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Will Older People go back to University or Re Train?

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

University is often seen as the gateway to better jobs and greater employability. It’s a place for us to learn new skills and apply them to the working world. The question is, due to the current skills shortages in key UK infrastructure and engineering areas, will we now see more people applying for university courses?

More specifically, will we see the older generation decide to go back to university and get a degree? It’s certainly a top talking point in the UK right now, with many believing we’ll get a new trend of older people returning to Uni and re-training.

What are the main reasons behind this new educational trend?

Workers Are Getting Older

We've already seen a clear trend of older people being employed more and more in many unskilled jobs up and down the country. We regularly see people aged 64 and over working in shops or cafes, to try and earn a living. So, it stands to reason that we’ll see more old people realise that there are opportunities in certain sectors for them to gain qualifications, learn skills, and end up with a well-paid job.

It's Already Happening in the US

Over in the USA, we already see this trend happen. There was a story by NBC not long ago about a college custodian who studied for an engineering degree and graduated at the age of 54. A couple of months later he landed a job at a job aerospace firm thanks to his new degree. It just goes to show that older people in other countries understand that there are jobs available, they just need the skills to get them. Old people over here will see these success stories and think they can utilise opportunities like this too.

There's A National Skills Shortage

We touched upon this at the beginning of this piece when we spoke about there being a shortage of skilled workers for many infrastructure and engineering jobs. The fact is, the UK is simply not producing enough young talent to fulfil specialist skilled jobs in industries like rail transportation, civil engineering, and power utilities. In fact, studies suggest we are woefully behind other countries when it comes to producing skilled workers. Consequently, older people can take the place of all these young people that aren’t being produced and provide the UK with the skilled workers we need.

When you look at employment in the UK, all signs seem to point towards an older future, rather than one filled with lots of young workers. Just take a look at some of these stats from a survey in 2015 by The Economist:

● The number of 16-24-year-olds in employment has dropped to 3.9 million since 2005

● The number of 50+-year-olds in employment has risen to a massive 9.4 million since 2005

Older people want jobs, and there are now more and more skilled jobs out there for them. If things stay as they are, we will surely see a new trend grow with older people going back to university, gaining qualifications and skills, and finding technically skilled jobs.

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