When we are young, we have the perfect opportunity to shape our future professional careers. Social systems are in place so we can educate ourselves and learn the skills we need to land our dream job for life. However, while some people know what they want to do from the outset, others struggle to work out what they want to do. This results in regret and a desire to change career down the line. At this point, many people feel that it is too late – but it’s never too late to find a new calling.
The main problem is that changing your career after your 20s is much more difficult. Unlike our schooling and university days where we have fewer commitments and bills to pay, later life does not harness the best opportunities to learn new skills and gain new qualifications. We may have children to look after, dogs to walk, mortgages to pay and a job still to go to. Dropping these life commitments to retrain and find a new career is not a possibility for most of us – mainly due to finances. We cannot continue to manage our life commitments without an income, and we cannot attend courses when we have a job to attend.
So, what is the best way to redirect your career in later life? What gives us the best of both worlds and a real chance of hitting the professional refresh button?
The Solution: Distance Learning
If only there were ways of learning and gaining new qualifications while still holding down a full-time job. Thankfully, there is. Many people have started to undertake distance learning courses so they can learn from home in their own time – and usually at their own pace. Many institutions have recognised a demand for these types of courses, meaning you can easily find courses suited to any new career. From administration and IT courses to finance, personal training, and everything in between, there is a course to help anyone change their career.
These courses are completed using either handbooks or are completed online. They may involve some type of induction into the course, which will mean a small number of contact hours or everything may be available and completed using a computer. Online courses often use interactive platforms where learners get their own log-in details to access materials and tests. Some workplaces will even encourage their staff to enroll in online courses to make them applicable candidates for promotions and in-house job openings. They do not just need to be used for changing career, but they are an effective way to help you further your current one.
The Benefits of Online Courses
The core benefit of online courses is that they can be completed without having to attend an institute and therefore can be completed in your own time. This means workers can train for a new career without having to quit their job and experience financial insecurity. It also means they can work their new course into their busy schedule.
However, there is another benefit of online courses which often goes unnoticed or unspoken. Many older people lose confidence in their ability to learn and gain new skills. This is especially the case when considering the technological advances in the last 20 years. A lot of people who are suited to IT roles did not get the opportunity to learn IT skills and gain such qualifications. The nature of online courses being completed with a computer makes them ideal for people who want to redirect their careers into technology and IT.
Moreover, many middle-aged people are anxious to take up further education in the classroom because they have low self-efficacy when it comes to learning and feel embarrassed to go back into the classroom. Online courses overcome this barrier as the learner does not have to sit in a classroom with others, but instead, they learn independently at their own pace.
Are Online Courses Recognised?
There was once a stigma attached to online courses which suggested they were easier to complete than courses that required contact hours. However, this stigma has predominantly dissolved. This is justifiable considering there is a huge amount of self-discipline required to undertake an online course which is completed alone.
The UK job market and employees are starting to recognise most online qualifications. This is because online courses are on the increase and they are being offered by recognised institutions, including many high-performing UK universities. To ensure that your online course will be recognised by your future interviewer, you need to make sure that the provider of the course is accredited. Search their website to find this information. Accredited providers will make it known to potential learners.
Are Online Courses for You?
If you have been looking for a way to change your career without giving up work or finding the time to get to a new class, then an online course may be the perfect solution. Just remember to seek out accredited providers that offer genuine courses that employers take notice of. Now you get to diversify your skills, maintain a job, pay the mortgage, walk the dog – and plan for your new career.