There’s a taboo surrounding the number 50. Like it’s cursed or something. Particularly turning 50 and the downfalls it brings on that rocky road to turning 60. It's all hogwash, you know. So, your body is changing. You've got a wrinkle or two and a dash of salt on top. So what!?
And yet suddenly, when you reach 50, everyone feels justified in telling you what you can do and can't do. You'll be told to take things easy or to watch your diet or what clothes to wear. In some instances, your credibility as a worker diminishes because, you know, 50 is an unworthy number for some strange reason. Tell that to Harland 'Colonel' Sanders who founded his first KFC franchise aged 62. Age, my friends, is nothing but a number.
Have you ever wanted to learn something new or perhaps have been thinking about a career change at 50? It’s never too late. There are plenty of people already doing it and enjoying success and fulfilment for it. We've even got the stats and successful learners to back us up. Hear us out...
Generation Xers Know What They Want - Change!
Research has shown that people in their 50s crave change. They're bored of doing the same thing for years on end. Starting a new career or training and becoming their own boss is something that ticks a lot of boxes. A recent survey conducted by Rest Less, a site devoted to informing and supporting people in their 50s, asked 358 people in their 50s, 'Are you actively looking for a career change?' The result was a resounding YES.
90% of people in their 50s said that a new career would rekindle their passion for work. Moreover, Generation Xers aren't ready to retire; they're not even preparing. In fact, 210 people (59%) said they were actively applying for new roles or enrolling onto new courses to train themselves. In addition, 111 (31%) are currently looking for a new role and would be willing to apply as soon as something suitable arose.
Key reasons on their list for wanting a new career include reducing their stress or workloads, spending time with their family and friends, learning something new, following their dreams or wanting a calmer, peaceful life. Most of all, they want a new sense of fulfilment, even if it meant taking a lower paycheck home for the first few years. For many over 50, they're tired of being substituted to the bench. All that experience has got to be worth something, right? So, instead of getting out the pipe, slippers and decking their wardrobes in beige, they're starting their own businesses and doing pretty darn well, too.
90% of over 50s want a career change and 59% of people retrain for a new career at 50
Only 10% of people in their 50s said that they felt comfortable in their current roles. And even then, they weren't ready to slow down. One surveyee, aged 58, commented, 'I've worked my whole life. I've got a good pension on the go. While I'm not actively looking for a new career, I do like the idea of learning a new hobby or a new language when I retire. I'm an avid gardener, so learning about design or landscaping would be a nice change of pace. I've always wanted to grow my own pumpkins or a geranium patch with a small water centrepiece, turning my garden into a mini paradise.'
Taking Over The World: Turning 50 And Working Hard
Did you know that nearly 80% (78.5%) of UK employment growth in the last 10 years has come from over 50s? It's true!
Data gathered from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) shows that 40% of the UK's part-time workforce is over the age of 50. And nearly half (46%) of the self-employed workforce in the UK is now over the age of 50. This means more and more people are shunning retirement in favour of starting and running their own business. Great news, right?
It seems the age-old stereotype that wisdom kicks in when you reach your 50s is actually true. Those in their 50s are becoming less focused on frantic workspaces, pining for success and overachieving to climb the corporate ladder. Instead, they are keener to pursue their passions, using their lifetime of experience to get a good headstart on a new career or business venture. Usually, it's a dream they've been wanting to follow for a long time.
At 92 years old, I still enjoy writing every day. You just have to believe that you can do it.
For example, there's our wonderful student Mavis who enrolled on our Fiction Writing course at the ripe age of 92. Her goal was admirable, 'I want to keep my brain active. It's so easy to just sit back and do nothing. This is not good for the brain and turns it to mush. I want to write. I've lived a long time, through many key periods of history, and I want to create something special that people can read and remember. Something that touches their hearts and shares some truth about what life has been like growing over ten decades.
'At 92, it's not about success anymore. It's about waking up and enjoying every moment, and I feel I can do that through the words I use. I love coming up with new phrases, and I get excited when ideas come together. I don't think we're too old to do anything. You just have to believe that you can do it.'
Success Stories: Winning in Your 50s
At Oxbridge, we're proud to say 35% of our students are 50+ and thriving on their learning journies. We've writers, childminders, dog groomers, bookkeepers and photographers. It's because learning isn't restrictive. It's about freedom, choice, diversity and becoming the best version of yourself.
No matter who you are or where you're from, whether you're 16 or 92, you can be just like Mavis. We call it learning without limits, and we've helped tens of thousands of people fuel their curiosity, follow their dreams, and become rockstars in completely different careers.
Let's share a few success stories. These are all Oxbridge students who came to us looking to retrain so they can start a new career and, in some instances, their own business. How exciting! Use their insight as inspiration because, deep down, you know it too that it's never too late to start anew and chase your dreams.
