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It’s never too late to start a new career: How you can make the leap

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The pandemic has turned the jobs market upside down.

Previously stable industries are on the brink of mass layoffs, while some smaller sectors are now struggling to keep up with an unexpected surge in demand.

A veteran hospitality or travel sector worker, for example, may feel they have no option but to look elsewhere if they are made redundant.

Meanwhile, lockdown has also given employees the chance to reassess the path they are on.

Time for change? Lockdown has given employees the chance to reassess the path they are on

Time for change? Lockdown has given employees the chance to reassess the path they are on

Around 70 per cent of workers are now more likely to consider a career change, according to Totaljobs.

Encouragingly, the job site says more than half of those who have switched careers after losing their job this year are happy with the change.

Here Money Mail explains how you can make the leap, too…

Where should I start?

Keep it focused. Career change specialists Careershifters says you can start with small, daily actions. 

Take ten minutes on a commute or lunch break to email a contact who works in a field of interest, or find a relevant online course. 

Don’t take a scattergun approach to your search; do a deep dive into a handful of areas.

Can I afford to do it? 

A change of direction can mean taking a hit on your salary. You must be prepared to start from the bottom. 

Recruitment firm Reed recommends researching salary expectations for your new career so you can adjust your finances accordingly.

How do I find my calling? 

‘Don’t get hung up on trying to find a calling, or your ‘one big passion’,’ says Natasha Stanley, head coach at Careershifters. 

‘Talk to people in industries that interest you to find out what their work is really like. Get out into the real world.

‘Try a workshop in something that’s always intrigued you. Do things that are different from what you’ve been doing up to this point. This will help you discover new career possibilities.’

What if I have no contacts?

You might be surprised. Check LinkedIn and old acqaintances. 

Tap into your network’s network by asking friends and family for introductions. Industry events, both online and in person, can also be helpful.

After 35 years as an engineer I’ve switched to teaching physics 

New career: Andrew Winterbotham lost his job as a mechanical engineer in December

New career: Andrew Winterbotham lost his job as a mechanical engineer in December

Andrew Winterbotham is among a raft of workers who have opted for a career in teaching since lockdown. 

Andrew, who worked as a mechanical engineer in Africa and Central Asia for 35 years, lost his job in December after his firm restructured.

He says he spent three months looking for another role in the industry but decided he had to look elsewhere when the pandemic caused a vacancy shortage.

Andrew, from Nutfield, Surrey, says he became interested in education because his daughter had just started secondary school.

Personal contacts put him in touch with Now Teach, which helped him find a training provider. 

The charity says there was a 70 per cent rise in applications to its training programme between March and May this year. 

Andrew is completing a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course to familiarise himself with the physics curriculum, which he will be teaching when he begins his traineeship at a nearby secondary school in September. 

The one-year programme costs £9,250 and he is applying for a bursary to cover living expenses.

Andrew says that although the move was foisted on him by the pandemic, he is happy to have made the change.

He adds: ‘I never thought teaching would be an option because of my age but it hasn’t been a barrier. With hindsight, I’m delighted to have found something new.’

He says his experience of speaking at conferences and working with people from different cultures should help him in the classroom.

Will my skills transfer?

The more you learn about an industry, the more likely you are to know whether you are a good fit. 

Network and take advantage of any free online courses that will give you a taste for it. It will also enhance your CV. 

Reed recommends making a list of your skills and experience and research potential roles that may fit.

Almost 70 per cent of workers who have started new careers since the pandemic say the skills they already had have been of use, according to Totaljobs.

Will I need to re-train? 

Once you have identified a role that you want, speak to the National Careers Service to find out what qualifications you need for your new path. 

There are often free courses, or companies might fund your training if they think you have potential.

But Ms Stanley says many jobs don’t need you to invest time and money in retraining. She adds: ‘Often, a passion for the industry and a willingness to learn will suffice.’

Miles Dilworth

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