Mature age returning to work

Experience matters! There's never been a better time to choose to return to the workforce on your own terms as a mature aged person — your skills and expertise are valuable and are needed by employers. Just bring your life experience, and we'll help you turn it into new opportunities.

Free and friendly advice

We know you have so much to offer – more than you may realise.

A friendly careers specialist at your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help you translate your life experiences and skills into job ready skills and knowledge— whether it's a new job, starting training, or career planning support — your local JSC can help. And all services are free!

To get one-on-one assistance that can boost your confidence to take those first steps, reach out to your local Jobs and Skills Centre today. They're located across Perth and regional WA, and all services are free.

If you're not sure how to take the next step...

There's no limit to what you can achieve!

Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations
Job Ready program

“It was way out of my comfort zone because I’ve been in hospitality most of my life, but I thought I’d give it a go. I’d highly recommend the course to anyone — it’s been hard at times but the mentors and trainers are so encouraging, it’s been a great experience to grow and stretch myself. It’s opened up a whole new world to me.”

Mature age apprenticeship
Certificate III in Commercial Cookery

"Being a mature age apprentice, I adopted a few strategies to make sure I didn’t fall behind. I could see the big picture, take risks, and 'walk the talk'.
I was determined to put in the work and study hours – which I did.
Now I am a fully qualified chef!"

Certificate III in Individual Support

"I was searching for suitable career paths for my mature age, found the TAFE discounted courses and read the 'Is this the course for me?' and thought it was.
I love my work with every shift making a difference to those in need."

Ready for new opportunities?

The world of work has changed significantly over recent years, and you probably have too! If you're mature age (45+), and would like to refresh and boost your skills to help grab new opportunities and get back into work, take a look at these free programs and support funded through the Commonwealth Government.

Job Reconnect

If you’re eligible for the Job Reconnect program you can get additional support to find the career you want. There are opportunities for free training, career advice and assistance finding a work placement to get you on the right path.

Job Reconnect is available to help you on your path to employment by removing barriers to entry. You can connect to training and jobs across a range of priority industries that your skills may be suited to including construction, hospitality and health.  

If eligible, the Job Reconnect program offers:

  • up to $1,500 in funding to cover work-related costs such as licenses, specific upskilling requirements, work clothing, transport and childcare prior to employment;
  • connection with Group Training Organisations to link you with employers and provide support along the way; and
  • incentives for organisations to offer you employment.

Contact your local Jobs and Skills Centre on 13 64 64 for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for the Job Reconnect program?

To be eligible for the program you need to be a jobseeker who genuinely seeks employment, and has not been in paid employment in the last three months, and either:

  • 45 years of age or older; or
  • a person exiting the justice system
Do I receive the $1,500 in funding?

The funds are advanced to the Group Training Organisation (GTO) who organises and pays for services to help you become better skilled and job ready.

Can I approach a GTO directly?

Not all GTOs are funded in this program. You need to contact your local Jobs and Skills Centre who will refer you to a funded GTO.

What can the $1,500 be spent on?

This is not a complete list, possible work related expenses that could be funded may include:

  • White Card certificate
  • Working at Heights certificate
  • Construction plant operator training
  • PPE equipment
  • Drivers licence
  • Travel to training
  • Child care prior to employment
Do I have to enter into a traineeship or apprenticeship to be eligible?

No, you may be placed directly into employment or a traineeship or apprenticeship may be offered. The GTO will recommend the best option suited to your skills.

Are there any GTOs operating in the regions?

Yes, there are GTOs operating in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Mid West, South West and Great Southern regions.

Work Bonus

If you're an eligible pensioner, the Work Bonus from Services Australia can help you earn more income from working or self-employment, without reducing your pension payments.

Find out more here.

You may have more skills than you know!

We're not just talking about all the skills and experience from your previous working life; but from all of your life, work, learning and leisure activities and experiences.. they are all transferrable skills that employers are looking for, and are an important part of the "picture of you". These skills are particularly relevant when it comes to looking for jobs that you may not have any actual work experience in — for example; maybe you had a 30-year career in engineering, but now you're looking for work in aged care — that's when you need to call on your whole gallery of skills, to show what you have to offer.

Here's just a few examples of how your life experience translates directly to employability skills.

