Redundancy & Retraining

Changing Careers: The Career Changers’ checklist

Deciding to change career could be the best move you ever make as an older worker, but it is a big step. And as with all big steps, it pays to make sure you’ve thought of everything so you’ve got a good idea what to expect. When you change career, as well as thinking about things like location, salary and the job market, you may need to look into updating your skills and qualifications.

After you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential careers, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider before putting your plan into action.


As an older worker you’re roots are likely to be deeply embedded into your current town or location. If you’re not prepared to move, this will of course affect the type of job you are willing to do. While you can probably find work as a travel agent in most towns, you’re chances of finding work at an airport would be confined to London and other major cities; for example.


You’ll have opportunities for promotion in most careers, although this doesn’t always mean lots more pay. You may have to choose between doing something you love or going for something less appealing with more pay.

Time commitment

Changing career can eat away at your free time – you might need to work long hours, do voluntary work or study a course. Think about how this will affect others – possibly your partner, your children or anyone else you live with. Make sure you talk it over with your loved ones – if they know about how much time you need, they’ll understand and can support you more. If doing a full-time course isn’t possible time-wise, you could consider a part-time or flexible course or one of the many online courses or can do at home.

The job market

There’s competition in most careers, but some are more competitive than others. Careers that are seen as glamorous can be difficult to get into without plenty of unpaid work experience, enthusiasm and a certain amount of luck. If you’re attracted to a career like this, are you prepared to put in the extra effort?

Career progression

What opportunities are there to progress within the careers you’re looking at? Once you’re in, how would you get to the next stage – either within the same line of work, or in a related field? What training is likely to be on offer?

Working conditions

What will doing the job actually mean day-to-day? If it involves meeting lots of people and that’s not your thing, you might want to think again. Would you prefer a job indoors, or wouldn’t you mind being outside in the depths of winter?

Your circumstances

Your circumstances needn’t limit your career options. There may be extra support available if, for example, you’re a lone parent or you have a disability. If you want to learn new skills but have work or caring commitments, a part-time course could be an option for you.

What’s important to you in a job?

Once you’ve considered the factors listed above, making a list may help focus your mind. Try listing those which are essential, and those which are nice to have. An example might look like this:


involves dealing with people

close to your current home

earning at least £15,000 in your first year.

Nice to have

in public or not-for-profit sectors

opportunities to travel abroad

linked to a favourite subject you’ve studied.

Which qualifications do you need?

Looking at the job profiles should give you a good idea of the qualifications you’ll need.

Adult learning or higher education can be a great way of opening up new career opportunities. Remember it’s never too late to return to learning.

Plan your finances

This is the big one. Switching careers usually involves a drop in salary, as you try to establish yourself in a new field. Can you lower your outgoings, do without holidays, share a car, use some savings for a few years? Would you be comfortable doing without those holidays, meals out and regular new clothes?

If you want to do a course, have you investigated all the funding options? It can ease the financial cost if you spread out your learning – by doing a part-time or flexible course, for example.

Make sure you talk to your loved ones, as this financial sacrifice will affect them too.

Investigate different routes to the same goal

If you’ve identified the career you want to move into, are there different ways to get there? For some jobs you’ll need a specific qualification. For others, experience can carry greater weight. Sometimes there are different courses to get you into the same job – one classroom-based and one work-based. You might prefer to commit to a full-time course, or prefer to study part-time so you can continue working, for example. Pick the route that suits you best.

Have a back-up plan

If you’re trying to get into a competitive job area it can pay to have a back-up plan. Your plan could consist of some ideas of different jobs in the same sector or maybe jobs in different sectors that uses the same skills. If you’re dead set on a particular career but you hit a stumbling block, you could also consider taking a different training route or going in at a lower level and working your way up. Having a back-up plan means you’ll have some ideas for what to do if your first job choice doesn’t come off.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the National Careers service. Please click here to read the original article in full.

Dealing with Redundancy – Help and Advice

Redundancy isn’t usually welcome, but it is something that happens to many of us during our working lives; especially as we progress during our careers and get older. However, it is not necessarily a negative situation for older workers to be in; many have used it as an opportunity for positive change in their lives and careers so take a deep breath and relax as what’s important is how you react to a situation which you didn’t cause.

Why Me ?

It is natural to feel upset and hurt by redundancy but remember redundancies can be caused by any number of situations: falling profits, lack of trade or orders, increased competition, advances in technology, changes in legislation, even poor management are just a few of the many causes.

Employees, however, have varying degrees of protection to help them overcome being made redundant. If you had resigned or given notice, that protection would not necessarily have been there.

This article will provide you with guidance in dealing with your situation as an older worker facing redundancy.

The Do’s and Don’ts

Being made redundant can be a shock but try not to rush into any hasty decisions. These pointers can help you get into the right frame of mind to deal with things:

The Do’s:

keep calm

stay positive, see redundancy as an opportunity for change

focus on moving on, rather than looking back

take stock of your situation and look at your options

get advice from professional advisers

talk to your friends and family.

The Don’t’s:

take it personally – in reality, the job has been made redundant, not you

get too down about yourself – most people face redundancy sometime

panic, don’t make rash decisions

feel negatively about the company that made you redundant.

One thing is certain: it’s a time of change. Many of us find change a bit unsettling, but remember that it can also be for the better.

What you must do straightaway though

Before you leave your employer ensure you have all the information you need and all the documentation to hand. For example;

pick up your P45

get written details of your redundancy payment and package.

Make a note of the contact details of your:

line manager

trade union representative

human resources department

pension fund trustees.

If your employer offered any benefits such as health insurance, note the contact details of these too.

Your employer might provide free careers guidance to help you decide on your next move. Some will offer money for training. Remember to ask.

Whatever they offer, make the most of it.

What do I do next?

Don’t rush your decision – although you might have concerns about money, a quick fix might not be the best way forward in the long term. Weigh up all your options carefully – this way you’ll make the best decision.

Redundancy issues are complex. You should get help from a professional adviser who can explain your rights and look at your financial options.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the National Careers service. Please click here to read the original article in full.

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