Retraining after having children

women, educations, courses


Training is a big issue for working mums – whether it’s missing out on training for career progression or retraining into a different career after having children. Training is important to us, yet we can’t always access the learning we need.

Our research shows consistently high demand for retraining. Our 2022 workingmums survey found that just 27% of people have retrained in the last three years, yet a further 27% are planning to retrain in the next year.

A huge 68% of people say their career has stalled as a result of having children. 55% are considering looking for a new job in the next 12 months and 38% are looking to change sector in the near future.

Why do so many people change careers after having a family?

People who retrain after having children tend to fall into one of two camps. They are either aiming to improve their working situation to support their family, by increasing their earnings or prospects, or they are trying to address the challenges they now face as working parents.

Career advancement is a positive driver of retraining – where people are inspired to progress and boost their earning potential, or perhaps switch to a more appealing area of work that matches their personal goals and aspirations.

On a more negative side, some people retrain because their current sector or employer can’t give them what they need from work: flexibility, competitive pay or the benefits they need.

How do I restart my career after kids?

The first step is to assess what you really want and need from work at this stage in your life. Do you want to be home-based or have a short commute? Is part-time working important to you? Is there a particular field you want to work in? Do you want to ‘give something back’ in your next job?

There are various sources of careers advice you can look at for inspiration and guidance, including the government’s national careers service.

If you previously worked in a specific area but you feel that your skills are outdated, a returner programme could be right for you. Many employers are investing to attract skilled parents back to the workplace, and we summarise many of these opportunities in our Returner Programme section.

Many parents decide that self employment or freelancing is the way to go, and retraining can be an important part of that journey. Whether you want to become a heavy goods driver or a mental health counsellor, there are hundreds of self-employment opportunities available, many in high-demand sectors.

What to consider when retraining after having children

Aside from the obvious need for flexibility to manage your role in caring for your children, there are some other key things to think about when looking at retraining. These include:

  • Job security – make sure the sector you move into has a good range of opportunities where your skills will be in demand.
  • Cost of retraining – assess carefully the cost of retraining both in terms of money and time, and how that will impact your family.
  • Personal fulfilment – make sure that you will enjoy the role and get something positive from it. Happiness is actually more important than money.
  • Future trajectory – have a goal in mind and make sure it’s achievable.

What are the most popular sectors for retraining?

Very popular areas for retraining among working parents are education, healthcare, technology roles and construction.

The demand is partly fed by the need for people in these sectors, and partly by the appealing nature of these roles. Many people want to have a more rewarding, people-focused job by changing career.

For more insights into retraining, see our returning to work page. You might also be interested in looking at franchise opportunities, as training is often provided as part of the franchise scheme.

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