What you've been doing What skills and knowledge you could have 
Managing a household Budgeting and financial management; planning and organising; time management; problem solving and decision making; creative thinking
Travelling Planning and organising, languages, communication skills, time management, resilience, negotiation and conflict resolution; decision making; problem solving
Being on committees Teamwork; listening skills; verbal communication skills; business documents and practices; budgeting and financial management; negotiation and conflict resolution; decision making; problem solving; time management; planning and organising; leadership
Chief cook Food preparation and safety; nutrition; kitchen and cooking skills; planning and organising; time management
Being a parent Communication skills; listening; negotiation and conflict resolution; problem solving; creative thinking; first aid; time management; planning and organising; leadership; teamwork
Sports and leisure activities Teamwork; leadership; communication skills; listening; negotiation and conflict resolution; physical flexibility; decision making; problem solving;  time management; planning and organising
Volunteering Depending on the type of volunteering you have done, this could be a long list! Think about teamwork; communication skills; time management; decision making; negotiation and problem solving; business documents; business practices; customer service and leadership

There are just a few examples, but never think that you "haven't been doing much" because you haven't been in paid employment... think about all aspects of what you do, and what you know, and how they relate to being in the workforce.

Useful resources

To help get you take stock of your life experiences and how they relate to employability skills, the following resources may be useful. You can find them all here

Template: Recognising skills and abilities Discover the skills and abilities that you already have
Checklist: Personal and transferable skills This checklist will help you identify skills that are transferrable to the workplace
Fact sheet: Employability skills Discover what skills you already have that are important to most employers
Fact sheet: Changing your career Use this to help guide you towards a career that suits you
Template: Your action plan Get started on your own career action plan and start setting goals for your future

Supporting your goals

It's exciting to think about rejoining the workforce, and all of the opportunities ahead! We understand that you may need a little support to get you closer to your goals.

  • You may feel that your English reading and writing skills aren't quite as strong as they need to be to get a job or get into training.
  • Or maybe you would like to boost your maths skills?
  • Are you confident using digital technology?
  • Perhaps you need some support to be able to access training?

We offer Foundation Skills and Equity courses which focus on language, literacy and numeracy; and employability skills such as teamwork, problem solving, self-management, digital literacy and using technology – all key skills requirements for success in both training and the workplace.

We also offer a range of learning support options available through our Participation—Equity programs, where you may be eligible to receive:

  • assistance with language and literacy;
  • assistance with translation and language;
  • mentoring and counselling; and
  • assistance with things like meals, transport and child care.

Find out more about our learning support programs

Occupational profiles

We have hundreds of occupation profiles you can browse through; and find out about job responsibilities, working conditions, and training you may need for each role.

Use the keyword search below, or you can go to or main Occupational Profiles list and browse through the list from A—Z here

Why rejoin the workforce?

Being part of the workforce here in Western Australia offers you many benefits, and there's also some great reasons why WA businesses would love to see you back in the workforce!

Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people

You are needed!

Age diversity is critical to business success —each person in the workforce brings unique skills and abilities to the workplace, based on their work and life experiences. 

Older workers are often more productive, experienced and reliable and offer qualifications, technical abilities and transferrable skills gained over many years, which compliments the skill sets of younger and/or less experienced employees. Mature age employees can also enhance team performance and morale through mentoring and coaching; and are often more experienced in areas such as communication skills; problem solving and decision making; teamwork; resilience; and leadership. 

Age is far from a barrier! Smart employers know the value of experience — know your worth. 

A great fit for certain industries

Mature age people are actually sought after in some industry areas, where emotional maturity and life experience are important "tools of the trade". One great example is the community services industry — particularly in areas such as aged care, mental health, disability support, and social work — although the industry does attract younger workers, some occupations greatly benefit from the experience that age brings. Customer service roles such as those in call centres is another example — mature age people are generally better at communicating clearly and handling difficult situations such as complaints or complex questions from customers.  It's all about looking for the positives!

It's your time now

You're at a stage in your life where you can focus more on "me" — what you want to do, and what your goals are. There may be new things to consider if you'll be balancing career and family responsibilities, but many employers offer flexible working hours and conditions that make this easier, and parents who return to the workforce often feel empowered by the benefits that working offers.

Change can be very stimulating, like recharging your brain! Be confident in your skills and abilities — nobody likes to feel like they're in a rut, so getting back into work may be just the change you need. 

Financial independence or less money worries

A career comeback means more financial independence for yourself, and less money-related stress for the whole family. Whether you want to work part time to help with bills or spending money, or get back into a full career with a nice salary, it's a great feeling to have that financial support!

Family-friendly flexibility

More workplaces than ever are now embracing the idea of family-friendly work environments, and allow you flexibility over when, where, and how your work is accomplished. In fact; there's actually workplace legislation that encourages it! And working from home options are now becoming more available, which is a great help with the work-life balance. 

