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Learn New Skills in Your Sixties

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The Bermuda College Offers Programmes Ideal for Later Life Learning 

Today’s sixty-somethings don’t necessarily want to move at a slower pace. 

Even with money in the bank and a roof over their head, there are people who reach what was once considered retirement age and look at it as an opportunity for growth or a change in career. 

For help in doing that, many turn to the Division of Professional & Career Education (PACE) at the Bermuda College. 

“Longer life spans, declining birth rates and an extended middle age bracket mean this is a segment that cannot be ignored or sidelined,” said Tawana Flood, the division’s programme director. “These are people born in the ‘50s and ‘60s who enjoyed fulfilling careers, experienced success, are computer literate and who are not quite ready to throw in the proverbial towel as they approach or are enjoying retirement. It’s a fiercely independent demographic.” 

PACE offers access to training and qualifications through its industry partnerships and has set a goal of providing “programmes [that are] relevant to the needs of the entire community – particularly its expanding senior population”. 

“For them, there’s still so much more to accomplish, with even more freedom now to do so,” Ms Flood said. “They are active, healthy and productive. Most are familiar and comfortable with technology, with the added benefit of already possessing considerable workplace experience and savvy to become entrepreneurs in their own right. 

“This is very likely and truly the best times of their lives and the perfect time to take advantage of the scores of offerings in PACE. They are offered in the evening, or are self-paced. So as long as you are computer-literate and are familiar with the Zoom app, the sky is the limit. Even pensioners can leverage the division’s short online courses to broaden their skill set and knowledge base to enjoy new opportunities in the years ahead.” 

A Bermuda College spokesperson noted a worldwide trend of longer life-spans and declining birthrates. She highlighted a 2017 article in The Guardian. The British newspaper reported the number of people between the ages of 50 and 64 working in the UK shot up by 60 percent, to 8 million. The rise was far greater than the increase in the population over 50, over the previous 15 years. 

According to the 2016 Bermuda Census, it is anticipated that people over the age of 65 years will represent 25 percent of the island’s total population in the coming five years. As part of an effort to address that, the retirement age for Bermuda Public Service workers was raised from 65 to 68 in 2019. 

Despite an oft-repeated claim that “60 is the new 40” and that “ageing is just a matter of adjusting one’s mental attitude”, the reality is that “careful, intentional planning” is required while young in order to ensure that one’s later years are as fulfilling as possible, the College spokesperson added. 

She said it would be helpful if Bermuda’s sixty-somethings kept this post from “a senior blogger” in mind: “Middle age is dominated by two primary developmental tasks: Preserving stability in a world of increasing personal volatility and reinventing purpose and direction for the second part of life.” 

PACE can be especially helpful to any of the island’s “savvy 60s” considering the second task, the spokesperson added. The division offers more than 140 professional certification and designation programmes, workforce and vocational development, short-term and online courses worth exploring. Below are a few of the opportunities on offer: 

  1. Soon to become a pensioner? Why not sign up for the Financial Literacy workshop jointly sponsored and facilitated by the Chartered Financial Analysts, Bermuda group. You can meet with CFA experts for two hours per week for four weeks and gain a whole new sixties’ perspective of money. 
  2. As much as you’ve groused about the trials and tribulations of the office environment you’ve worked in for the last 20 or 30 years, let’s face it, you’re really going to miss ‘going in’ each morning. Why not transfer those considerable organisational skills to a whole new field? The Medical Administrative Assistant or Medical Billing and Coding courses will keep you busy and your mind sharp while enjoying flexible working hours. 
  3. How about a bookkeeping or finance course as a non-financial manager? Think of the value-add you could bring to your church, favourite charity or entrepreneurial enterprise. 
  4. Okay, you know how to word process; you even know your way around an Excel spreadsheet. Why not expand your Microsoft software toolkit with PowerPoint and Publisher? Or try your hand in the world of social media platforms? Try out a Facebook and Instagram marketing course to promote your new small business. 
  5. Data science is a hot new career prospect for those who enjoy working with numbers and love to analyse data. 
  6. What better time to challenge yourself to learn all about cryptocurrency and be prepared for the currency of the future? 
  7. Do you have several properties you manage? It’s not too late to gain critical insight into facilities management, real estate management or residential water management. PACE even has a project management programme for which you can earn internationally recognised credentials. 
  8. Always thought about becoming a published author? Or just enjoy creative writing? How about business writing as a second career? Again, it’s never too late. 
  9. Short, online healthcare courses help alleviate the stress and fear for those whose loved one may be experiencing the onset of dementia. Learn key elements for elder care, how to care for people with dementia, and what family caregivers can do to cope. 

Among its many advantages PACE offers “extensive, effective links with local business, industry, labour and government constituents”. It also provides a high standard of training and retraining at a reasonable cost and ensures that there is a “continued emphasis on customer-focused, workforce training partnerships with local business [and] industry constituents”. 

Equally important, the College believes, is that it allows its members access to training as well as qualifications to national and international standards. 

“Life can indeed begin at 60,” the spokesperson said. “Once one reaches his or her sixties there is the expectation of reaping the rewards of decades of hard, patient and self-sacrificial labour. [Even without that], despite the unwelcome constraints of this Covid environment, there are still opportunities that provide the freedom and means to travel, the indulgence of favourite hobbies and pastimes, volunteer work, or the gleeful right to live dangerously and do absolutely nothing with your extra time. 

“The Division of Professional & Career Education, through our partnerships, offers you access to training and qualifications of a national and international standard. The vision for the future of PACE is to optimise the current courses using a process of evaluation, review the total offerings and confirm that we are realising the potential in the full scope of all items contained in our PACE offerings. We also plan to aggressively grow by working with the local workforce to confirm what the actual need is. As we collect this data it will help PACE to identify what we can add to our already successful local and external offerings.” 

For more information: padmin@ college.bm. Alternatively, contact the recruitment officer: 239-4099; tdill@ college.bm 

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