What to retrain as?

(22 Posts)
EternalSunshine820 Fri 15-Jan-16 20:21:53

I had a certain career as a single, childless professional for about 10 years. It was in an industry that is generally known for long, out of hours and weekend work at peak/intense times, and quite a lot of travel and overseas periods of work. Then I became a lone parent, relocated to a cheaper part of the country and have no support (so any childcare has to be within nursery hours 7am-6pm max).

I've been looking for work for 6 months and haven't succeeded in any interviews or really found much that is suitable. The industry I was working in isn't strong in this part of the country anyway. I have a pot of money and am considering retraining.

So my question is - what to retrain in, or as? - I'm thinking about how to future-proof myself.

My first thoughts were along the lines of either

- teacher training (not sure the training would fit well with my childcare issues, but should lead to a rewarding career that will have child-friendly holidays in the years to come and I could continue teaching/tutoring for years)

- computer science (wide field but lots of vacancies and seems to be the thing most in demand and will be in demand for years to come)

Any other ideas?

ThomasRichard Fri 15-Jan-16 20:23:23

Finance/accounting is always a skill in demand.

MazzleDazzle Fri 15-Jan-16 20:28:04

I second finance/accounting.

I'm in teaching. Depending on whether you're primary or secondary (and if so, which subject) will have massive implications on your work load.

JemimaMuddleDuck Sat 16-Jan-16 21:44:40

Nursing? Would never be out of a job wherever you are in the country. Lots of opportunity to move up the ladder. Not sure about the hours though.

Something in local government? Much more flexibility in hours than a private company.

BossWitch Sat 16-Jan-16 21:52:19

Run a fucking mile from teacher training. Sprint.

I know that others will feel differently, but that's my twopenny's worth. (8 years teaching experience, desperate to get out.)

wafflerinchief Sat 16-Jan-16 21:55:38

Which qualifications would you do in finance/accounting and which jobs would you be set up for? I'm in a similar position to op.

MazzleDazzle Sat 16-Jan-16 21:59:46

Haha Bosswitch! That's what I was thinking, but too polite to say
grin. I love teaching. It's an awesome job, but it sucks the life out of you. It's very difficult to get a work/ life balance and every other aspect of your life will suffer!

MarthaMonkeynuts Sat 16-Jan-16 22:12:41

Dental Therapist: 9-5 job, no travelling, no work at home, plenty of work available. 2-3 years to retrain.

Orangesox Sat 16-Jan-16 22:33:06

Definitely not bloody nursing. Training is brutal, hours are brutal until you're moving up the ladder (after three years of totally non flexible 24hr service demand shifts), money is appalling unless you're in management or undertake post grad training to specialise because no matter how long you're at the coal face, you're paid in your banding no matter what.

Seriously, undertaking nurse training as a single parent with no support is nigh on impossible, and working as one is no different.

daisychain01 Sun 17-Jan-16 02:02:35

Not sure I agree that computer science as a field is awash with jobs. Lots of companies offshore routine IT.

If you are going to retrain into IT then I'd recommend business analysis or project management rather than programming.

Out2pasture Sun 17-Jan-16 02:49:52

look into other allied health professional fields (OT, PT, x-ray tech, US or lab tech) nursing is brutal (took early retirement last year).
son has an IT degree from a university (BSc) very few classmates found work most went on to get a masters and take a teaching degree as well...
most IT work is done overseas.
maybe look into medical record technology, the security and coding aspect has industrial implications as well.
good luck but definitely research your options closely.

jclm Sun 17-Jan-16 22:40:55

You can get careers advice for free. Also have you read any career change books? If you have the cash I'd go and see a career coach who can help you with advice etc

slightlyglitterbrained Sun 17-Jan-16 22:56:53

Disagree that IT work is "mostly done overseas" - it might be in some industries that just want to buy in IT, but there are still plenty of software companies in the UK. I think the transition from uni to job is difficult though, and a lot of Comp Sci students don't go into IT roles. I wouldn't recommend it unless you genuinely enjoy it, so for the OP as she hasn't mentioned it as an interest I would say to rule it out. I also think that there are definite high-tech clusters - if you're not in one of these, it makes it harder unless you're able to get remote work.

EternalSunshine820 Mon 18-Jan-16 15:29:16

Yikes, so no teaching.. or nursing then.. or IT?!!

As someone nowhere near teaching, I thought that maybe the hours might fit well with having a child starting school in a few years and having similar holidays.. is it the same in both primary and secondary? What makes it so hard?

wafflerinchief those are my next questions too!

I have Prince2 (Foundation and Practitioner) already.. thought that might help with the job search but no far no biscuit..

A friend is taking an MSc in computer security but is dead good at it, companies seem to be falling over themselves to recruit him even while he's still at Uni.. maybe it's not the same for all IT courses. I don't have a particular passion for it, but could probably 'get' interested in something if I thought it was going to pay well and mean I had a career from now until retirement age, those are my main aims.

At the moment as a LP I'm a bit stuffed applying for jobs because I have no support, so everything has to fit within nursery hours and I therefore can't do a lot of travel, overnights, overseas, anything like that which all the senior positions in my field expect as a bare minimum. I looked at nursery, and midwifery, a while back but as you say Orangesox those courses and the jobs themselves seem impossible for a LP to pursue, unless they have an amazing support network.

slightlyglitterbrained Mon 18-Jan-16 16:43:48

It might help to know more information - e.g. do you have a background you could make use of in a related field? If you have Prince II quals, and are in a part of the country you can get work, then doing an IT related conversion MSc might help you get into project management work with one of the consultancy firms (if you're in deepest Carmarthenshire, don't bother, if you're in Leeds or Newcastle or Manchester - may be worth looking into it).

