More study at mid-life

More peo­ple are find­ing sat­is­fac­tion in tak­ing the plunge and chang­ing their ca­reers mid-life, re­ports Sheradyn Holderhead.

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THE num­ber of ma­ture age stu­dents is in­creas­ing as more peo­ple change ca­reers mid-life, ex­perts say.

Uni­ver­sity of South Aus­tralia path­ways and ac­cess pro­grams mar­ket­ing co-or­di­na­tor Judy Sykes says to­day peo­ple want more than ‘‘just a job’’.

‘‘Re­turn­ing to study can open up whole new ca­reer path­ways that are much more mean­ing­ful,’’ she says.

Ca­reer Di­rec­tions Aus­tralia ca­reers ad­viser Mon­ica Ma­gann says chang­ing ca­reers could be a re­ward­ing de­ci­sion if con­sid­ered care­fully.

SWITCH­ING ca­reers af­ter years in one pro­fes­sion is a fright­en­ing prospect for many but it can lead to a more ful­fill­ing work life, in­dus­try ex­perts say.

Ca­reer Di­rec­tions Aus­tralia ca­reers ad­viser Mon­ica Ma­gann says peo­ple change ca­reer paths for a num­ber of rea­sons but, if the jour­ney is taken wisely, the out­come can out­weigh the risks.

‘‘You watch MasterChef (and) you see all these lawyers go­ing ‘I don’t want to be a lawyer any more’,’’ she says.

‘‘Of­ten that hap­pens when peo­ple were pushed into ca­reer paths.

‘‘Some­times it’s not that they don’t like it but life hap­pens and they need to change . . . maybe they’ve been a painter and dec­o­ra­tor but hurt their back, so had to change.’’

Ms Ma­gann says that be­fore em­ploy­ees jump ship, they should weigh up the pros and cons.

‘‘For most peo­ple, once they’ve done high school and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion and have a mort­gage, it be­comes very hard for them to change ca­reers,’’ she says.

‘‘But work is so much a part of what we do, if you’re not happy you need to look at chang­ing the sit­u­a­tion.’’

Uni­ver­sity of South Aus­tralia path­ways and ac­cess pro­grams mar­ket­ing co-or­di­na­tor Judy Sykes says the num­ber of ma­tureage stu­dents em­bark­ing on new ar­eas of study is in­creas­ing.

‘‘The feed­back we get is that peo­ple want more than just a job, and re­turn­ing to study can open up whole new ca­reer path­ways that are much more mean­ing­ful to the in­di­vid­ual,’’ she says. ‘‘There are a num­ber of path­ways ma­tureage stu­dents can take, in­clud­ing pro­grams that pre­pare them for uni­ver­sity study if it’s some­thing they haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.’’

The process of chang­ing ca­reers can be­come a less stress­ful time if you arm your­self with re­al­is­tic goals about where you see your­self, Ms Ma­gann says. She shares the fol­low­ing tips:

EX­PLORE the op­tions avail­able by re­search­ing pos­si­ble ca­reers and do­ing ca­reer test­ing on­line.

CA­REER pro­fil­ing helps you iden­tify what your tal­ents, gifts and in­ter­ests are and how you best learn.

NIGHT study might be an op­tion for some to bridge from their present ca­reer to a new path.

TALK to em­ploy­ers and ask would they hire some­one like you.

Af­ter work­ing as a den­tist for about 10 years, Sa­muel Jeyasee­lan, 36, took the plunge and changed ca­reer paths.

He has been study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture – a child­hood dream – for three years at UniSA and says he does not re­gret his de­ci­sion.

‘‘I wasn’t en­joy­ing what I was do­ing and be­came frus­trated with day-to-day work life,’’ he says.

‘‘I re­alised, 30 years ahead of the end of my work life, I was not en­joy­ing what I was do­ing and should make a change.

‘‘It was very much a fright­en­ing thing, es­pe­cially go­ing from a full­time den­tist’s salary to be­ing a full-time stu­dent.

‘‘But I’m a lot hap­pier even just study­ing.’’

Pic­ture: Brooke Whatnall

Ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dent Sa­muel Jayaseelan at UniSA City West Cam­pus.

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