New year, newly skilled you

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

There are very few of us who cannot claim to have made a new year resolution at some stage or another during our lives.  The determination to lose weight, or exercise more, or perhaps spend more time with the people who really matter to us.    But how about considering another sort of resolution: to make a fresh start to our working lives?

It is well accepted now that a working life can both be curtailed prematurely by industry changes, and at the same time extend well beyond the traditional retirement age.  The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton & Andrew Scott, examines just that, suggesting that as a result of changes to life expectancy and health, people can justifiably expect to live (and work) significantly longer than previous generations, and we may therefore need to consider alternative, more modular, working lives that take account of all these changes.

Juxtapose that with the profound impacts of the pandemic over the past couple of years, when we have read about so many people making meaningful lifestyle changes for themselves and their families: people who fled the city to make a fresh start in the countryside for a better quality of life.  Some of these shifts have been precipitated by the extreme nature of the pandemic and a desire to make changes, and some of them are borne out of sheer necessity – for example, their means to earn their living suddenly was no longer available to them.

Admittedly, during the depths of the early pandemic, both the desire to make changes and the need to do so seemed more imperative.   However, our annual employment survey, completed a few weeks ago, continues to echo that yearning for change.  Nearly 40% of respondents told us that they had made a career transition in the last year, and those transitions were so varied.  A number of people moved into education from industries including beauty, pharmaceuticals and heritage; one respondent documented a change from e-commerce to HR; others from marketing to retail, retail to property, community to consulting, tourism to sales, finance to property, construction to IT, software to PR, and most intriguingly the police to a career in sales!

Put all of this in a huge melting pot, give it a good stir, and it all points to the fact that career change can happen at so many different stages of our lives – whether it is prompted by necessity or desire.

But training courses to jump start career change can be expensive.  And the likelihood is that starting afresh in a new line of work will mean taking a significant pay cut – one which may simply not be affordable to most people, who have bills to pay and families to feed.  Every person has to decide what may work for them, but there is support out there!

At Work Avenue, we have a number of schemes that recognise the need for career change.  Our vocational training bursary fund offers significant funding to aspiring career changers for whom the cost of training is simply prohibitive; and our social enterprise trains people in key in-demand skills for today’s workplace and then crucially offers them paid project work in that field – building both the individual’s skills and experience at the same time.  Both initiatives are two of our most popular service offerings to clients, underlying this itch for career change we observe so often.

So as the Romans said: carpe diem – seize the day!  Make 2022 the year of the new highly skilled you!

About the Author
David Arden is the CEO of Work Avenue. He has a background in project management, business change and delivering strategy and has held roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors. 
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