Starting anew at 50

Retrenched at 50, former banker Arnold Lim found a new career in the IT industry under the Career Conversion Programme.
After 25 years in the banking industry, Arnold Lim had worked his way up to be the Assistant General Manager in a major Japanese bank. However, when his company had to let him go due to cost-cutting measures in 2017, he wasn’t entirely surprised as he had witnessed other senior colleagues and peers experience the same fate. 

Arnold was determined to get back on his feet. First, he tried looking for another job within the same industry but could not find a suitable position. He then explored becoming a trainer for banks in other Asian markets such as Myanmar and even Mongolia. Unfortunately, that proved to be unsustainable as it was taxing for him to run a one-man show.  

Undeterred, Arnold decided he would spend his time learning more about IT and cybersecurity at NTUC Learning Hub— a field he always had an interest in. 
Retrenchment is unfortunate, but I’m not going to just give up. I am 50 years old. There’s still time for me to start another career.

It was then when a friend recommended Arnold to his current company which provides IT security consultancy. Even though Arnold lacked the IT knowledge, the company valued his vast banking experience, which allowed him to provide the insights they needed into finance, management, and accounting.

Arnold’s company signed him up for the Workforce Singapore’s Career Conversion Programme to be a Web Developer, so he could pick up technical skills such as programming. This Career Conversion Programme provides opportunities for Singaporeans to reskill and develop new capabilities to take on jobs in growth areas or redesigned job roles.

Your attitude determines your altitude, not your aptitude. I will not hesitate to ask my younger colleagues for any computer or technology knowledge when I need help.
Despite having to take a pay cut, Arnold was willing to take on the role as it provided him the opportunity to learn from experts in the field.
I was willing to adjust my expectations. It wasn’t just about the money; I wanted to learn and had a long-term goal — it was a win-win situation.
It has been 3 years and Arnold has no regrets making the leap to join the growing IT industry. He has also been actively learning about the field, and has tapped onto his SkillsFuture Credit to pursue a specialist diploma in cybersecurity at Nanyang Polytechnic.

Arnold’s advice for those who are looking for a mid-career change is this — be prepared to learn from scratch, stay open-minded to change and be willing to adjust your job expectations.

Photo & article by: Plus Collaboratives


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