You’re not too old to change careers, say those who’ve been there

Mactaggart said Hicken knows the local area and many people, and that an older cadet may be more worldly.

He said Hicken “is not afraid to get caught up in data and [is] feel free to talk to anyone ”.

Jaci Hicken in the Latrobe Valley Express newsroom in Morwell.Credit:Simon Schluter

RMIT University behavioral economist Dr. Meg Elkins says now is a good time to change careers because unemployment is so low.

“This means that there are greater opportunities in a strong economy for mobility than there were before COVID.”

But according to the latest available Australian Bureau of Statistics dataDuring the 12 months to February 2021, 975,000 or 7.5 percent of those employed changed jobs, the lowest annual labor mobility ever.

Among the 1.8 million people who left or lost a job, the most common reasons were people giving redundancies and “getting a better job or just wanting a change” (both 21.7 percent).

Nick Witkamp, ​​who has worked in the construction industry for over 30 years, is now training to be a police officer.

Nick Witkamp, ​​who has worked in the construction industry for over 30 years, is now training to be a police officer.Credit:Victoria police

Elkins, an actor who became an academic, said that as people get older, they reflect on their purposes and goals in life and are less concerned about satisfying others.

She said covid-19 had been the catalyst for many people to change careers. They reviewed their skills, character, strengths and values ​​and looked for jobs that matched.

Nick Witkamp, ​​56, spent more than 30 years working in the construction industry but will graduate as a Victoria police officer in November.

He said that his old career was no longer satisfactory and that his children encouraged him to seek happiness.

Leena van Raay, a former medical research assistant, founded Bike n 'Blend, a pop-up company that mixes smoothies with stationary bikes.

Leena van Raay, a former medical research assistant, founded Bike n ‘Blend, a pop-up company that mixes smoothies with stationary bikes.Credit:Vinnie Lum

He started at Victoria Police as a police detainee in 2019 and after three years at police stations in Melbourne’s east, he now becomes a police officer.

“With all my life experience, I would love to be able to guide young people in our society and change their perspective,” Witkamp said.

“When I joined as a PCO, I could not believe how welcoming and supportive everyone was, age was not a factor,” he said.

“My colleagues were the ones who encouraged me and gave me the confidence to believe that I could become a police officer.”

For most of her 20s, Leena van Raay, 41, of Northcote, was a medical research assistant at the University of Melbourne. But she wanted to get out of the lab and work in the community and do something creative.

And so 11 years ago she started a business, Bike n ‘Blend – who show up at festivals and events using standing bikes to power mixers to make smoothies.

The business is now active in three states, with over 400 events per year. Van Raay gets “itching” to change again, perhaps to become a consultant or study for a master’s degree in business administration.

“I’m glad I followed my passion, followed my dream, but I was also very knowledgeable about making it work,” she said.

“I feel now that I have itching again, I feel that I am in the same position, that I need a change. I feel like studying counseling or psychology and moving careers again.

“I think I like taking risks, more than the average person.”

To others who were considering changing careers, van Raay said: “I think if there is something they can not stop thinking about, absolutely. I think the risk of not doing it is worse than doing it. At least you will know.

“It is a great hope. I have a harder time making that decision for the second time.”

Jaci Hicken said that one reason to go into journalism was to learn new things, and therefore she completed a Diploma of Journalism at RMIT last year. And writing community stories appealed to her.

Like the diversity of newspaper work, and only during her first month, she has covered a lawsuit, the subject of gun safety, an art exhibition, a 100th anniversary and profiled eight local federal election candidates.

She says that she may not be as scared as a younger cadet would be, and that she is more comfortable chatting with people like e.g. seniorpolis.

To other older prospective career changers, she says: “You are not too old. You can go and do it if you want. You should do everything you actually believe in and want to do.

“I know it’s not possible for everyone, but if it’s possible for you, you should do it.”

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