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There are many reasons people want to retrain, but, before you take the plunge, you need to think through some key issues. workingmums has some tips.
So you want to retrain? There may be many reasons you might consider a new career. Perhaps you have been made redundant and there aren’t many opportunities in your field. Or perhaps you have always wanted to explore a particular passion, but have embarked on another career path which you are not finding fulfilling. Or perhaps you have been out of the workforce for some years and your motivations for working have changed or you have developed new interests and skills which you want to explore. Many parents, for instance, find that their reasons for working shift after they have had children and they develop new interests and want to work in patterns that are more compatible with balancing work and family life.
The first thing to consider is what you really want to do, what fires your imagination and what fits in with your lifestyle, for instance, if you have childcare considerations you may want to choose a career which has fixed hours. You also need to look carefully at the career you have had until now. What do you like and dislike about it? Write a list of pros and cons and include the skills you have gained.
What jobs would you like to do? Do some research on the skills needed and how different people got into those sectors. Research the industry, including job security and availability and issues like flexibility which might be important to you.
Once you have some sort of career plan of what it is you would like to do and what skills you might need to do it then you can start looking at the kind of retraining you might need. Break it all down into doable steps.
Be honest with yourself about retraining. You will need to consider your budget and whether there is funding available for training, for instance, student loans. Could you manage on this money? If you could not manage for, for example, the full three years of a degree course, you could check out professional qualifications. There may be shorter courses which will get you into the right sector where you can work your way up.
Organisations such as the e-careers, whom workingmums has teamed up with offer professional qualifications in a variety of disciplines including accountancy, web design, IT and computing and child care. All can be done from home. Local colleges also offer short professional courses and NVQs and many careers have professional organisations which offer courses, for example, the Chartered Institute of Marketing offers a variety of professional courses in marketing.
You may also be able to earn while you learn, perhaps by getting a part-time job, but be realistic about how you will fit this in with any family responsibilities. Ensure that the course you opt for and any funding shortfalls can be covered realistically without forcing you into too much debt or making life extremely difficult. You need to give yourself a realistic chance of achieving your goal.