career change and higher education in middle age

(10 Posts)
Frostybean Mon 25-Mar-13 15:21:00

I'm not sure if anyone can help but my DP is 45 and his one regret is not making the most of himself early in life. He is very bright with a broad range of knowledge (great at the pub quiz!) and a love of books. He left school at 16 though with a couple of O Levels and various CSEs and since then has held a number of entry level (shop floor) roles in heavy industry and healthcare. He married & had children early and this meant he felt unable to enter further education. He finds it hard to do any task which means that he has to go against his beliefs or 'suck up' to the boss. He has also refused promotion in a previous job which has meant that he couldn’t return to the area’s largest employer due to notes on his file. He has also been suspended for emotional outbursts (breaking doors) and walking off his job so he has difficulty in controlling his temper at work too. He is a lovely person though and none-violent elsewhere. Can anyone suggest how he can get an education and career at this late stage in life? He lacks finances (divorced with two children) and has a very hands on role with his children which I admire but this does place restrictions on what he can do and when in terms of education and work. I suggested he go and see a careers advisor in our local town but he said he went a few years ago and they were rubbish. He lives in an isolated village too to access to city resources is difficult. I desperately want to help him fulfill his potential but don't know what to suggest.

duchesse Mon 25-Mar-13 15:35:28

Does he want to? Nothing in your OP suggests that the idea of HE comes from him. He certainly sounds frustrated in his work but I suggest that you'd be up against a brick wall if he doesn't want to start studying again in his 40s.

Rockchick1984 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:55:12

He needs to work on controlling himself at work first - even with amazing qualifications and experience he won't get anywhere if he is violent at work or storming out of his job!

Once he has dealt with this, he needs to think about what he would like to do if training and qualifications weren't a barrier, then find out how to get the experience to do it. My DH is similar with lack of qualifications - he has always wanted to do sports journalism and has managed to secure unpaid work on our local paper writing for them - he goes to the games anyway so just means he writes up about them after rather than going out drinking after smile he enjoys it as a hobby and has been told that in future if a job comes up he will be considered. He's also doing English A level as an evening course at the local college. Your DP needs to try to do something like this, there's no point studying if he doesn't know what to do at the end of it.

Frostybean Mon 25-Mar-13 19:38:52

Duchesse Yes, he talks about 'bettering' himself & doing more worthwhile & rewarding work often. He says he feels stuck in a rut though as he has to work long hours to make sufficient money. He talks about it regularly, roughly once or twice a month, sometimes after meeting someone with an interesting job which he fancies doing himself.

Frostybean Mon 25-Mar-13 19:46:38

Rockchick1984 He admits that he is a terrible procrastinator and therefore ends up being made to do things through necessity or because someone else has done it for him. He is quite outdoorsy so wants to do something that involves outdoor work. His idea of hell is an office job like mine but he'd love the salary He is also a technophobe and has no internet or phone which is isolating and deprives him of research opportunities. There is no library with internet access in the local town either. He has therapy for his outbursts & depression. Your DH sounds like he's doing really well!

Rockchick1984 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:58:54

If he is interested in outdoor work, he could contact the local council and ask how they recruit for gardeners, see what knowledge he would need to gain for that? Pay would be reasonable with an excellent benefits package! If hes not on much more than minimum wage now he is free to start at the bottom somewhere and work up to a job he loves that also pays him a decent wage for it smile

Frostybean Mon 25-Mar-13 23:49:04

Thats a great idea! His grandfather was head gardener at a local stately home & DP often visits the old potting sheds & stores when its open to the public as he used to help out during school holidays. Thanks for comments & suggestions.

Kernowgal Mon 01-Apr-13 16:29:58

I changed career to horticulture a few years back (am mid-thirties) and it has been a great choice. I already had a degree so am from a different background but if it's the sort of thing that interests him his best bet would be to get a regular volunteering position with a local National Trust garden (or similar depending where you are) and build up practical skills. At the same time he could look into doing the RHS level 2 certificate as this is what most (good) horticultural employers ask for as a minimum. Many local FE or HE colleges will offer this as a part-time day or evening course and it costs a couple of hundred pounds a year. However it is pretty stringent and they like things done in a particular way so if he's not that academic he might struggle.

That said, a lot of private employers prefer experience over qualifications, and some might be happy to offer day release to gain NVQs at a local land-based college.

He sounds a lot like one of my former colleagues (who found redemption in gardening, though the visitors used to yank his chain frequently wink). You will never make your fortune in horticulture, at least not in the lower echelons, but I could certainly never go back to full-time office work now, and the crap salary is more than compensated for by the beautiful surroundings. Plus it's an area in which you can never know everything, there's always something new to learn, and a lot of it is utterly fascinating.

Frostybean Mon 22-Apr-13 11:23:15

Thanks Kernogal! Thats really useful. He has now started work with a tree surgeon on a part time basis to learn the ropes and is really enjoying it. I have offered to pay for the RHS Level 2 cert but he wont let me and cant afford it (will have to work on him!)

Sunnywithshowers Mon 22-Apr-13 11:27:12

That's fab news Frostybean smile

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