How to retrain

Are you thinking about retraining? People decide to retrain for many reasons, but before you take the plunge and enrol on a course, there are some important issues to think about.



People decide to retrain for a new career for many reasons, such as redundancy, exploring a passion, or simply wanting a change later in life. Before you embark on a possibly lengthy and expensive retaining programme it is worth spending some time thinking about a few key issues, to make sure your decision is solid.

What jobs will work for you?

The first thing to consider is what you really want to do in your working life.  Think about what fires your imagination, and also what will fit in with your lifestyle. For example if you have to take care of family members, young or old, you might want to choose to retrain towards a career that enables you enough flexibility with your hours to ensure you can keep up with your other responsibilities. 

You should also take into consideration your work experience so far. Think about what you have liked about it, and what you definitely have not enjoyed! Think also about the skills you have now, which could be transferable into another career or sector, and may even help you towards achieving a new qualification. 

What jobs would you like to do? Do some research on the skills you need for your dream jobs. Research the industry, including job security.

Once you have some sort of career plan, and the skills or qualifications you might need to get into it you can then start looking at what training you might need to undertake. 

Do you have the time and money?

Retraining will take time and money – so this is an important consideration before you start. 

Think about your upper budget and if you are comfortably able to pay for the course, or find available funding. With funding, such as student loans, you need to also consider future repayments. Professional qualifications will often be cheaper and faster to do than a University degree, for example. 

Organisations such as City Lit offer professional qualifications in a variety of disciplines including web design, accountancy,  IT and computing and child care. Some courses are distance learning – meaning they can be done from home and often at your own pace. 

Check out your local colleges too – many offer short professional courses and NVQs. It is also worth checking out professional bodies which offer courses, for example, the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Earning whilst you learn

Some re-entry or returner programmes will offer you a salary whilst you are learning which is a great way to learn new skills on the job. Check out more on returner programmes here

There are also other ‘on the job’ learning opportunities such as teaching so it is worth checking those out too if they fit with your goals. 

Perhaps you could also work part time whilst retraining, but make sure you can fit it all in with other family responsibilities as your retraining will need the focus it deserves if it is to be your stepping stone to a new career. 

Good luck!

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