Is it worthwhile to retrain as you get older? We’ve all heard the old idiom about teaching an old dog new tricks, as well as countless claims about how the brain is more ‘plastic’ when we are younger. Here we give you 3 reasons to keep learning as you get older, whether it’s a professional qualification or a more informal learning.
Learning new things has been shown to have big benefits for the brain, especially in older people. Studies show that exercising your mind reduces your risk of developing dementia. It doesn’t have to be career related. Learning a language, or how to play an instrument is cliché advice for a reason.
People tend to become set in their ways as they get older. On the one hand this is a good thing. Older people have a sturdy sense of identity that is not easily shaken. They know who they are. They are less self-conscious. But there is a dark flip-side to this coin. They become inflexible, stagnant. It is important to find a balance and keep developing who you are. The alternative is a kind of ‘death before death’ in which you are no longer developing or changing, and start to feel like a spectator to life more than a participant.
The sunk-cost fallacy is a well-known concept in psychology. It is the idea that investments you’ve already made justify further expenditure. Or in layman’s terms, ‘throwing good money after bad’. The sunk cost fallacy applies not only to money, but to anything else you can think of, including time. What does this mean for your career? If your career makes you miserable, the amount of time you’ve already invested in it isn’t a reason to stay. Worry about your future, not your past. It's the only one you can change.
If you’re thinking about a change of career, Portland Training has a wide range of courses to help you do it. One of the biggest obstacles to changing careers for older learners is their lack of digital skills. Data shows that 82% of job vacancies in 2021 asked for digital skills. In contrast only 7% of over-70’s are even able to shop and bank online. If you are already employed, we can offer you a fully-funded a digital skills course, but note that you must go through your employer. If this interests you, ask your employer to contact us about fully-funded digital skills training. If you are not currently employed, consider browsing our unemployed courses.