Over 45 and out of work? Re-skill and get back on track.

28 September, 2020
A mature warehouse manager in his warehouse looking at his laptop whilst talking on the telephone

Over 45 and out of work? Re-skill and get back on track.

Re-entering the workforce after job loss or a long period out of work isn’t easy.

You might have been out of the workplace for a long time because you were looking after your family, or maybe you’ve recently lost your job because of redundancy, or COVID-19, and can’t remember the last time you ever had to look or apply for a job.

Whatever your situation is, one of the first things you can do is explore Your Options Now. Alternatively, check out jobs advertised on jobactive (updated daily) and Jobs Hub (jobs in need of people, near you)”.

How do you get going again?

To figure out how you can have your skills recognised, or what new skills you might need to get you going again, here is some advice that could help.

Consider what type of job you want to do

Reflect on your previous career experience. Did you enjoy your job? Did it suit your lifestyle? What skills do you have? Are these transferable to a new role? What skills do you need to develop? Do you want to start your own business?

Have you thought about careers in demand – looking for people now and how your skills might fit? There is currently employment opportunities in occupations and industries like:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Public administration and safety
  • Education and training
  • Nurse managers
  • Software and applications programmers
  • Bookkeepers
  • ICT support technicians
  • Accountants
  • Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals
  • Carers and aides

Employability skills are big in demand right now. Think about which of these skills you have, and which you might need training in. And remember, life (not just work) experience counts!

The top employability skills employers want are: 

  • communication skills
  • reliability and punctuality
  • customer service skills
  • a positive attitude and motivation
  • the ability to work in a team
  • good personal presentation
  • creativity
  • problem solving

Check out this factsheet How employable are you? if you want to know more.

Consider a course

To get to your new career, you might need to study. There are courses in these fields available through higher education providers or VET including short and longer courses, depending on which area you choose.

  • Higher education

Many higher education providers offer short courses in areas of skills need.

The Australian Government’s COVID-19 relief package for the higher education sector is offering six-month online courses targeted at areas of national demand like teaching, health and science. Find out more at Course Seeker.

  • VET

Many registered training organisations/training providers offer VET short courses in areas of skills need. Find out more at My Skills.

Meet Chris.

After working in the paper industry for 32 years, he was made redundant. He decided to follow his passion for helping others and enrolled in a Certificate IV in Community Services.

Meet Nicola.

She underwent a complete career change in her late 40s by studying to become an enrolled nurse.

  • Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships combine paid work and structured training, and allow you to learn a trade or workplace skills and receive a nationally accredited qualification in more than 500 occupations across Australia. They are available to anyone of working age – you may be re-entering the workforce or wishing to change careers. Find out more.

Know what help is out there for you.

Here are some government programs that may help, depending on your situation.

  • Career Transition Assistance

This is designed to you build your confidence and skills to help you find a job. It will help you get job ready, and help you transfer your skills to new jobs. It can also help you with computer and online skills to use things like smartphones, tablets, apps and social media. Watch the video below, or find out more.

  • Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers

This program is designed to assist you with advice and guidance on transitioning into new roles within your current industry or pathways to a new career, including referral to relevant education and training options. Find out more.

  • Help with Language, literacy and numeracy

If you need help to enhance your numeracy and literacy, the Skills for Education and Employment Program could help. You may be eligible for up to 650 hours of language, literacy and/or numeracy training delivered under the program. Find out more.

  • Retrenched? ‘What’s next’ and jobactive is here to help

What’s Next is a useful self-help tool to help you navigate your way through retrenchment, including finding a new job, training, understanding your finances, connecting with state/territory based support, and advice on looking after yourself through this transition. Find out more.

Job search support is available for you as soon as you are retrenched through registering with jobactive. jobactive assists with strategies and tools to re-enter employment as soon as possible. They can help you write a résumé, look for work, prepare for interviews and build your skills. Find out more.

  • Want to start a new business?

Entrepreneurship Facilitators provide practical assistance to support and encourage individuals to start a business as a way to create their own job. Find out more.

For help with your career: 

If your wellbeing is being impacted by COVID-19 but you don’t know where to start looking for support, the COVID-19 support page has some information and links that could assist you.

Explore Careers

Narrow down your occupation and study options using one of the pages below.

Complete a quick questionnaire and explore occupations that suit you.

Take your next step now: find the types of jobs currently available or a short course to build on your skills.