Learning new things

Returning to the workforce opens up a whole world of learning — new skills, new experiences, new people — it can give you a whole new energy! 

Gaining new skills and developing your knowledge through training is another great way to progress towards a career. If you're skilling up, most TAFEs and training providers offer delivery options to suit all kinds of schedules. These include on campus, full or part time, flexible delivery outside of business hours, online learning, or via virtual classrooms!

Social and networking benefits

We sometimes don't really think that work equals friends, but most people have at least one friend at work. Some of us even have a workplace best friend! Getting back into the workforce will introduce you to new people, who can enrich your life. Working can also help you to build a professional network, which is a great way to enhance future career prospects. 

Sense of accomplishment

Sometimes you just want something for yourself —  something that you are achieving, reaching your own goals. Returning to the workforce can give you a fantastic feeling of pride and accomplishment. Even if you just start with small steps — maybe a low stress part time job — it feels good to know you're moving forward in a positive direction. 

Your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help you take those first steps to returning to work.

Our free online jobs board

Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people

We have a free online jobs board, with a great range of jobs available — from entry level through to higher level career opportunities — maybe your dream job is on there right now! It's completely free to use.   

Jobs and Skills Centres work closely with employers, business owners and industry across WA to find employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and traineeships, and post them to the jobs board. You can use the filters to search for specific jobs, and in different locations.  When you see a vacancy on the board that interests you, select the title to read more about the job and how to apply.

If you would like some assistance using the jobs board, or to update your CV/resumé and write an application, your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help.

Visit the jobs board

Top tips from employers

The Commonwealth Government's Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) talked to employers about what they look for when hiring a mature age person, and they have some top tips to share.

Starting your job search
  • Identify your strengths (experience, skills and personal traits)
  • Match your strengths to the jobs you apply for
  • Do your skills, such as computer skills, need updating?
  • Create a targeted CV/resumé that highlights key skills and experience, but keep it relevant and concise
  • Emphasise relevant experience and skills in your job application
Expand your search, approach employers
  • Many jobs are not advertised, so approach employers directly and get yourself known
  • Present yourself well and confidently to employers
  • Always leave your CV/resumé, with a current email and phone contact
  • Follow up on your CV/resumé and job application
  • Ask friends and family to keep a look out for job opportunities
At job interviews
  • Don't undersell your strengths, or focus on age
  • Demonstrate what you can bring to the job
  • Confidently explain why you would be an asset to the business
  • Emphasise the transferability of your skills and experience
  • Don't draw attention to perceived negatives, such as periods of absence from the workforce

Thinking of a career change?

After working in the hospitality industry for most of her life, Glenda decided — at age 54 — it was time for a career change. She participated in the Career Transition Assistance program, where she was supported to identify job opportunities and attend interviews. 

“I was ready for a change and I’m really enjoying it. It’s also opened up my eyes to other types of work that may be out there for me now” Glenda says.

Watch this short video to hear more about Glenda's story. 

Options to skill up

If you're keen to jump into work with a new occupation, or you need to skill up and build some confidence before you're ready to get into the workforce, we've got some great options for you! 

We have free short course skill sets, targeted to specific job ready skills that can give you a head start on getting a job; job ready programs that include work experience so you gain real hands on experience; pre-traineeships and pre-apprenticeships to help you get an apprenticeship or traineeship; and full qualifications with course fees reduced by up to 72 per cent.

Plus we have support available to help you get into training, and specialised support programs if you would like to build some job ready skills. You can also get free advice and information about training at your local Jobs and Skills Centre.

Free short courses: Skills Ready skill sets

Our range of Skills Ready skill sets have been developed in consultation with businesses and employers to deliver fast track training that will get you skills ready for jobs. They are available in areas including including hospitality, aged care, healthcare, retail, business, cyber security, green jobs, pool lifeguard, small business, agriculture, heavy haulage driving, mental health, construction.. and many more!

Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people

Whether you're looking for a skills refresher or an introduction to a new field of work, these skill sets will bridge any gaps in your knowledge without too much of a time commitment — most run for only a few weeks and are available part time, and some can be done online.

Some of these skill sets are 100% free for everyone, and others are 100% free for eligible persons including jobseekers; and people holding a pensioner concession or Health Care Card. 

All the skill sets contain units from nationally accredited and recognised vocational education and training (VET) qualifications. 

