In May 2016, around 20% of Australians were enrolled in formal study according to the Australian Bureau Statistics. Of all those studying, there were more females working on gaining a qualification than men. And an overwhelming portion of Australia’s students were under 24 years of age. The older the population, the less likely they were to be studying – with just 2.7% of people aged 55 to 64 years of age studying as of May 2016.
As the retirement age gets delayed more and more in the modern world, it’ll be interesting to see if that percentage increases as more older Australians take up study to continue working with their new-found skills.
There are, by the way, no clear figures available on the number of Australians over 64 who were engaged in study but we Aussies are a tenacious lot so you can bet your bottom dollar there are a fair few.
And since we never stop learning, we look at four common objections and explain why it’s never too late to return to study.
It's Such a Big Decision
The decision to return to study is indeed a big one. You may have childcare responsibilities, an existing career or be financially dependent on your current job. With flexible online study options however, balancing your career, your home life, and your study is no longer impossible. Sure, it will require a bit of commitment but that is one thing that age certainly teaches.
I Could Be the Oldest Person Studying
Today’s educators and trainers are well versed in working with students of all ages and backgrounds. Most staff and students alike welcome variety in their cohort and modern study methods have been developed to ensure that everybody gets an opportunity and study is accessible for all. It's likely that you'll be studying with a huge range of students from all walks of life so there's no need to fret about being the odd one out, let alone worry about how your age might affect your education.
I Already Have a Career
Although today’s employers put a great deal of value on work experience, there can be no doubt that returning to study will give you that extra edge over your co-workers. As well as gaining that all-important qualification to put into your portfolio, you will expand your skillset in new and exciting ways and earn more than you did before you started studying. 2015 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the average increase in full-time earnings for people with two or more non-school qualifications was $813 per week for men and $504 per week for women. Earning more is always an important consideration when it comes to your career so while you may think returning to study is for those seeking a career change, think again.
I Don't Know If I'll Enjoy Studying Again
There really is only one way to find out whether or not you enjoy any life experience and that is to give it a go. With such a large range of flexible study options you can start with a shorter course and, if you enjoy that, move on to a longer and more challenging one. You will be surprised at the self-empowerment studying as a more mature student gives you. You will find challenges of course but dealing with those challenges, be they intellectual or organisational, will give you a level of self-confidence that your work colleagues will envy.
Need more reasons? Here's why a Diploma is better than a Bachelor.
And if you're struggling to stay motivated while studying, here's some tips.