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Contemplating career change into social work or train driving - stupid idea?

(52 Posts)
snowdropsrout Mon 12-Mar-18 22:10:09

I'm in my (v!) late 40s. Professional career of over 20 years managing teams and projects in mostly public and charity sector. Thinking of a total career change (if possible at this age). Two things I'm (bizzarly) being drawn to are train driver or social work. Anbody in those careers got any tips? Am I too old? Would you recommend? Minimum time to train? I've seen some fast track options for social workers (I do already have a degree but non related subject). How competitive for posts? (I'm in SE)

Bosabosa Mon 12-Mar-18 22:12:45

Train driving is a lot of time alone-but well paid and short working weeks. About 9 months to train

SlowlyShrinking Mon 12-Mar-18 22:17:27

I think I’d do train driving over social work. I know someone who’s a social worker and they wish they had done something else. I appreciate that’s a very small sample size, but their workload/responsibility/hours are RIDICULOUS

phoenix1973 Mon 12-Mar-18 22:17:41

Train driver takes 9 months to learn. Well paid. Heavily unionised.
However, it's shift work.
I used to work with train drivers.

hatgirl Mon 12-Mar-18 22:18:12

What is drawing you to social work?

NoqontroI Mon 12-Mar-18 22:19:49

Social worker here. The stress is huge. I'd be a train driver personally.

BossWitch Mon 12-Mar-18 22:21:40

Hard to get on a train driving training programme I think. I'd definitely go for that over social work if possible though!

Creambun2 Mon 12-Mar-18 22:22:19

Train driving is really, really hard to get into, 1000s of applicants when rail companies advertise and the selection tests are tricky too. You only have two shots to pass them then you can never apply again if you fail twice. See if your local rail company is recruiting?

bungleZippy12 Mon 12-Mar-18 22:24:35

Social worker here. 8 years qualified. Long hours, heavy caseload but I love my job. Varied and interesting/challenging and intellectually stimulating everyday.

essietopcoat Mon 12-Mar-18 22:26:26

Well i know a SW who has moved to the charity sector - 9 months on and her old job is still vacant - she could go back but doesn't want to.

ladybirdsaredotty Mon 12-Mar-18 22:27:36

I've worked in social care for years and wouldn't/couldn't be a SW, despite many years of relevant experience. Too many boxes to tick, too much safeguarding, huge amounts of responsibility, lots of jobs are in CP. We know the service users much better than the SW.

Disclaimer I am not a social worker

SevenOf1981 Mon 12-Mar-18 22:29:16

Think I'd go for train driver. A younger relative worked on East mids as staff for a while and then went for a driver job. PP is right; 1000's applied, but he was selected!
He LOVES his job. He was obsessed with trains as a boy, so I guess that must have helped. He isn't particularly academic.

TroubledLichen Mon 12-Mar-18 22:31:14

Too very different jobs there... train driver is better paid, with a shorter training time and unionised, as long as you’re ok with long periods alone and shifts then I’d take that over social work any day.

ladybirdsaredotty Mon 12-Mar-18 22:33:57

Yes, definitely echo a PP that from where I am, SW is much more intellectually challenging than my own job, however. That would be one of the positives for me.

Snowmount4567 Tue 13-Mar-18 00:13:23

Don’t want to disturb the thread but how do people go about becoming a train driver ?
Is the training often advertised?

SleightOfMind Tue 13-Mar-18 00:18:56

I’d be hard pushed to think of two more different occupations.

caroldecker Tue 13-Mar-18 00:22:44

Train driving is jobs for the union members - almost impossible to get into otherwise.

IntelligentYetIndecisive Tue 13-Mar-18 00:25:55

The selection process is gruelling.

I've seen groups of nearly 100 whittled down to fewer than 10 in a day.

The computer tests are fearsome.

There are reaction tests using a computer screen, headphones, pedals and and odd keyboard and a series of tests like these.

Bourdon Test

You're encouraged to play a game like Simple Simon or Bop-It to encourage faster reaction times.

It's as simple and as hard as waiting for the job adverts to go up and getting stuck in asap.

Good luck.

IntelligentYetIndecisive Tue 13-Mar-18 00:27:11

Sorry. Try that again

Creambun2 Tue 13-Mar-18 05:48:41

carol you are speaking rubbish tbh. Most drivers join a trade union when they start the job, no requirment to be in one to apply or get the job. confused

redandsilver Tue 13-Mar-18 06:01:09

Yeah go for it! Women have babies in their late 40's all the time, so why NOT go for a career change?!!! You're just a wee spring chicken and will probably live another 55 years at least, and be in perfect health for at least 50 of them!

DannyLaRuesBestFrock Tue 13-Mar-18 06:23:44

Hard to get on a train driving training programme I think

Yes, with bells on. My dh currently works in probation and has been trying to get an interview for train driving for a couple of years now.

Camomila Tue 13-Mar-18 07:32:13

DH works for tfl and would love to be a tube driver but has never been successful at the assessments. Your reflexes and hearing near perfect.

I think child protection social work would be horrible but adults with disabilities i've always thought would be really rewarding (did admin in a law firm that did lots of those type of people trying to get more funding for their child/parent or a place in a nice supportive livinh place)

Polarbearflavour Tue 13-Mar-18 07:59:41

I went through the assessment to be a train conductor. One of the tests is similar to what drivers have.

A fair few conductors/train managers go on to be drivers and that seems to be a way in. Pay wasn’t bad - 27k for conductor and up to 37k for train manager,

GeorgeTheHippo Tue 13-Mar-18 08:14:32

They are very very different jobs. Are you sure this isn't a "grass is greener" type fantasy?

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