Suzanne Thompson, age 53
Suzanne had a long career that spanned working for car dealerships and the South Yorkshire Police. When she was 19, she emigrated to Scandinavia, leaving her life behind in England to enjoy the wilderness of rural Norway. She worked as a waitress and loved her experience. When she became a mother, she came back to England to give her son the best opportunity in life.
She spent 19 years working with the South Yorkshire Police with one dream: Running her own business in Norway when her son became a self-sustaining man. She found Oxbridge and started studying Bookkeeping with hopes of opening her own small business. We're happy to say, she succeeded! And... Arithmancy was born. Now Suzanne works on her own terms to help small business owners reach their full potential.
Suzanne commented: 'My journey with Oxbridge has inspired me to toughen up and believe in myself. I hope that one day my business lets me support my family and contribute to my pension independently. For now, I’m just enjoying the challenge of it all. I’m dreaming of a future running my bookkeeping business from a cosy cottage on a lake in Norway.
'To everyone trying to start a business [in their 50s], don’t let your mind think you’re not doing well. Believe me, YOU ARE. Don’t tear yourself in two thinking you’re not good enough because YOU ARE. It’s a hard road and if you’re putting in every ounce of effort to reach your goals, DON’T GIVE UP. If you have support, USE IT and if you need to chat, CALL A FRIEND.'
Mark Reilly has been protecting our streets as a super cop for the past 17 years. Previously, he played as a professional footballer until he was 32 years old. At 49, he's already thinking about his future and what comes after when he retires from the police. Having worked with victims of crime, he's built a real interest in the human mind and aspires to help these people by starting his own life coaching practice.
Working through his Counselling Skills Level 3 with us in his own time around his police duties, Mark's determination saw him complete our diploma in just 7 months. The course taught him a lot about himself, and he developed the ability to really listen to others. Now Mark's building on his recent course success, looking into additional learning with our Mindfulness and Life Coaching courses to fulfil his ambitions. So, when he finally does retire from the police force, he's fully prepared to start his own business and help people on his own terms.
Mark commented: 'Studying with Oxbridge led to a greater perspective. The course helped me to understand why I dealt with key events in my life in a particular way. I learned about societal expectations, approval, and ego. As a result, I found out why I always pushed so hard to achieve high and meet goals. I realised all of the intensity from my younger years came from the pressure that I put on myself to live at a million miles an hour, or else I felt like a failure. With this new viewpoint, I let go of this pressure and became more empathetic with myself and others.'
Retraining for a new career when you're in your 50s isn't nearly as scary as you might think. All you need to do is figure out what you want. Of course, there are the usual things recruiters will tell you, such as updating your CV, analysing your skillset, and reaching out to realistic employers - some of which may even be looking for experienced workers in their 50s. But first, what do you want? After all, you don't want to move from one stressful and demanding environment to another. Unless that's exactly what you're looking for...
Perhaps you're not sure what you want or even what your options are, so we're going to throw a few suggestions your way. Whether you're thinking about changing career, starting a business, or just want a simple hobby when you're ready to retire, you can do anything with distance learning.
Starting a Business At 50 Ideas
Are you thinking about handing in that notice someday and starting a business of your own in your 50s? If so, we have a range of fascinating course qualifications that can be used to start a business once they've been completed. If you're a keen finance guru, you could earn yourself a prestigious ICB qualification and start your own bookkeeping business like Suzanne above. Perhaps you're fascinated with the organisation of parties, celebrations, concerts and fireworks displays; an event management course might be up your street. Not sure what starting a business looks like? Don't worry, we've courses for that too. Check out some potential course options below:
What are you looking for? A drastic change or a change that complements your skills or even a promotion? For example, if you're a hairdresser, are you looking for a big change, like moving into finance, or a small change, such as becoming a nail technician. Whatever your goal, retraining can help you gain the qualifications to impress employers no matter what the sector. Here are some course options you might consider:
Maybe you're tired of the 9to5. You want to wave goodbye to the rat race, and that's okay, too. However, like good ol' Mavis, having something to do in your spare time will make retirement a whole lot of fun. Guaranteed!
So the following might tickle your personal interest, whether you're passionate about designing gardens, writing a bestseller or grooming your puppy dogs into Crufts champions.
Just remember, turning 50 doesn't have to be a misery train journey into retirement. It can be a new lease of life and promise. Best of all, you can do it on your terms; not the terms of an employer or anyone else that might stand in your way.
It's a bonafide fact that people in their 50s are on the rise. They're taking over the workplace and they're starting more businesses than ever before. But most of all, they're living life to the fullest. All you have to do is believe it's possible, leap, and it will all work out in the end. Whether you're looking forward to a cosy retirement, or you're not quite ready to give up the workplace, we're behind you 100%. So, go on, go get that career change at 50 today!