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Retraining at 50 – Everything You Need to Know

Changing careers can be a daunting process, especially later in life. We have compiled a list of everything you need to know for a career change at 50 or older. After a new career in teaching? No problem. Looking to retrain in a new trade? Piece of cake. Retraining at 50 or older requires a leap of faith and we are here to help you through.

Changing careers can be an exciting but terrifying thought. You may be having a mid-career crisis: feeling underappreciated, overworked or in need of a fresh start. You might have grown tired of your current role or perhaps you want to pursue a lifelong dream.

Whatever your motivation, we have you covered. We believe that your best professional years can still be ahead of you. Read on to find out everything you need to know about changing careers and retraining at 50.

What to Consider Before Retraining

Changing careers is a big decision and so it’s definitely not something to be rushed. Before you hand in your notice, be mindful of the following important considerations.

1. Consider the Why and the What?

The why. Why are you changing careers? Is it to pursue a passion? Do you want to increase your earning potential? Are you looking for a more relaxing job to segway into retirement? The answer to these questions has a massive impact on the what: what career are you going to retrain for? What career is going to suit your current needs best? There is no need to rush this process, so take plenty of time mulling over what might work best for you.

2. Look at the Financial Implications

Before making any big decisions, consider the financial impact of changing careers. Would a career change mean taking a pay cut? Can you afford to drop down to minimum wage if necessary? What is your future earning potential in a new career?

Changing careers is alluring and fun but be sure that your books are in order before you do so.

3. Research, Research, Research

It is vital that you heavily research the job you want to retrain for: watch videos, ask friends who work in similar fields, and try taster courses. Get as much experience as you can to see what your future job might be like. This will help to reassure you that changing careers is right for you and will rid you of any misconceptions.

4. Career Change or Career Tweak?

Before retraining and giving your life a complete makeover, have you considered switching roles in your current job? Chatting over options with your employer might be a clever way of getting a fresh start without the hassle of downgrading pay or searching for a new job.

There may be other positions within your current company that you find attractive. For example, if you are looking to learn more about IT, then perhaps your employer could send you on an IT course and offer you a role in the IT department. A career tweak is certainly something worth considering.

5. Try Some Online Courses First

Okay, so you have decided that you want to change careers, what now? One of the best ways to upskill and retrain is through online courses. Online courses are an efficient and affordable means to gain new skills to help you land your dream job. At 55/Redefined, we have partnered with Maguire Training and ProAge to offer members over 20 free online training courses. The courses take 20-30 minutes to complete online and range from creative problem solving to managing conflict.

Courses not only teach you knowledge but also give you confidence. Confidence to thrive in the job market and in life. Here are a few examples of online courses you could consider:

  • Essential Marketing Skills: Interested in switching to a career in marketing? Take the first step with a quick and easy online course which teaches you the foundations of the marketing world.
  • Making Dynamic Presentations: Our course on improving your presentation skills helps you to develop an important transferable skill that is integral to many businesses and situations. Next time you are pitching an idea or selling yourself at an interview, be more confident with this course under your belt.
  • The Psychology of Negotiation: Another hugely transferable skill for any career is negotiation. Wanting to switch to a career in law or sales? Perhaps you want to start a small business and need to negotiate the price of materials? Whatever career you want to retrain for, negotiation is likely to play a role. Allow this course to give you the confidence boost you need next time you are at the critical moment of negotiation.

6. Consider An Apprenticeship

A brilliant way to retrain and continue to earn at the same time is through apprenticeships. Whilst you may be inclined to think that apprenticeships are designed for younger people leaving school, the fact is that you can do an apprenticeship at whatever age you want. Apprenticeships are largely, but not exclusively, aimed at vocational industries such as plumbing, fashion and hospitality.

It is never too late to take on an apprenticeship. You can use the government website to find local apprenticeships or apply directly to a company that you are interested in.

When applying directly to a company apprenticeship, you need to proactively seek opportunities. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile and reach out to your personal network to find opportunities to retrain: if you don’t have LinkedIn, then get it! Talk to friends you know in the industry and let them know you are looking for a career change. Rome wasn't built in a day: finding the ideal apprenticeship or opportunity is going to take time and dedication.

An apprenticeship scheme worth looking into is the Barclay’s Bolder Scheme. It’s an example of an apprenticeship scheme that is directly targeted at older adults looking to retrain. If you are interested in changing careers to banking and finance, then this may be the ideal scheme for you. Read more about the scheme here to learn about inspiring stories including one man who went from unemployment to apprenticeship and never looked back.

Quickfire New Careers You Can Retrain For

1. Teaching

Pursue your lifelong dream and retrain as a teacher. Progressive companies such as Now Teach offer opportunities to retrain you as a fully qualified teacher. Now Teach respects the bravery of retraining later in life and changing careers and are there to guide you through the process of achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

2. Tradesperson

Tradespeople such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters are always in high demand. The government offer support for older workers to help them to achieve qualifications to retrain and work in these areas.

3. Driving Instructor

If you are calm and collected behind the wheel, then why not retrain as a driving instructor? You get to teach students a valuable life skill and getting a license to teach is easy to do with any established driving school. You’ll have flexible hours and earn £20 - £35 per hour.

Changing careers at 50 doesn’t have to be daunting. You just need to take the first brave step. As a wise man once said: “the best is yet to come.”