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WIBU to want learn a trade skill? Electrician, construction, painter decorating etc.

(29 Posts)
Decaffstilltastesweird Wed 14-Jun-17 08:52:37

And have you got any idea how I should start going about it?

I am a SAHM with one dc. I am currently pregnant with DC2. This will be our last child, (we think), and I am starting to think about the future and going back to work.

I have a, (languages), degree from a top university, but with one thing and another, my career has never really taken off. I have always done PA / secretarial roles and was quite good at them, but I am not sure that is what I want to return to. My language skills are now piss poor, (comparatively), as I've rarely needed to use them at work and I just haven't kept them up really.

More than anything I want to do something useful and gain a skill which is really in demand. I am always in awe of people who have technical / trade skills. Is it a bonkers idea to think about retraining in this field?

DC1 starts preschool soon, so I could

A) find a part time job locally, (though I'm pregnant and will be visibly so by then, so not sure how this would go),
B) do housework, get ready for the new baby arriving and rest etc on the days DC1 is at preschool, (we aren't desperate for money, though it would be nice to have a bit of an income),
C) Brush up on my language skills and try and find work relating to them, or
D) look at doing some unpaid work experience?

Tell me MNetters, am I being ridiculous if I think about doing the latter? Is it the hormones talking? I'm perfectly prepared for you to say it is.

Advice much appreciated.

19lottie82 Wed 14-Jun-17 09:00:14

I got made redundant and did a 6 month full time course in plastering at a local college (level 4 city and guilds). The course was free and if your household income was under £23k you were entitled to a bursary or apx £500 a month.

If house hold income was over this but under £35k and you could prove your outgoing self were more than your incomings you could apply for a hardship fund up to £500 a month.

I learned the skills to start as a self employed plasterer but it was a bit too much like hard work if I'm honest. One of my (female) friends on the course did it though and she does pretty well.

The college also offered similar courses in painting and decorating, carpentry and tiling.

I'm in scotland btw but I'm assuming similar courses would be available in other parts of the UK.

19lottie82 Wed 14-Jun-17 09:01:57

PS all the courses I mentioned are quite physical so I don't know if they'd be a great idea while pregnant but that's entirely your choice

Decaffstilltastesweird Wed 14-Jun-17 09:06:34

Thank you lottie. I will look into them. Yes, good point re the physical side in pregnancy.

MidsummerMoo Wed 14-Jun-17 09:09:34

It's not bonkers in the long term but I wouldn't bother with something so physical now (and you might not even be able to find somewhere happy to train you). Concentrate on relaxing before the whole baby thing again! Perhaps do some charity shop volunteering or some such come September just to feel better??

I've always liked the idea of a trade although retraining would mean a lot of time spent with (some very unmotivated) teenage boys which would drive me crazy...

Birdsgottaf1y Wed 14-Jun-17 09:14:52

""I'm in scotland btw but I'm assuming similar courses would be available in other parts of the UK.""

They were up until about 2012, now you have to pay for them.

You've got to be reasonably physically fit, so pregnancy isn't the time to start, tbh. Unless you already do free weights and have good hand strength etc, so it isn't new to your body.

I'd do some unpaid voluntary work if you want to get out of the house. It might help you to decide what you want to do.

Birdsgottaf1y Wed 14-Jun-17 09:19:58

Don't look at Charity Shop Work, go on your local Voluntary Website, there will be Charities who want your skills, also look at international Charities, such as Save the Children, Refugee Charities, it could open a hole new world for you, in the future.

Decaffstilltastesweird Wed 14-Jun-17 09:30:59

Thanks all. Yes, voluntary work could be a good option. I'll look at that website; thanks for that bird.

JoshLymanJr Wed 14-Jun-17 09:36:36

Based on our local area, one skill which is in very high demand is British Sign Language - there is new legislation coming in for local authorities to provide this for interpretation (again, in Scotland - may not apply elsewhere in the UK) and qualified folk are thin on the ground. Might be worth a go?

Decaffstilltastesweird Wed 14-Jun-17 09:38:34

That's an idea Josh. I used to live in Scotland funny enough, but now I'm in the Home Counties.

NC4now Wed 14-Jun-17 09:47:38

My DH was in a similar position two years ago. If you've paid your NI you should be able to sign on for contributions based JSA. DH got his course fees paid as he was signing on and did a painting and decorating course. He's now qualified and working full time making a decent living.
It may have changed but that was the situation then, so it's worth speaking to the job centre.

