Paula proves that age doesn’t have to be a barrier to learning new skills that improve job prospects.
Paula, 62, is an AAT qualified accounting technician and has worked in accounts and payroll for over 19 years. Over the past 3 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 role 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 new job, the company went through a merger and Paula was again made redundant.
Paula says “I was 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 was a real shock and made worse as it happened around the time that Covid-19 started to impact the U.K. I was determined to find new employment but my confidence had been hit 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 the Working Wales services decided to make contact to get some advice from a Working Wales careers expert.
Paula was put in touch with a Working Wales adviser at the Bridgend 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 Welsh Government’s 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”, commented Paula.
Moving on from redundancy
Since finishing the courses, Paula has been offered more than one job and is now working for a new charity in an accountancy role.
When applying for the job, she found it required the skills that she had gained through her training and so she attributes her success to the support she received from Working Wales and the ReAct programme.
“Being made redundant is 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.
“I couldn’t believe how quickly Working Wales helped me, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Within two weeks of speaking with them, I was booked onto courses and received funding with no issues. I couldn’t be more grateful for how things have turned out.”
If like Paula, you’ve been affected by redundancy and feel you need redundancy support or access to training and upskilling please visit workingwales.gov.wales