Retraining For A Career Change. Is It Necessary?

Career change is complex and can throw up lots of questions, both practical and emotional. One of the most common is will I need retraining for a career change?

And of course, the answer is going to be complex too!

What is retraining for a career change?

This can vary hugely. It could be:

  • undertaking a degree or postgraduate qualification
  • taking short courses to update your technical or business skills
  • developing sector knowledge or skills for the role

How will I know what I need to do?

As you research your new career path, you’ll gather information to help you decide whether you need to retrain. It will be very straightforward for some careers, as you will need a qualification in order to practice, for example, becoming a midwife or a teacher. With others, it may feel less clear. For example, if you want to be a nutritionist you need a degree, but to become a nutritional therapist or coach you can do a shorter diploma.

And for other roles, there may be no specific requirement to complete any training before you change career. But you may feel you want to take a course to make you more marketable, boost your CV and demonstrate your commitment to your new career. Plus it can make you feel more confident in applying for jobs.

Where can I find out what retraining I need?

This is where your research comes in handy again. Job descriptions and person specifications will tell you what training and qualifications are essential and what is desirable. Plus, industry bodies and associations will provide guidance on what training and qualifications are needed.

Some employers will be more flexible than others about what is needed for the role. Talk to people in the industry.  You can often find them on LinkedIn, so be brave and contact them to chat about their career and what is needed. This will help you work out a retraining plan to make your career change successful.

How can I fund retraining?

The financial cost of retraining can be off-putting, but you don’t necessarily have to fund it yourself. There are various options to consider:

  • Career development loans
  • Adult learning and Higher Education grants
  • Self-funding – doing some financial planning to see if you can save enough to fund your courses, or whether you need to work part-time while you study.
  • Employer funding – explore whether your existing employer would fund specific courses or whether your potential new employer would be open to funding some training when you join. Always have a business plan to justify the expense and show where the return on investment will come in.
  • Returnships – some employers offer returnships to experienced professionals who have been on a career break which can include retraining as well as support with career change and confidence.
  • Apprenticeships – some careers may offer adult apprenticeships for people over 18. There is no upper age limit, and these can give you access an advanced level apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship.

Do your research and work out what you actually need to train in to have your dream career, and whether you have to do it before you change career. Make a retraining plan, work out how you can fund it and take the first step to your new career.

Need some help working it out or developing a ‘retraining for a career change’ plan? Get in touch to discover how career change coaching can support your first steps.

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