Over half of workers in the UK want to change careers, according to figures from Standard Life. It’s even more for young people, with 72% of 25-34 year olds desiring to move into different areas of the workforce. But, in most cases, this desire is not enough to fuel a change.
One reason people tend to leave their ambitions on the backburner is the perceived difficulty of learning new skills on the side, whilst keeping up a full time job. Work, money and family commitments can make the transition to a new career seem even more out of reach.
The important thing to remember is that it is both realistic and possible. People do switch careers, and find the fulfilment they desire, and you can too. Here are some useful tips to make that switch seem less daunting, and well within your reach.
1. Take online courses to learn new skills
Every day, the average person spends 116 minutes on social media. Those wishing for a change in career could use these online minutes far more productively. There are countless online courses that can give you the knowledge and skills you need to move into a new line of work.
The Open University, High Speed Training, and even job sites like Reed offer hundreds of online courses, recognised by professional bodies and curated by experts. In the time you would be browsing your Facebook feed, you could be developing your skillset and moving closer to making that career move a reality.
If your long-term aim is to become a teacher, for example, online qualifications will be more than enough to get you started in the Further Education sector. As the Association of Colleges makes clear, FE jobs do not always require a degree, unlike jobs in secondary or higher education.
2. If possible, go freelance to make time
With life and work commitments taking up the majority of your time, it can seem nearly impossible to fit any kind of training or upskilling into your day. If your current line of work allows for it, moving into a freelance position could be the answer to this.
Working as a self-employed freelancer will allow you to choose the hours you work and, more importantly, the hours you don’t. It’s in these free hours that you can spend time making moves into your new area of work. Be it learning new skills online, or even enrolling in study.
It’s important to make sure you’re in a good position to go freelance before you quit your full time job. It’s Nice That has a helpful guide for creatives hoping to go solo, and Time’s Money section has more general advice.
3. Take part time jobs to have more freedom
A popular alternative to going completely freelance is to work part time whilst studying. This gives you guaranteed work, and guaranteed free time to learn.
Depending on your relationship with your employer, you may be able to remain in your current job on a part time basis whilst you study. If that is not an option you could either find part time employment in your current sector or move into a new sector right away. This would help you build up experience and skills in the area you’re hoping to work.
Switching to a part time role would also give you the opportunity to ‘test drive’ your next career move by doing it on a freelance basis on the side. As the Guardian says, “A side project is a clever way to test and try out new career ideas and their money-making potential. Plus it comes with the added bonus of potentially earning you some extra cash.”
To take the example of working in further education again, picking up extra work as a subject tutor is an easy way to build up experience in the sector before you apply for a full time job.