Whether you've recently stepped off the career ladder to start a family or are coming to the end of an extended break, there are plenty of exciting professions you can retrain in if you’re not looking to return to your former path. Regardless of what sector you previously worked in, or how many years you’ve taken off, your work and life experience so far will have armed you with a multitude of transferable skills to make your next move happen. Here are 12 professions you may want to consider in 2018…
Nutritionists are experts in diet and nutrition; they promote good health and teach individuals and communities about preventing disease. To be a good nutritionist you’ll need to be interested in science and food, be able to explain complex things simply, have an understanding of other people and be a good motivator. Practically, you’ll also need an understanding of science, strong organisation and communication skills, plus good business skills if you’re hoping to go private or freelance. Most nutritionists have a qualification – usually a degree or a masters – in nutrition. Check out the Association for Nutrition website for a list of accredited courses.
If you have a degree in a teachable subject or are knowledgeable about a certain field, you could become a private tutor. It’s a great way to earn a living whilst being your own boss, choosing your hours and planning around family commitments. While there are currently no regulations in the UK about qualifications needed to become a tutor, teaching experience would be beneficial. While on a personal level you’ll need to be patient, friendly, enthusiastic and have a genuine interest in helping people learn. As a tutor you’ll have the option to teach from your own home, or travel to students’ houses, allowing you the flexibility to plan around a busy schedule.
Becoming an interior designer is a great career path for those with design and drawing skills, as well as computer-aided design and model-making skills. You’ll also need excellent organisational and project-management skills, and to be business savvy if you’re hoping to be self-employed. You’ll probably be based in a studio – in your own home if you have the space – but you’ll be expected to visit your clients and sites. While there are no set qualifications needed to become an interior designer, completing a higher education course in an art or design-related subject will help. In the role you could be doing anything from advising clients on colour schemes, fabrics, fittings and furniture, to creating initial sketches and detailed drawings on a computer. Visit the British Institute of Interior Design website for information on training courses.
If you love writing and social media, and want to share your lifestyle and experiences with others, starting a lifestyle blog or vlog could be a lucrative option. A clever way to mix business and pleasure, if you commit to it – making your content consistent, ethical, inspiring and genuinely informative – you’ll start to build a following and, if all goes to plan, interest from online advertisers which will eventually help you make a profit. Lifestyle blogging is an ideal career if you want to plan your own day, work from home, and maximise the time you can spend with your children.
You’ll need a camera to take photos (one that records video too if you want to vlog on YouTube) and – most importantly – a niche. The lifestyle blogging scene is very saturated, so being unique is key. Who knows… 2018 could see you become the next Rosie Thomas – aka The Londoner.
If you have top-notch listening skills, and feel inspired by the idea of helping others, training as a speech therapist might be for you. You’ll work with children and adults who have difficulties making themselves understood through speech – whether as a result of having a stammer, problems understanding or using language, or difficulties eating as a result of illness or injury. Most roles are with a hospital’s therapy department, but you may also visit patients in their home or school, or choose for them to visit you if you’re self-employed. To qualify, you’ll need a degree in speech and language therapy or human communication that’s approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. Those who already have a degree in a language-based subject could do a fast-track postgraduate course instead.
Love to work out? Well why not make a living from it? Personal trainers assist clients with their workouts and give advice on health, nutrition and lifestyle changes, motivating them to follow their programmes safely and effectively. As well as having recognised qualifications in both fitness instruction and first aid, you’ll need a good grasp of anatomy, physiology, nutrition and good people skills. You might work evenings and weekends – depending on what suits your clients – and if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to think about renting space in a gym, setting up your own facilities or visiting clients in their homes.
With a mission to help mums achieve a perfect work/life balance, Digital Mums offer social media training courses for mums, before helping them find flexible, remote work, providing social media support to small businesses.
Co-founded by Nikki Cochrane and Kathryn Tyler five years ago, Digital Mums has helped over 1,000 mums create stimulating, flexible careers that fit in around family life, with over 90% of participants finding paid work after graduating.
If you’ve had a career as a PA but the commute and office hours just don’t add up, why not consider becoming a virtual assistant? VA’s are often self-employed, working from the comfort of their home via email, Skype and or other online communication tools. It’s also a great option for those looking to work abroad, as you can do it anywhere you have internet access. Time Etc is a vetted site where your work is quality controlled by project managers who check the freelancers on their books are meeting deadlines and completing the work to a high standard. Once you’re signed up, Time Etc find the work for you and repeat custom is easier to find than on other sites where you have to bid against other VAs to get projects.
Being a social worker is a challenging role that could see you working with young offenders, refugees and asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence or children at risk of harm in their current living situation. Social workers help improve the lives of the people they work with; the role is hugely varied and you could be offering information and counselling one day and attending a hearing in court the next. As well as having excellent communication skills, tact and understanding, and the ability to build close working relationships with your subjects, you’ll also need a degree in social work approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.
As a mother, you’ll know exactly the kind of support that made a positive difference pre and post-pregnancy. If you’re looking for a role that allows you to pass this on, but are wary of the long hours and medical training involved with becoming a midwife, you could train to be a doula – a role involving providing practical and emotional support to families through pregnancy, birth and the early days of parenthood. As a doula you’ll work flexible hours, and either be employed directly by your client, or with a women’s refuge, helping vulnerable women become mothers. There is some basic, non-medical training involved with becoming a Doula – visit Doula UK for accredited training courses.
As a life coach you’ll help clients – individuals or businesses – take control of their situation in areas like relationships, careers, fitness, work-life balance and self-confidence. It’s common for life coaches to specialise in one of these areas and essential to feel you have that area in shape in your own life before offering advice to others. In fact, it’s common for people to become life coaches after previously overcoming their own personal struggles. Life coaching is a flexible career choice – you’ll set your own working hours, choose where to have your meetings and agree the number of length or sessions with your client. There are no set requirements for becoming a life coach but clients may prefer coaches with qualifications or membership to an organisation such as the European Mentoring and Coaching Council.
Perhaps you belong to the 57% of Brits who long to start their own business? While becoming an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to fully be in charge – creating your own business plan, working on your own terms and doing something you love – you’ll need unwavering commitment, strong business skills and dedication to work round the clock at times – with little time for much else in the early years. But – if you have the drive, determination and diligence – then now just might be your moment. And remember, you only regret what you don’t do.