Retraining not retiring!

Thoreau noted, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” but you don’t need to be one of them. Adult retraining is more acceptable than ever and the prospect of feeling alive in the morning, with consequent benefits to your health, lifestyle and relationships, is an enticing one.

You may want a total change of field, in which case career retraining is the best route. Navigating the financial challenge is no longer the potential show-stopper it used to be, but plan carefully.

Alternatively, job retraining can enable you to expand your eligibility for a job that builds on your existing industry skills and knowledge but loses some of the current responsibilities you don’t like. Your costs and risks will be lower and your transition time shorter.

What types of retraining opportunities are there?

Start by asking, “What will make me employable, afterwards?” and browse for vacancies of the type you hope to get. Check out the skills required, the level of qualifications needed and the experience that employers expect to see from applicants before choosing from retraining opportunities.

  • Apprenticeships were for school leavers, but courses are now run for mature candidates.
  • Mature candidates on degree courses used to be the exception but are now common.
  • Master’s degrees are commonly used by mature candidates to develop a specialism.
  • A PhD can do the same but is less common due to the three-year timescale.
  • Distance learning is viable on a part time or purely evening and weekend basis.
  • Short courses are regularly run by local colleges looking for additional income.
  • Pure self-study is feasible, typically using online resources and can even be free.
  • Personal coaching and mentoring services can be used to build qualifying experience.
  • Piecemeal experience leading to full qualification can be guided by the professional institutions.
  • The armed forces give access to training via the reserves up to advanced ages.
  • It’s possible to become ‘qualified’ with a portfolio of part time or voluntary work.

Making the right retraining choice is crucial so building a formal career plan helps.

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