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What to consider when you quit your job to retrain

Lydia Smith
Writer, Yahoo Finance UK
Changing careers isn't an easy decision. Photo: Getty

It’s pretty rare to love every part of your job, whether it’s the dreaded tax return if you’re self-employed, paperwork or long meetings. But if you hate going to work every day and count down the minutes until the weekend, you may well be in the wrong career.

More than half of UK workers surveyed are unhappy in their jobs, according to research conducted by CV Library. More than a third (38.9%) cited poor salaries as the main reason, with 32.6% blaming the lack of spare for furthering their careers and 21.8% said a poor work-life balance was the key reason.

Changing careers isn’t an easy decision and it can be hard to know where to begin if you’re thinking of doing something completely different. Once you’re on a certain career path with a mortgage or bills to pay, it can take courage to change course.

Before you take the leap, here is some useful information about retraining for a new job.

“It is now not uncommon for us all to change jobs, companies and even industries several times over the course of our working lives,” says Deepa Somasundari, director of strategic projects at the global job site Indeed. “Our research showed nearly half of workers have switched career and among those who haven’t, two in three say they’re either thinking about, or previously considered, changing.”

READ MORE: When should you consider changing jobs or your career?

The changing nature of jobs and the types of tasks people do at work mean pursuing a new career often requires retraining or learning new skills. “This process comes with its own challenges such as choosing the right course and carving out the time to complete it,” Somasundari adds. 

“There is also the financial implication to consider but depending on the type of career you are interested in there could be bursaries or loans available to help with the financial burden.”

Retraining can be carried out in a range of ways and levels, whether it’s done on-the-job or independently.

Distance learning is a way of learning remotely without being in regular face-to-face contact with a tutor or teacher in the classroom, with the learning materials accessed online. There are also part-time and full-time courses as well as apprenticeships, work-based training programmes which allow people to earn a recognised qualification while gaining practical experience.

Although retraining has many benefits – from increasing job satisfaction to improving your career prospects – it can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, it’s important to be certain that you know what you want to do. You may also end up wasting time developing the wrong skills.

Before you undertake any training, think about what career you want and exactly why you want to do. Also think about what skills you need to develop and if they will be in-demand in the long term.

Remember, you may already have some of the skills relevant to a new career in a different field.

“Choosing a new career can seem daunting but it’s important to remember that not all changes require entirely new skills,” says Somasundari. “Transferable ones like communication, leadership and organisation are valued in all professions and can help make an early impact in a new role.

“The decision to change career is a personal one but the catalyst is often to find a job that is closer aligned to who you are and what you seek from work. The good news for those considering a career change is that most people who switch say they are happier since making their move.”

READ MORE: Extra earnings: how to top up your income with a second career

It’s also a good idea to think about ways you can keep money coming in while you retrain. Financial responsibilities are the main barrier to changing careers, whether it is making sure you can pay the rent, bills or keep food on the table.

However, there are a range of financial support options available to help you fund your learning – from adult learning and higher education grants to career development loans and government retraining grants. For more information on funding, visit gov.uk.

Once you’ve worked out how much you need to earn each month to cover the essentials, you can figure out the best option for you. If you can afford to work four days instead of five, it may give you more time to put towards your training. Evening classes may be an option too.