Missingthesea Wed 14-Jun-17 09:53:25

My son-in-law wanted to retrain as a plumber after he was made redundant, but was told he was too old; the college wouldn't get any funding for him because he was over 19.

Kokusai Wed 14-Jun-17 09:58:59

Electrician, construction, painter decorating etc

I think Electrician and Tiling are better than Plumbing/Gas, decorator, plasterering etc.

emma8t4 Wed 14-Jun-17 10:07:10

There are a couple of female decorators in our area and they seem to do well, I think the idea of having a woman in your house is less threatening if you are on your own. But even though not as physical as some of the others it will still be hard works especially with young children at home.

As other have suggested, why not look at volunteering with a view to working out what you want to do.

Decaffstilltastesweird Wed 14-Jun-17 12:09:47

Thanks all.

Based on nothing except the very limited knowledge I have, my first thought was that I wanted to be an electrician. It appeals as I would be able to work with my hands but also it's quite a technical skill (I think), so would be intellectually challenging and possibly less physical than plumbing, plastering etc? Don't know.

I'll do some research over the next few months and also look into volunteering. I've already signed up to help with a new Scout troop next term, so will have that to do.

InfiniteSheldon Wed 14-Jun-17 12:35:08

Brilliant idea OP I have a friend who qualified as an electrician she loves it and does really well. She mainly does small jobs as it works out better for her work/life balance

BillSykesDog Wed 14-Jun-17 12:36:14

Bear in mind that these construction can be a very, very difficult job to balance with childcare especially because conditions are not great in the industry at the moment. Starts can be as early as 6:30am. Days are 10 hours minimum. Overtime is required frequently with little or no notice. It will be relatively short term contract work often with a long commute. Wages are depressed.

At the moment there are a lot of people in the industry who will work 6 or even 7 days a week for no bonus payment and will do several hours weekday overtime for no extra pay at all, not even the hours worked. As such it's become pretty much expected as standard on a lot of jobs which sometimes in effect bangs them below minimum wage.

You might be better off looking at doing jobbing domestic decorating/building tasks rather than heavy construction.

BillSykesDog Wed 14-Jun-17 12:38:08

That applies for electricians too, domestic rather than site might be better.

19lottie82 Wed 14-Jun-17 12:39:09

missingthesea that's for an apprenticeship. The course I talked about and attended isn't the same thing, anyone can do it, there's no age limit.
You don't come out as a time served tradesperson, like you would do with an apprenticeship but you do have a qualification.

In fairness it's not really they type of course you could study to become a plumber or electrician, as they are too detailed, but the college I went to did a lot of trades.

19lottie82 Wed 14-Jun-17 12:42:01

OP the problem with becoming an electrician is I'm fairly certain that you would need an apprenticeship. Realistically if you're over 24 it isn't going to happen.

Painting / Decorating and tiling are fairly easy to learn and it's easy to set up your own business.

I did enjoy plastering but it was quite hard physically and I don't miss carrying 25kg bags of plaster up three flights of stairs bear

19lottie82 Wed 14-Jun-17 12:44:10

PS I may wrong about needing an apprenticeship re the electrical work but It would take a lot more time / expense to become qualified in than trades previously mentioned. It's not the kind of thing that you can learn the basics in then off you go IFSWIM!

BillSykesDog Wed 14-Jun-17 13:16:36

You don't need an apprenticeship, but people over 24 can and do become apprentices.

You can just train at a college instead.

19lottie82 Wed 14-Jun-17 13:25:02

Adult apprenticeships exist on paper but they're as rare as hens teeth in my experience.

JoshLymanJr Wed 14-Jun-17 13:29:28

You don't need an apprenticeship, but people over 24 can and do become apprentices.

You can be an apprentice at any age, but the issue is funding. In Scotland, the government funding is weighted towards 16-19 year olds. The funding then reduces dramatically for 20-24 year olds, and for 25+ many programmes aren't funded at all. The effect of this is that if an employer takes on an older apprentice they then have to meet the training costs themselves, so they are more likely to want a younger apprentice.

So definitely possible, but there are barriers.

missmove38 Wed 14-Jun-17 14:01:52

I agree with others that doing anything physical at the moment isn't wise! What would you enjoy getting up to do every day out of your suggestions?

I've been like this for a've just inspired me to start a new thread!

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