Thinking of changing careers but need to retrain? Dave Snow, Academic Director at Home Learning College, gives some tips.
Whether you previously felt settled at work but feel that having children has changed your priorities, or you’ve just not found the job that’s right for you, it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to work towards a more fulfilling career.
Making your next move
If you are keen to secure a more satisfying job then it’s vital to understand what kind of role would suit you best. It can be extremely helpful to write down a list of criteria relating to your ideal career, as well as those you wish to avoid. For example, do you prefer to work as part of a team or on your own? Are you better with numbers or words? Do you feel comfortable in an office or would you prefer a job that involves you travelling to various locations? Is there a way to make a living from something you enjoy as a hobby? Be honest with yourself and avoid opportunities that don’t reflect your ‘wish list’.
Get the right qualifications
You may not currently have the qualifications or experience necessary to do something more fulfilling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to that position with a little effort. In fact, our research* shows that two fifths of the population are likely to study for a new qualification in 2010.
Recent advances in further education mean that more options are available to anyone looking to learn new skills or take the first step on a different career path. New distance learning techniques mean that you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to gain a professionally accredited qualification.
One of the key benefits to learning in later life is the ability to focus on topics that relate directly to your personal interests. In fact, 40 per cent of people say they are more motivated to learn as an adult thanks to choosing subjects in which they have a genuine curiosity.
Real life case study
For example, 29 year old Philippa from Norfolk breeds and shows pedigree dogs as a hobby. After the birth of her first child, she decided not to go back to work full time and instead started a web design course with the main aim of building a website focused around her dogs.
Philippa picked up the new skills quickly and was soon approached by people who were impressed by her talent and wondered if she could do something similar for them. Purely thanks to word of mouth, she is now in demand as a website designer and has worked with a number of well known organisations, including the Caravan Club and the Royal Air Force Association.
Philippa comments: “I initially did the course through Home Learning College to support my hobby, but several people who saw my website asked if I could do one for them and it just snowballed. It’s been fantastic because I haven’t had to go looking for work and I am making enough money to support my hobby, which means I can show my dogs all across the country.
“I usually get about three to four hours a day when my little girls are asleep during which time I can focus on my work. When I need to go and visit a client my sister in law looks after the children. The rest of the time I do all my communication online or over the phone. It’s a wonderful way to earn money without having to be away from the children for too long.”
If you’ve been in the same line of work for some time then it can be daunting to think about changing, but it really is worth the time and effort to gain a job that enhances your life, rather than simply being something you do to earn money. Take the first step and the rest will fall into place.
Dave Snow is Academic Director at Home Learning College. For further information on Home Learning College’s range of professionally accredited distance learning courses please click here.
*Survey conducted in December 2009 by Home Learning College