Show me all the free Skills Ready training

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Doing an apprenticeship or a traineeship enables you to earn while you learn — you work and get paid, just like a regular employee, but you also complete a vocational education and training (VET) qualification. And they're not just for "young" people, there's no upper age limit. The training component is delivered through a mix of on the job learning, and formal training with a TAFE college or training provider.

Apprenticeships focus on licensed trades areas such as bricklaying, engineering, plumbing, hairdressing, mechanical, electrical etc.

Traineeships are generally for non-trade areas such as information technology, business, aged care and retail. 

Pre-apprenticeships and pre-traineeships are designed to give you introductory-level skills and experience, to help you get into a full apprenticeship or traineeship. 

You can find out more about apprenticeships and traineeships here


Mature age apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are not just for young people! A mature-age or adult apprenticeship is a great option for career changers or people who are re-entering the workforce, and age is no restriction. 

Many employers prefer to take on a mature-aged apprentice as they often have skills and experience that younger apprentices do not have. There's also financial incentives available  for employers who employ a mature age apprentice. As long as you are eager, willing to learn and driven, you can be successful! It's never too late to follow that dream. 

Enjoy this short video from Verushka, who made a career change into a mature age apprentice at Alcoa WA.

One of Verushka's main motivations for doing an apprenticeship was to be a role model and set a good example for her young daughter.

The things she has enjoyed and found the most rewarding about the mature age apprenticeship experience include coming back into learning and going to TAFE; the support from her lecturers and learning different things from different people. She now feels more confident about herself and her abilities, and is loving her job as a mechanical fitter at Alcoa's aluminium refinery where she enjoys finding solutions to fix problems.

Job Ready Programs — Pathways to employment

Are you looking for work, but need some skills and experience? How would you like to get on a pathway to employment, through a program that combines training and on the job industry experience? Plus opportunities to connect with a job, an apprenticeship, traineeship, or further training and employment? Right now there's many new programs and projects all across Western Australia, creating a pipeline of work and fantastic job opportunities in a range of industries, and our Job Ready programs can give you a head start!

Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people

There's never been a better time to get on a pathway to employment, and we want to help you take advantage of all these opportunities! Our Job Ready Programs are short courses that combine training at a TAFE college or private training provider, with a period of industry placement where you'll gain real hands on experience in the workplace.

The programs are currently available in a range of industry areas where the jobs are — including aged care, disability support, and building and construction — and they're 100% free for eligible students including jobseekeres; and people holding a pensioner concession or Health Care Card. 

Find out more about the Job Ready Programs

Qualifications with course fees reduced by half or more

For some jobs or career goals, you'll need to have a full qualification. The good news is we have reduced the course fees* by up to 72 per cent on 210 qualifications for areas where skilled workers are in demand, to help you take advantage of these job opportunities!

Course fees are capped at only $400 annually for eligible students!

That means that concession-eligible students won't pay any more than $400 in course fees*, no matter what they actually add up to — this can save you hundreds of dollars! The $400 annual fees cap is available for people aged 15—24; jobseekers; people receiving Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY or ABSTUDY, and persons holding  a pensioner concession or Health Care Card. The annual course fees cap is $1,200 for non-concession eligible students.

These reduced-fee qualifications are part of our Lower fees, local skills program, and they're available from selected TAFE colleges and private training providers across Western Australia.

With 210 qualifications to choose from, there's something for everyone — from automotive to aged care, tourism and hospitality to information technology, childcare to agriculture, pastry chef to viticulture, building and construction to electrical engineering, science, veterinary nursing, web design and development... too many to list here! 

These are all nationally recognised and accredited qualifications. And remember, eligible students won't pay more than $400 in course fees for any of them! We have details about these reduced-fee Lower fees, local skills qualifications and how the annual fees cap works, plus a full list of what's available, on our Skills Ready page.

Show me the reduced-fee courses

*The fee reduction and annual fees cap applies to course fees only — other fees may apply. Please visit the Skills Ready page for full details.

Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people
Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting mature age people

Free advice, information and support

If you're motivated to make a move, but need some friendly advice around returning to the workforce in a way that works for your personal circumstances, our Jobs and Skills Centres can help. Free advice is available from career experts who can work with you to create a plan to get you into the workforce, in a job that's right for you. They can also help with decisions about training options if you need to skill up.

If you're not sure how to take the next step – reach out!

JSCs are located across Perth and throughout regional WA. The best part is, all the services they offer are free! From information and advice about training courses, through to help with job seeking and career planning, they are ready to help. Call your local Jobs and Skills Centre for a chat, or find your nearest centre and stop by.