As the workforce continues to evolve, more and more people are looking for ways to acquire new skills and stay competitive in the job market. This is especially true for women over 50, who may be facing challenges in finding employment due to age and gender discrimination.
One solution that is gaining popularity is apprenticeships. They typically last for a duration of two to four years, during which workers usually dedicate four days a week to on-the-job training and one day to attending classes. The pay scale for apprentices is generally set at 40 to 60 per cent of what a fully skilled professional earns. Upon completion, apprentices receive a valuable credential that certifies their acquired skills, along with the opportunity to secure a permanent job with the employer.
If you think you’re too old to join an apprenticeship program, think again! Jyoti Patel, a 56-year-old mother of two from Keighley in West Yorkshire (UK), had her beliefs shattered when airline and tour operator Jet2.com and Jet2holidays offered her an apprenticeship. Initially, she thought apprenticeships were only for younger individuals, but she now realizes that age is not a barrier. Despite leaving her promising procurement career to become a teacher for a decade, Jyoti decided to resume her procurement career after her second child went off to university. However, she faced numerous rejections before finally being offered a job through the travel company’s apprenticeship program.
As reported by AARP, Marcia Nelson, a resident of Columbia, S.C., joined BlueCross’ IT project management apprenticeship program a few years ago. This incredible opportunity allowed her to progress in her career, increase her salary, and develop professionally. Many of her fellow apprentices were younger than her, though. However, her decision to join the program inspired her peers to enrol later on. She firmly believes that new beginnings are not limited to college graduation; they can happen at any age, whether 50 or 60.
Clearly, something is changing as policies regarding inclusion and diversity are becoming crucial for many companies.
If you are looking to acquire new skills or re-enter the workforce, exploring apprenticeship opportunities in your area might be the key to unlocking new opportunities and staying relevant in the job market. Depending on the industry you are interested in you can start seeking guidance from a career counselor or seek advice from platforms like Jobsite or the Government website.
In the United States, labour organizations, businesses, state employment services and schools offering apprenticeships for those over 50 are becoming more popular (have you checked the inclusive Google scheme?) Some involve extensive classroom training, and some pay wages while you train, but If you want to explore this option, know you’ll have to be resilient, and it’ll eventually pay off.
Have you or someone you know participated in an apprenticeship over 50? Share your experience in the comments below.