro­gram – young and old – as long as they can smile and move fast. “They have to move with a bit of ur­gency and smile at cus­tomers and be able to talk to peo­ple,” he said. “Even then, we have peo­ple who strug­gle at the start be­cause they are shy but get bet­ter once they get ex­po­sure to peo­ple.” Alan Christo­pher, 62, un­der­took the train­ing last year – com­plet­ing two weeks of the­ory and two weeks of prac­ti­cal place­ment – be­fore be­gin­ning a full-time job at the Belvedere Ho­tel in Red­cliffe, Queens­land. “It’s not just a job, it’s a fam­ily,” he said. “I care about the staff and the younger ones treat me like one of them de­spite the age gap.” Christo­pher used vo­ca­tional train­ing to end a bad luck streak as a job­seeker. Other Aussies use it to make a ca­reer change. Front Porch Prop­er­ties founder Rachael Turner made the tran­si­tion from teach­ing mu­sic to build­ing and ren­o­vat­ing homes. The univer­sity-trained clas­si­cal pi­anist had been run­ning a mu­sic school for 10 years when she de­cided to fol­low her pas­sion for con­struc­tion and de­sign by en­rolling in night school to com­plete a Diploma of Build­ing and Con­struc­tion. She said it is im­por­tant for peo­ple to find a ca­reer they truly love that suits their per­son­al­ity. “Find some­thing that com­pletes you be­cause if you are spend­ing the main por­tion of your hours in a job, it’s im­por­tant you are pas­sion­ate about your work,” she said.

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