Paula proves that age doesn’t have to be a barrier to learning new skills to improve job prospects.
Paula is an AAT qualified accounting technician and has worked in accounts and payroll for over 19 years. Over the past three years, Paula has had to face redundancy twice.
Having been with her employer for 15 years, Paula really thought it was a ‘job for life’ but when the company went through a restructure her job was made redundant.
Paula was able to gain new employment in a similar role, however at the end of February 2020, after just 20 months in the job the company went through a merger and Paula was made redundant again.
Paula says “I was quite worried when I was made redundant the first time. I’ve always had a job and as I was nearing 60 wondered how employable I would be. I was really pleased when I managed to get another accounting job soon after and put this down to my experience and expertise.
“The second redundancy happened around the time that Covid-19 started to impact the U.K. I was determined to find new employment but I was more emotionally affected and this was heightened by the uncertainly of the pandemic”.
Identifying a skills gap and getting support from Working Wales
Whilst looking for other jobs in finance, Paula who was already aware of Careers Wales decided to make contact to get employability advice through the Working Wales service.
Paula was put in touch with careers adviser, Spike from the Bridgend Careers Wales centre. Whilst working together, it became apparent that Paula lacked a vital skill that most employers were looking for within job specifications.
With the help of funding from the ReAct programme, at the age of 61 Paula embarked on a SAGE accounts qualification whilst also updating her working knowledge of Excel.
“You’re never too old to learn new skills, whether it’s to improve your professional or personal life. I enjoyed the courses and found learning a thoroughly positive experience”.
Moving on from redundancy
Since finishing the courses, Paula has been successful in being offered more than one job and has been in the fortunate position of turning some down. Paula attributes this to the training and support she received from Working Wales and the ReAct programme.
“Being made redundant is far from easy, it’s actually really difficult. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I don’t think I had fully gotten over the first experience when it happened again. It’s only now on reflection that I’m fully understanding the anxiety and stress that redundancy causes.
“This time around I’m really looking for the right role for me and I’m being more selective on the job that I accept. There are good jobs around, you just have to look for them and be as employable as possible. I’m testament to the fact that you can also move on from redundancy regardless of your age”.
Find out about the redundancy support available to you in Wales. Get help with how to move on from redundancy with confidence.
Funding support for retraining, for those made redundant, or those who have become unemployed since 1 January 2020.