Too old to start over again?

I’m 50 years old and I just lost my job as a machine operator in a textile factory because of company restructuring. I want to change my career. Is it possible? Who can help me?

This is the answer from Joane Lepage, an orientation counsellor who coordinates, notably, occupation-transfer committee activities to help people who have lost their jobs re-enter the labour market:

Whenever there is a collective lay-off in Quebec, an occupational-transfer committee to help dismissed workers can be created. First, see if that is the case in your company. The committee is made up of professional orientation counsellors and career management consellors whose goal is to help you decide what you want to do and to help you look for employment. In most regions in Quebec, there are also non-profit employment organizations for workers over 50.

These organizations—often funded by and under mandates from  Emploi-Québec—provide free career orientation and job search services and can help you find the training you need. For example, they can help you receive a secondary school equivalency certificate, a secondary school diploma or professional training. Even at 50, it’s still possible to get a diploma in vocational studies.

For your case in particular, there is a program in general building maintenance, which takes nine months to do and is a good fit for a person with your experience. Note that you can still receive employment insurance payments while undertaking career orientation, training and job search.

You last job helped you develop specific skills as a machine operator, particularly speed, mobility and dexterity, which can be transferred to a different field. These are qualities that should be highlighted to a future employer. Given the ageing population, employers who lack workers are changing their views and are more disposed to hiring workers over 50. Employers know that this age group represents reliable, available and experienced workers.

Jobboom Magazine

Vol. 7 no. 10

November-December 2006

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