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Careers Column 9 - Retraining for a career change

31 August 2016

Throughout the summer our expert Advice Team is running a special Careers Column in the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo, Stroud Life and Forest Citizen, advising parents on how to help their children make the right choice for their education and future careers.

If you didn't catch it in the paper, don't worry - we will be posting the articles here on the GC news page each week on a Wednesday.

Week 9 - Retraining for a career change

Click the image to view the published article or read it below:

 Gc Careers Columns 2016 Week 9Jpeg

Retraining for a career change


By Steve Weldon, Advice and Guidance Manager

Throughout their working lives people continually change and develop, uncovering new opportunities and perhaps finding a passion or a particular strength along the way. Being able to adapt and transform is more important than ever to the current labour market, and the idea of a distinct three-stage life process – education, work, retirement – seems increasingly outmoded.  Rather than having a job for life it’s increasingly more common to have a portfolio career and retraining; adding to existing qualifications at a point that suits you offers the chance to access new prospects in life and work.

Thinking about a career change?

Whether your motivating factor is negative or positive, deciding to change career requires careful consideration. Will you go for a different role with your current organisation, the same role in a new company, or a complete change of direction such as starting your own business?

Some of the reasons that influence people’s desire to change their role include wanting to:

  • work more flexibly
  • learn new skills
  • increase income
  • work with different kinds of people
  • have more or less self-direction or support
  • work outdoors, or in a different environment
  • travel less, or more
  • work from home
  • move away from paperwork and admin

It also opens up the opportunity to return to learning and develop qualifications – but it’s important that any study you undertake matches the new role.

You’ll also need to consider how much it will cost to retrain versus the potential financial rewards of the new career you’re aiming for, and whether there is any help in funding the course you’d like to undertake, such as the Advanced Learner Loan.

Professional Bodies and qualifications

Many sectors recognise the value of people with experience who wish to retrain, and have well defined routes and qualifications – so it’s always worth checking whether the role you’re interested in is represented by a professional body. ‘Chartered Institutes’ and ‘Associations’ can provide quality information and support, and cover a wide range of professions, for example:

  • AAT - Association of Accounting Technicians
  • CompTIA – Computing Technology Industry Association
  • CIPD – Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  • CILEx - Chartered Institute of Legal Executives 

Many professional bodies have created qualifications specific to the roles, which are available to study part-time. Professional certification is often available at varying levels so that you start to build your qualifications from a point that suits your previous experience and skills.

What is a ‘portfolio career’?

An example of a person with a portfolio career is an accountant who works two days a week for a company, is a part-time accountancy lecturer at a local college, and has a consulting or private practice on the side.

The different roles in a portfolio career don’t have to use the same skills though. For example, a part-time teacher might also be a freelance graphic designer spending 20 hours a week working on design briefs.

Whether self-employed or working part-time for a number of companies, you’ll need to ensure you have the relevant skills, qualifications and network to make it a success.

Potential benefits

  • Self-determination – be your own boss!
  • A work-life balance that suits you
  • Able to move and work in new places

Potential drawbacks

  • Income insecurity
  • Balancing competing demands
  • Lack of routine
  • Lack of colleagues

So if you’re looking to progress in your current role, improve your chances of securing a job with a different organisation, or radically changing the path of your career, the value of researching and working towards a relevant professional qualification is always worth investigating.

Why Gloucestershire College?

We have a lot of experience offering Apprenticeships and work-related training. We have industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching staff which provide the ideal complement to work-based learning.

We are here to help

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