Finding a flexible job the most popular reason for retraining



Finding a flexible job is the main reason mums are looking to retrain, according to a poll.

The poll found nearly 32% of mums said they were looking to retrain to find a more flexible job. Some 24% said they wanted to find a better paid job, 17% to try something new and 13% to find a job nearer home. Some 10% did not want to retrain and 4% said they had another reason for retraining, such as wanting to get back into their profession after a career break.

One woman who said she was looking to find a more flexible job had swapped a career in law for HR. She stated: “I’ve stepped away from being an employment lawyer to set up my own HR consultancy as my job couldn’t give me the flexibility I needed.”

Retraining is a big issue for working mums.’s annual survey of over 2,300 mums shows some 65% are interested in retraining and almost a third have retrained in the last year.

One is Mary Atherton. She was working for a multinational IT company as a solution architect, designing and integrating computer systems for big government departments. She was working full time and had to travel a lot for work. Her younger son was having trouble learning how to read and was diagnosed with dyslexia. He needed a lot of support to help him to learn synthetic phonics.

Mary decided to take time out of her career to help him. She paid for training in phonics and volunteered at her son’s school. She says: “The experience of helping him changed my outlook.”

After a few years she was keen to get back to work and was inspired by her experience helping her son to consider teaching. She joined the graduate teacher programme and has been working as a maths teacher at Carmel College in Darlington for over three years.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership says teaching is a popular choice among career changers. It says almost half (46%) of all people who registered an interest in teaching in 2014 were career changers, with a significant proportion (38%) in their 30s.

Coach Emma Louise O’Brien says retraining should be looked on as a chance to enhance working mums’ skillset and open up more opportunities. She states: “Retraining might initially be daunting as you venture in a new direction. It could also be the quickest route to finding new fulfilling opportunities whilst also ensuring the right work life balance for you.”

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