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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to illustrate how important it is for older workers to keep up to date with technological and other developments – especially in industries experiencing major changes because of digitization. It also introduces the concept of IT certification and how this can help older workers to demonstrate their skills. Design/methodology/approach – The conundrum of unemployed graduates at a time of skill shortages and where this leaves older workers is discussed. The design and engineering industry has been used as a specific example and the kind of changes taking place has been illustrated. Findings – Reasons why managers should encourage staff to keep updating their skills and why certification is a good way to do this have been provided. Social implications – Reasons why employees who may be at the peak of their careers cannot afford to be complacent and to neglect to update their skills have been explained. Originality/value – This study discusses the impact of graduate unemployment and the need for training upon older workers and demonstrates the value of information technology certification for this age group.