• Patrick McBride

Good-bye job for life! Hello new opportunity!

Community Comment - Renee Rooney

Most of us don’t think of our jobs as a job for life – at least not anymore! In fact, British researchers say that a typical person will expect to have nine jobs, including one major career change, across 48 years of working life. That’s twice as many jobs as our grandparents and suggests that the concept of a job for life is now a goner!

Renee Rooney

We all know jobs are changing. We hear a lot about 21st century tech sector roles taking over but there are also new ‘old’ jobs that have become sought after - think distilling, craft brewing, barbering, furniture-making, upholstery and ceramics. Passions that have become jobs.

Of course we don’t always choose to change jobs. It may well be out of our control especially in times such as these, when COVID-19 is changing the working lives of so many of us in so many ways.

Who would have thought that nearly every organisation in the country could build the capability for their employees to work remotely from home in less than a week – and it’s now inevitable that some people will never return to shared workplaces. Employees will embrace working at home for a better lifestyle and employers may embrace it for better productivity and a cut in workspace costs. Nano-qualifications achieved online without ever going into a classroom nor meeting another student, and ‘zoom’ learning from home will likely become staples for re-skilling workers of all ages and capabilities. Despite it all we are, arguably, more in charge of our own working lives than ever!

But these challenging times make so many of us think about the security of our future especially when our job is under threat or even may no longer exist. And there lies the opportunity!

We could ask ourselves if a job loss is actually an opportunity to do something else, perhaps something that could increase our income, advance our career or help us achieve better work-life balance, and actually make us happier. Could a simple-to-access, online course help us add to our existing skills and prepare us for a career change whatever our age or capability? And importantly for many of us, could it keep us working and living here on the Coast that we love?

Proudly, the Coast has built up a workforce with specific skills which we want to keep in the region that we love to live, work and play in. All of you skilled workers are vital to ensure our region thrives in the future.

Given the chance, some of us might stay in the job we enjoy for our entire career but what is very real now is the fear of not having that choice and being forced out into a labour market we don’t know how to navigate.

But there are options. At this time more than ever, the West Coast needs to keep its skilled workers and there are West Coast organisations that need you!

We have skill shortages and employers who are finding it hard to get staff with the right skills for the jobs. Knowing which jobs are in skill shortage can help you choose the best job option. A great deal of work is going on behind the scenes to match new jobs with skilled workers who may be looking for a new opportunity.

At the same time, substantial Government funding is coming online in all sorts of sectors and at all skill levels. There have never been so many ways to be employed. It could mean working from home or in the great outdoors. It could even be your dream job!

Development West Coast has many connections to businesses that need the right skilled people so let them know your existing skills and what sort of job-change you are looking for.

What I know for sure is that the West Coast values its skilled workers and now is the time for them to shine more than ever!

Renee Rooney | DWC chair