One of the biggest barriers that career changers come up against is the financial one. For many, it is simply impossible to go back to zero and start working their way up from the bottom again. However, it is possible to retrain and maintain an income at the same time if you’re prepared to make the time and put in a little effort.
Skill Up In Your Spare Time
For most, going back to university, or starting back at college feels like it might be impossible, but a lot has changed.
If you’re lucky enough to live in London, a university like Birkbeck is a great option- I know from personal experience! Their whole offering is geared towards helping working students get qualified in their spare time with classes and lectures in the evenings and at weekends, complemented by a whole host of online materials.
The Open University has been doing it for years but now many other universities are opting to exploit digital developments and offer a range of courses for distance learners. This means that students aren’t tied to timetables in the same way that they would have been in the past and lectures and tutor groups take place online. Convenience aside, there are a range of other advantages to learning in this way; studying a subject in depth can broaden your horizons and open your eyes to a range of opportunities, you’ll get the opportunity to meet interesting people in your chosen field, broadening your network, and you’ll get to test out your interest before jumping feet first into a new career.
More information on distance learning courses can be found here
Retrain On The Job
The way that we work is changing and very few people working today will reach retirement without having changed roles at some point (apart from some vocational lifers out there like doctors and lawyers) in fact, a study by the Association of Accounting Technicians suggests that around 46% of people will retrain completely at some point in their career and sometimes a purely academic route won’t provide you with the vocational skills you need to make a shift.
If you’re lucky enough to work in an organisation large enough, a secondment is an attractive option. Typically lasting around six months and normally consisting of an employee being loaned to another department or external client, a secondment gives you a convenient opportunity to develop your experience and skillset and minimise risk by allowing you to ‘try before you buy’.
Earn While You Learn
Apprenticeships are typically associated with school leavers but that simply isn’t the case any more. The government runs two schemes designed to up-skill participants and give them qualification at the same time. There are Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships which allow students to gain qualifications up to University Degree level. These schemes are aimed at students of all levels and organisations such as BAE Systems, KPMG, Barclays and BMW all run schemes.
For more information on Degree and Higher Apprenticeships see here
Bit On The Side
This is a BIG trend at the moment, a quick google search returns more than three million results on the topic, but essentially it’s about building a business or second income stream in your spare time.
Obviously, if you’re working a regular 9 to 5 it requires a lot of effort to maintain another job or business in your spare time which is why a side hustle is also often a passion project. However, it’s an excellent way to develop new skills, get a business off the ground before quitting your day job or just a way of diversifying your skillset or income source.