A second chance: changing sectors amid the Covid pandemic

Gareth Jones is switching sectors, moving from car manufacturing to accountancy after being made redundant as a result of the Covid pandemic.


A recent survey by the Association of Accounting Technicians of people looking for a new job found over half [58%] were considering moving into a more secure sector than their previous role.

According to AAT research, the health and pharmaceutical sector is seen as the most secure, followed by education and accountancy, banking and finance.

With sectors including travel, hospitality and the arts hit especially hard by the pandemic, retraining opportunities, largely provided by vocational qualifications including apprenticeships, are rising in popularity, says the AAT.

Many of those looking to change profession are over 50. They include Gareth Jones who is 53. Gareth, from Bristol, has worked on a production line for Ford Motor Company for nearly 20 years, assisting in the manufacturing of car engines.

But the Bridgend plant where Gareth works is being closed at the end of September. As a result, Gareth is losing his job.

“After being told I was to be made redundant, I decided on a whole new change of career,” Gareth says. “I could have taken an easy route and trudged around looking for the same, uninspiring factory work. Instead, I chose accountancy.”

Gareth started studying at home for AAT accounting qualifications in March, with Ford paying for his accountancy training as part of Gareth’s redundancy package.

He has averaged about 95% in the assessments he has sat so far, with further assessments taking place this month.

“I’m taking six months out when my redundancy kicks in, in order to study full time to gain the full professional accounting qualification,” Gareth adds.

“Hopefully, despite my age, I’ll be able to secure a job and start a brand new career in accountancy. It’s quite rare to have such a sharp turn in your career path at 53, but circumstances have intervened, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

“I feel like accountancy has given me a second chance.”


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