With tertiary education for ‘mature-age’ students on the rise, there’s no time like the present to consider re-skilling or enrolling in some kind of formal education program to learn something new.


In 2016, more than one million Aussies aged 25-64 were enrolled in a formal study program and, according to a 2017 study conducted over a 15-year observation period, 11 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men nationwide attained a new, higher-order educational qualification. The reality is, more and more people are upskilling, re-skilling, learngin something new and changing their careers as a result – and they’re not just your peers, but your competitors too.

When you consider the findings of the Life Course Centre’s study into returns to mature-age education, this isn’t exactly surprising. With the attainment of a new qualification bringing about wage increases of 9.4 per cent for men and 6.5 per cent for women for people aged between 25-63, the proof that pursuing further tertiary education will be worth your while, is in the pudding. Plus, with a recent government review of the national income-support system emphasising the importance of continued skill development and lifelong learning, there could be even more incentives to pick up a new degree or diploma later in life.

Maybe you’re stuck in a job you hate, or maybe you just feel uninspired with the job you once loved and need a refresh? Whatever the reason, there could be a tonne of benefits that come from starting a new education program. Jo Green is a career change coach who offers one-on-one consultations for people hoping to figure out ‘what’s next’.

“Fear is one of the biggest barriers to career change as people worry they will make the wrong decision, won’t have the skills and experience necessary to make a change, or will fail at their new career or won’t have the courage to make a career change,” Jo says. “It’s hard to let go, and even harder to trust that what’s coming next won’t bring you unstuck.”

Having made a big career change herself – going from working in marketing and fundraising for charities to helping people make their own career changes – Jo is familiar with the risks and rewards. She says that there are a few key things to keep in mind when thinking about learning something new and changing up your career.

“It’s important to be sure that it is the right career move for you before you undertake study, as well as being certain that you need a qualification and, if you do, exactly what is required,” says Jo. “Speak to several people who work in the area you want to move into to understand the daily reality of the career, and their experience of what qualifications and study are needed.”

Top tips for your career change

It’s not just about formal learning, either – Jo says that there are other things you’ll need to keep in mind before changing your career…

  1. You can’t change career sitting behind your computer! You need to get out there and speak to people to understand what the reality is of a career to help decide whether it is the right one for you
  2. Find ways to try out a career before you commit to it by shadowing someone at their work, volunteering, undertaking some pro bono work or running a trial or project with friends
  3. Pay attention to what resonates with you in the world and during career change exploration – the things that give you energy and make you feel great provide really important information about what fulfilling work will look like for you.
Anastasia White

Anastasia White  

Anastasia (‘Anny’ to her friends and family, thanks to some nickname experimentation in year 4 that unfortunately stuck) is a born-and-bred Brisbanite with a love of coffee and her cat, Olive. Having recently finished a degree in journalism, Anastasia loves being able to learn and write about so many different topics for a variety of audiences.