I am to be made redundant from a local authority in March. After 10 years in manufacturing I took up a career in IT, trained in Access programming and got an MCSE, CCNA and City & Guilds in Technical Communication. In the past five years my post has been de-skilled. I have been on sick leave for four months with stress-related problems. I would like to get back into a hands-on network support role but I am unsure of how to proceed and wonder if there is much point trying as an inexperienced, unwell 40-something. Am I washed up?
Don't worry demand for your skills is high
You are in a similar position to many people working in the support field, particularly in local authorities, which have deskilled as much of the development and highly technical work has been outsourced. But there is a raft of companies supplying remote support to the local authorities that are always on the look-out for people who have an intimate knowledge of how they work. They are often prepared to upskill you in exchange for the knowledge you have. They see this as an equitable trade off.
As for being an unwell 40-something, you need to take positive action to get back on your feet. Make the decision that you will take the council's money for your work, make a plan of action to move into a new career, and then follow it through.
You will be amazed that simply by taking control of the parts of your life that you can, you will feel re-energised and better able to cope. Run a search for companies that outsource IT work in local or central government and then get a good CV together and send it to the companies direct. I would be very surprised if you didn't get positive feedback.
Solution by Tracey Abbott , divisional director, Zarak Group
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Hudson, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.
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This was first published in February 2005