IT is a massive field and what someone tells you about how things work for IT in a telco or insurance firm will be totally wrong for a small web development agency. I wouldn't totally rule it out, but some areas are a crap fit if you just want a safe job till retirement (e.g. don't go for jobs as a Javascript dev, as that's very changeable, so you need to essentially enjoy tinkering around making stuff for people, talking to people to figure out what they want, and keeping up to date with whatever the latest tech is. If you don't get that buzz out of new stuff to learn and making, it'll be a crap fit).

MazzleDazzle Mon 18-Jan-16 16:53:40

I teach English in a secondary school. The preparation and marking are a real struggle to fit in with kids. A lot of the training/courses take place after school. I'm expected to meet up with individual pupils after school for one on one. It's an early start and late finish. If I leave sharp, then I have to take home piles of paperwork with me. Also, you have Parents' Evenings, Prize Givings...Just because school hours are 8:30-15:30, it doesn't mean that's what a teacher's hours are.

I work 10 miles from my DC's school and we don't have the same in-service days/holidays and there is zero flexibility with your hours/days off. I can't call in sick or take time off when my DC are ill. There's a great deal of pressure in my school to be there every day, no matter what.

However, I know teachers who teach other subjects in secondary and also primary teachers who get paid the same, but their work loads are more manageable.

Hedgehogparty Mon 18-Jan-16 18:45:41

Dental therapists/hygienists earn good money where I live. Plenty of work apparently, reasonably paid, no unsocial hours either.
Or something financial?

CountryLovingGirl Mon 18-Jan-16 19:30:40

Rule out other allied health professions - they work 24hrs (well, most do). Nightmare for childcare! RULE OUT any NHS work as they expect staff to be available 24/7 and be made of steel.

I would go for accounting/finance.

wafflerinchief Tue 19-Jan-16 10:37:15

I should say I've been a business analyst in what they call the quasi public sector (universities), that was very family friendly, not badly paid, decent pension, lots of holidays and low stress but the counterpart to it is that you pretty much can expect one promotion in a 20-30 year career, unless you are exceptionally lucky based on the experience of the one I worked at. I'd recommend looking at the careers section of any universities near you - they were very open minded about working 8-4/part-time and supportive of working parents, but the trade off is excitement.

EternalSunshine820 Tue 19-Jan-16 15:59:43

What does a business analyst do (what background do you need?)?

I do have 1 University almost bang on my doorstep, and at least 2 within commuting distance. I check the jobs boards but not many of the vacancies seem relevant and if I apply for anything outside my exact background I don't get invited in for interview. A friend who works there said they are inundated with applications for every job going.

My background.. I've ended up as something of a jack of all trades so this is a bit hard to explain. You might call me a project manager crossed with an account manager. Years ago I worked in events, putting together carefully researched conference programmes for public sector and private sector folks to attend, and then began project managing conferences, and then bigger events including exhibitions stands. Not things like the Baby Show, more the ones where business people meet other business people not the public. Then I've also project managed a national charity campaign for example. So I can sell my skills on the basis of e.g. marketing, events, projects, account management. The difficulty I've been facing is that at my level the roles all involve a lot of out of hours work and travel, overnight and overseas stays. I can't do any of those things as a lone parent. In the one job I did have after having DD, the managers were fine with me leaving early to get to the nursery but the staff I was managing (all childless) were very bitchy about it. In several job interviews, the interviewer has suddenly announced that I would need to go overseas for 1/2 weeks at a time on a regular basis when that wasn't in the advert and my heart just sank.

I fell into my career and wish I'd considered it more carefully, maybe had some advice years ago - found something more suitable. But that's easy to say with hindsight. I'd like to make a good choice now and feel like I'm building something for me and DD.

IT project management.. what about the East Midlands slightly? I think there are courses at Nottingham Uni.. my friend seemed to indicate the starting salary would be around £30k from his course which sounded pretty darn good..

And dental therapists Hedge.. what kind of money are we talking? (I can google it)

I'd consider accountancy exams, had assumed that to get anywhere you need to have done hours of overtime in your 20s.. but maybe I'm wrong. Anyone in Finance on here?

I'd consider fitness as an industry, but assume that personal trainers and the like don't get paid very well, or the gym takes a huge cut of their money if that's where they are based. I used to know a PT and the gym took a huge commission from her wages, she ended up with hardly anything.

wafflerinchief Tue 19-Jan-16 16:20:22

Mine used to get most applications for the admin jobs, it wasn't true for the IT jobs at the one I was at. With your background, you might also want to think about IT service management - it's a lot of communication to key stakeholders about production stability - ITIL is the main qualification. University or non 24 hour companies are where you want to do this though as if there's an overnight prod support element you can get called all hours - but that's always from home so not completely impossible. Business analysis (mine also had project managers) is process design - usually involving IT changes. If you look at 'business analysis' by James Cadle it'll give you a good idea. The British Computer society has business analyst qualifications that aren't too expensive to get. The university I was at used this package that was very tricky to find anyone with experience in, so they'd often hire BAs with little or other experience. IT is a good one to get into in general because starting salaries are pretty good - I work remotely (still working in IT) and not fab for moving up but it is flexible.

EternalSunshine820 Thu 21-Jan-16 15:43:11

Thank you waffler, very useful

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