eight considerations for retraining for a new career

Have you set your sights on training and working in a completely different job? Making the move can be daunting. These eight key considerations are aimed at making sure you start off on the right path.

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There are numerous reasons why people switch careers.  For some, it’s because they want to pursue their dreams and do something that excites them.For others, it’s time for a change and new life or work path. The reasons are varied. So too are the challenges associated with changing careers. 

Career moves aren’t something to be taken lightly, especially as most involve having to retrain for the new job you’ve set your sights on. However, they aren’t impossible and can be extremely rewarding, providing you properly prepare for and plan them. 

According to research from the Association of Accounting Technicians, UK workers think their last chance to change career comes at the age of 41. The study of 2,000 employees also found that most worry about being stuck in their career when they reach the age of 36. 

If you’re at a career crossroads and think a complete change is what you need, here are eight key considerations, designed to provide you with the insight that’s required for a successful transition.  

'what do I really want?'

As obvious as it may sound, it’s extremely important you spend time thinking about what you want from your next job and overall career. For example, do you want a better work-life balance? More experience in a certain area? An opportunity to gain more qualifications? Establishing these fundamentals will help make sure your next career move is the right move that will provide you with life-long career satisfaction. 

'what’s realistic?' 

We all have them – idealistic ideas and realistic ideas, and it’s essential you focus on the latter. If switching careers will result in a salary reduction, how much can you realistically afford to scale back by? Is relocating an option? Are you happy to commute further than you currently do? Are you prepared to go back to studying for another one, two or more years? Only you know what’s achievable or not. 

“After that, I went on to a number of sessions with a caba career coach over a 3 month period. I now realise that I went into it with quite romantic ideals about what I wanted, including a dream of working for myself and setting up my own consulting business. The coach was rigorous in drilling down into what running a business and winning clients would involve, and how I would go about running a consultancy like that. This process made me realise that being a sole trader like that wasn’t what I needed at that point in my career. I like to be very autonomous, but collaboration is also important to me. I realised I wanted something more team and relationship based.”


caba client

'what information gaps do I have?'  

How much do you know about your desired career? Ideally, you will have fully researched the role and are 100% clear on what’s required to break into that field. Do your homework – read blogs and watch ‘how to’ videos and webinars to gain all the fundamental insight that’s available to you. This A to Z list of career profiles from the National Careers Service is useful for developing your initial knowledge.  

'what skills have I got to offer?' 

Regardless of it you’re planning on working in a totally different sector or doing a completely different role, there will be some skills you can draw upon from your existing experience. Think about both your current technical and transferrable skills. If you aren’t sure where to start, use the National Career Service’s Skills Health Check to assess your skills and future career options. 

'do I have any training gaps?'

If you’re looking to embark on a completely new profession, then it’s highly likely you’ll need to do some form of studying to enable you to make the leap. Once you’ve identified your skills, focus on the training you may need to upgrade your skills for your new career path. More practical advice about retraining and upskilling is available from the National Careers Service. For more on training options, visit the Learn Direct and The Open University websites. 

“For me, the caba course and coaching have been instrumental in realigning my career with my values and getting me where I want to be at this stage in my life. It was a big confidence boost, and just a brilliant way to refocus. I would say to anyone considering working with caba in this way, go with an open mind and prepare to be challenged. It's important to disrupt the ideas you have about yourself and really dig deep to imagine the life you want to be living.”


caba client

'how will I pay for my training?'

It’s important to research how you’ll finance your training if you can’t pay for it yourself. You may decide to apply for a  Professional and Career Development Loan of between £300 and £10,000 (loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays the interest while you’re studying), or if you’re going to college or university, a student loan

'who can I reach out to?' 

Do you have any contacts, previous colleagues perhaps, who work within your desired career and may be able to provide you with guidance and support? At the same time, reach out to people who work in your chosen field via avenues, such as LinkedIn or networking events. They may be able to let you know of any opportunities they know of and also answer any queries you may have. If possible, attend events and open days centred around your new career path and expand your network as much as you can.  

'how can I start the ball rolling?'

If you are 100% confident on your career move and have a clear plan in place for making it happen, then there’s no stopping you from starting to put those career change cogs into action. Start by updating your LinkedIn profile so that it clearly states your career interests and skills and whether you are available for new positions. Update and upload your CV and link with relevant connections and groups. In the meantime, map what your next steps are going to be and when you can realistically make the next move. You may find you have to step backwards to go forward, but it’ll all be worth it if you wind up doing the job that’s perfect for you. 

how caba can help 

If you’re currently unemployed or facing redundancy and thinking about starting your own business, you could qualify for our business start-up fund of up to £2,000. To find out more contact us today. We’ll also support you to get your idea off the ground. But if starting a business isn’t your career goal, our free  career development services can help too.

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your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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