Martin proves that new skills can be learnt at any age.
After a successful career in electronic engineering which spanned over 30 years, the industry has been steadily shrinking over the years due to a combination of factors. In July 2018 Martin became unemployed for the first time in his career.
Martin, who resides in South Wales, moved over from Ireland when he was 21 after he completed a degree in electrical engineering.
Martin says, “Although it was over 30 years ago, I can still remember that I easily found a job in engineering. I landed my first job in design engineering, which was a technical role and is my real passion. During my career I started edging away from the technical side and more into sales, which looking back, really wasn’t my area of expertise or something which I enjoyed.
“Job searching 30 years later was totally different. I had been looking for a year without much success and only got a few interviews. I was becoming increasingly demoralised, and I found that when I did get to the interview stage, I didn’t have much to say so wasn’t able to promote myself effectively.
Martin signed on at Jobcentre Plus and he was advised to get in contact with Careers Wales. He booked an appointment in the Careers Wales centre in Barry and met with careers adviser Sian who works on the Working Wales service.
Sian says “I met Martin early 2019 and it seemed that he had lost some of his technical engineering expertise and it was clear that he had also lost a lot of confidence.
“Two things I wanted Martin to ask himself was 1: What he was interested in? and 2: What he was good at? We then started looking at what industries were thriving and booming and how these three key factors can work together.”
Sian and Martin concluded that Cyber Security was a good route for Martin to pursue. It combined his passion for technology with a sector with lots of employment opportunities.
Martin started to research the prospect of going back into education to learn more about cyber security. With the help of a student grant and loan, in September 2019, at the age of 55 Martin started a full-time master’s degree at the University of South Wales.
The year-long course finished in November 2020 and Talking about the whole experience, Martin says, “The course has taught me so much. I finished with a Distinction grade, so proving to myself that my brain still works, and that I can learn new things in my 50s! I still have the same aptitude as I had as a 21-year-old. It has been such a great experience, and I’m now more positive and confident and it’s given me my spark back."
In March 2021, just under three years since becoming unemployed, Martin successfully landed his first job in cyber security, and has already experienced a variety of roles in different companies to expand his knowledge and experience within the industry.
Talking about his experience of working in cyber security, Martin says, “There is real anxiety about the state of the world, and if I can do my tiny bit to make the world a safer place, then I feel I’m doing something to help”.
Reflecting on his journey since becoming unemployed in 2018, Martin says, “I can see now that I was becoming increasingly socially isolated, for financial reasons and because I just didn’t have the social interaction at work. From a social perspective, my new career has allowed me to meet so many talented and genuinely nice people who I’ve been able to learn so much from. I have made so many new friends that I will have forever.
“The start of this rewarding journey was sitting down with Sian in the Barry Careers Wales Centre for half an hour, back in 2019."
If you’re aged 16 or over and would like to explore your opportunities with a careers adviser, please contact the Working Wales team by calling 0800 028 4844, emailing email@example.com or through our live chat.
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